Portland street may not have been known as a restaurant and bar hub of the city, yet recent editions have changed that. We got the chance to visit another Portland Street addition, the eXchange Lounge last week.
The eXchange Lounge (not a typo) takes design cues from its heritage. The site is believed to have been a telephone exchange owned by ‘The New Telephone Company’ between 1892 and 1895. Decor-wise it’s similar in style to such places as the Dockyard and Gorilla. If you can I would recommend grabbing one of the tables by the windows – the perfect place to watch the world go by, even on a rainy day in Manchester.
Cocktails at the Exchange Lounge
Before ordering food we decided to give the cocktail menu a go. Expertly crafted by the attentive staff, they were a real success. Priced between £7.50 and £8.50, eXchange Lounge has a full range of classics and more unusual offerings.
I went with the eXchange Old Fashioned – their own take on the vintage cocktail and one of my favourite. If it’s on a menu I rarely go for anything else. The Old Fashion includes Rye Bourbon, chocolate bitters and lemon with a lot of stirring by the bar staff – they must hate me when I order it :-(. It was very much worth the effort though, properly balanced and not too sweet. I would order it again with no hesitation.
My partner went with the eXpresso Martini (I see a theme developing here), which includes Vodka, hazelnut liqueur and shots of espresso. Enough to give anyone a kick!
Starters at eXchange Lounge Manchester
With the cocktails really hitting the spot it was time to try some of the food on offer. One issue I did have before arriving is that the menu online doesn’t seem to work. Thankfully I remembered to take a photo.
First to arrive was Lizzie’s order of baked mini camembert served with celery and carrot sticks. Maybe not the healthiest of options but tasteful nevertheless.
I choose the nachos, a fine option for those in a group to share over drinks. A large stack of cheesy nachos accompanied with generous portions of salsa, guacamole and sour cream. What’s not the like!
Both starters were only £5 too – An absolute bargain in my book!
Main Courses at eXchange Lounge Manchester
Lizzie chose the ‘Pie of the Day’, a Saag Paneer Pie supplied by Eat and Two Veg favourite Pieminister. Served with a deliciously creamy mash potato and cheese sauce, it was a true winter warmer.
My choice was the Spiced Biryani Burger, an Indian style burger served with mango chutney and mint yoghurt. It’s very similar the Veggie burger that was served at the Blue Pig until recently. Just don’t forget to add fries to your order like I did!
Desserts at eXchange Lounge Manchester
After thoughtful consideration, Lizzie opted for the British Classic Bread and Butter Pudding. Served with a generous portion of custard, it was the perfect treat on a rainy day in Manchester.
I went with the Trio of Creme Brulee – three little pots of joy. I usually struggle to eat dessert but on this occasion, I couldn’t resist. My preference of the three was the chocolate.
eXchange Lounge Observations
- There currently aren’t any real options for those following a vegan diet. Hopefully, this is something they can look into in the future.
- As well as food, the eXchange Lounge is great for after work drinks and weekend get-togethers.
- The carpark around the back of the building is one of the most expensive in town. Avoid!
eXchange Lounge Manchester Review and Verdict
On the whole, we both very much impressed with the eXchange Lounge. It was a great experience from the friendly service to the fab cocktail options and quality food. If this place can cheer me up on a wet Sunday in Manchester then they must be doing something right.
Be sure to check them out soon!
To see more check out the eXchange Lounge Instagram Page