Saturday, 13 May 2017

Take Refuge on Mondays

Do you like Mondays? I bet you don't. But isn't that strange? Monday's are after 2 days off so it should be the day we are most well rested - we should feel good on Monday's. Granted most of us are heading back to work, but in a job that the large majority of us chose to take so must not entirely loath the work. So Monday's are the day where we feel good and go back to something we chose - so why are they universally resented?

Well this Monday I broke with that and had the opportunity to enjoy my Monday! A friend was in town for work and therefore we caught up in the evening. I like having the chance to take people round Manchester as it gives me the self indulgence of going to all my favourite places.

So we went to Refuge. I hadn't been to refuge yet but I had heard nothing but good reviews. Plus, I used to live in that part of town and the Palace (recently renamed the Principle) is hands down my favourite building in Manchester. I used to see the red glowing neon PALACE sign on the tower and know that home was in reach. Unfortunately the neon red sign has been replaced with white PRINCIPLE but I might just forgive them because of how much I enjoyed Refuge.

I arrived uncharacteristically early and even though a large group of middle aged women dressed to the nines went into the public bar just before me, there were enough bar staff so that I immediately got served. I took my G&T over to one of the many sofas and tables scattered about the large room and contemplated what on earth the party I followed in was for.

Monica joined me and we had a good chat about life as girls catching up are prone to do. She was tickled pink by the change she got from £10 for two glasses of prosecco and I reminded her that she was not in London and more.

We had intended to just have a drink and then move elsewhere for dinner but we were enjoying ourselves in the aptly palatial setting and found it had gotten rather late. We tentatively wandered round to the dinning room and were immediately seated by the hostess. While en route to our table we walked past an indoor winter garden with actual trees. This place manages to walk the impossible line between impressively extra and sophisticatedly understated with a flare I've not seen anywhere else in Manchester - I was enthralled.

We ate fabulously. Steak, fresh tuna, fries, veggies, and possibly the best dessert I have had in a very long time: Pear and hazelnut tarte tatin with espresso custard. This was recommended by our excellent waiter and while I was apprehensive at first I now am disappointed when eating any other meal. All washed down with a carafe of wine and change out of £50 for the entire bill - is there any surprise that this place is now my favourite?

Afterwards we went to Cloud23 and continued to discuss lives, loves, and laments while surveying what seems like all of Manchester. It was one of those nights that you imagined your 20s would be but have usually been disappointed. So I urge you to take refuge on Mondays.