Manchester has become a one-stop-shop when it comes to crafting varieties of new-age gins from local distilleries. In the new wave of gin, drinks makers seek to set themselves apart by offering something competitors may not, this is the aim of Three Little Words as it combines bar, restaurant and distillery in one.
Located beneath Manchester Central, accessible under the city’s renowned arches, Three Little Words offers open space with modern design to draw in city visitors and locals alike. Stepping through the glass doors invites you into the bar area, which is comprised of exposed brick walls that go well with the retro-inspired furnishings of velvet stools and a mirror-backed bar area.
To the left is the dining section, which follows suit in decor and offers a selection of booths and regular tables to be seated at. Tables are kept minimally adorned but aesthetically pleasing nonetheless, fuss free with simple dressings.
Throughout the inside, there is a casual atmosphere. There are noisy groups from time to time, but overall the bar is fairly chilled, making it an ideal destination to go if you like to have a conversation over drinks. It would be better to get in early on a weekend, if you want a chance of grabbing a place to sit with your drinks but the bar was not overtly busy on the review date.
The staff are engaged and attentive, never leaving you for too long with want for a drink. As dishes are served, the waiting staff are equally as good with guests and get the balance right of checking in without overbearing.
One of the most appealing aspects of Three Little Words is the extensive drinks menu that needs a good few minutes to be considered before placing an order. As the establishment also functions as a successful gin distillery, the drinks menu naturally has an impressive selection of gins on offer and has a particular focus on Manchester crafted gins. Gin cocktails are around£8-£10 and gins and mixers are a little less. For city centre, the prices match a few bars in the area. The menu explores the versatility of gin and offers a multitude of combinations for cocktail choices.
Both the food and drink arrangements at Three Little Words follow a botanical theme, combining flavours to step a little outside the ordinary and give the restaurant more of a USP. From assessing the food menu, it appears there if the focus is on perfecting a few key dishes rather than catering to a long list of cuisines, which is appreciated. There is a good mix of dishes that cater to different dietary requirements, particularly vegetarian and vegan options.
The mains are split into large and small plate options. The small plate choices give a good variety to mix and match your favourites, perfect for dining with friends. Large plates focus more on classic dishes, offering a selection of meat and veggie options. You can go for the Three Little Words take on a standard burger, enjoy tofu and noodles or opt for a crispy duck leg. The duck leg in particular is an impressive course to try, served beautifully with a salad garnish. Crisp yet tender, the duck was nicely accompanied with a plum sauce to bring out further juicy flavour from the meat.
Another winner was the ribeye steak, which stays true to Manchester habits by coming served with a side pot of gravy (a northern dinner essential). Adding gravy instead of a usual steak sauce makes this meal all the more wholesome and evokes a homely feeling whilst eating. Keeping the presentation interesting, the steak comes with shoestring style potato fries that add another layer to the overall textures experienced. There is, of course, the option to swap out your fries for normal fries for a more carb-heavy combination.
The desserts offered an interesting mix of options, worth staying a little longer to enjoy. Without doubt, the blondie was the highlight of the menu. On-trend and something different, the blondie was morishly excellent and expertly flavoured with an accompanying mix of dark berries for good measure. To complement the berries, a berry flavoured ice-cream scoop comes served on top, this beautifully matches the sugary sweetness of the blondie itself and contrasts the warmth of the main with a sharp coldness to invigorate tastebuds.
Staying true to it’s roots, Three Little Words also offers a local Manchester Tart, this also is well presented and goes down a treat. The tart has a fruity flavour, infused with hints of apple and ginger, staying true to form to fit the botanical persuasions of the wider menu.
It is appreciated that the food menu has been inspired by the thorough cocktail menu of Three Little Words. The botanical theme is successfully utilised throughout to allow the menu to standout against competition whilst still catering to fans of classic pub food with an elevated presentation.
Price wise, small plates average at £6 and mains at £13, making this affordable to the vast majority of Manchester diners. For what you spend, there is care and attention to detail with every course and money is well spent for what you get in return.