I know what you are probably thinking. Christmas already, Elsa? I’m not one to celebrate the holidays early (or any holiday for that matter…), but I can also understand from the restaurant’s point of view, now is the time to start planning their Christmas offerings. With a lot of offices throwing parties and friends getting together, that’s a lot of parties to plan. If you want to guarantee a place you know you like, then I’m afraid that yes, now is the time to start thinking about that. Here, I will cover what the Corn Exchange in Manchester has to offer! *

The Corn Exchange

The Corn Exchange was so named because it used to be the trading hall where various traders met. The original building in its current site was built in 1837 but was then demolished to create the building as we know it now. Building started in 1897 and was then completed in 1903 by two different architects. These features were still maintained even after the IRA bombing in 1996 which saw the many window sills and the glass dome replaced. Briefly renamed The Triangle due to its triangular shape, the building used to house various retail units but is now home to various eateries; you will be spoilt for choice!

Cosy Club

Cosy ClubBaked Camembert

We start off the showcase with starters at the Cosy Club. With branches all around the UK, Cosy Club is part of the Loungers chain and they aim to celebrate the joys of relaxed dining, drinking and lounging in a fabulous, welcoming setting. The interior takes its inspiration from the age of the building, with plenty of wooden furniture and lounge type seats.

We tried the baked camembert which was served with olive oil toasted sourdough soldiers and fig and date chutney. (A gluten-free version of this is also available.) You can’t go wrong with camembert, it’s a Christmas staple! This one was warmed with a spring of rosemary as well as a couple of cloves of garlic. The sourdough was really nice but the true delight came in that gorgeous fig and date chutney! If the starters are anything to go by, the rest of the meal should be good.

Christmas bookings at the Cosy Club

  • Dates: 22nd November – 24th December
  • Meal options: 3 courses is £27.95 per person
  • Deposit: £10 deposit per person (to be paid 14 days from when the booking is made).
  • No pre-order is required
  • Dietary requirements catered for

Cabana [CLOSED]

Next, we went to Cabana, a chain serving Brazilian street food and cocktails. The atmosphere is fun and lively with plenty of fake foliage to go around! The interior features wood details but with fun primary colours and plenty of lights, giving you the feel of Rio.

With a glass of mojito, we indulged in some chicken wings which were cooked so well, they slip right off the bone. The wings were marinated in their lime Zingy Sauce, which has a good flavour that will see non-spice lovers enjoying their food. Over the festive period, you can get the rum, orange and honey glazed wings.

Christmas bookings at Cabana

  • Dates: 5th November – 4th January
  • Meal options:
    • 2-course lunch menu at £14.95 per person
    • 2-course evening meal at £19.95 per person
    • 3-course evening meal at £24.95 per person
  • Deposit: £5 deposit per person
  • Pre-orders required 48 hours before the meal
  • Dietary requirements catered for


Salvis is a family run business operated by husband and wife, Maurizio and Claire. It started with the deli at the Corn Exchange when Maurizia found he was bringing back Italian food for friends and decided he should do this for a living. The deli is still found on the ground floor and there’s some seating on this level with more seating downstairs where you can see the open kitchen.

I’m amazed that a family run place still as its position within the Corn Exchange and the ingredients used is top notch. Everything I tried was excellent and the pasta was cooked perfectly. Definitely one to try if you like authentic Neapolitan dishes.

Christmas bookings at Salvis

There is no specific Christmas menu that I can see from their website

Wahaca (Closed in Manchester)

Christmas Hibiscus Fizz

Mince Pie Empanada

Wahaca is a Mexican chain serving up street food, co-founded by Thomasina Miers, Masterchef winner in 2005. Sustainability is at Wahaca’s core, with it being the UK’s first carbon-neutral restaurant group.

We were welcomed with a glass of Christmas Hibiscus Fizz, prosecco with a shot of hibiscus; it’s as sweet as it sounds. We then got started with Wahaca’s dessert offering, a Mince Pie Empanada. This is a sugar-topped parcel filled with mincemeat mixed with mezcal, an alcohol made from agave and will be served with brandy butter ice cream. We tried it with just vanilla ice cream as the brandy cutter ice cream wasn’t yet in stock. If you like mince pies, this dessert takes a British classic and puts a nice Mexican spin on it.

Christmas bookings at Wahaca

  • Dates: 19th November – 24th December
  • Meal options:
    • The Feast: Sharing plates and dessert at £20 per person
    • The Banquet: Sharing plates, a main and a dessert at £26 per person
  • Dietary requirements catered for

Alston Bar and Beef [CLOSED]

Alston Bar Toblerone Cocktail

Alston Bar Toblerone Cocktail

Alston Bar and Beef do two things well, beef and drinks. The main dining area caters to food with 160 maximum for a sit-down meal or around 300 for drinks and canapes/buffet food. There is a private room which can hold 8-14 for a more intimate meal, and The Wing which seats 70. The fun really starts when you head towards the bar, 1837, and marvel at their impressive gin collection with some made by their own bartenders! The speakeasy section resonates bygone times where jazz and blues filled the room, and it was here we sat and drank their Christmas special, a Toblerone cocktail. This was made with Kahlua, Frangelico, milk, cream and honey and let me tell you, it is one amazing cocktail! Now if only they can make it without using dairy, then I’ll be one happy bunny.

Christmas bookings at Alston Bar and Beef

  • Dates: No restriction on their website
  • Meal options
    • Christmas Meal Market, Mon – Thur 12 noon – 5pm
      • 2-course meal at £20 per person
      • 3-course meal at £24 per person
    • Christmas Menu at £40 per person
  • Vegetarian options available. Inform them of any allergies.


Christmas pudding brownie

Christmas pudding brownie

Banyan is a Northern chain which serves up quality pub type food, but really, you want their cocktail master classes. The bar and party area caters to 25 people sat down, or 50 standing. The private dining rooms allow for 30 guests to sit or 60 standing, whilst the entire restaurant can cater to 110 guests sitting, or 160 standing.

At Banyan, I got to try their chocolate and raspberry brownie, which is served with vanilla ice cream. This was gorgeous and a good indicator that their Christmas special, the Christmas pudding brownie, will also be a hit! The Christmas pudding brownie will be served with a spiced vanilla mascarpone.

Christmas bookings at Banyan

  • Dates: 24th November – 24th December
  • Meal options:
    • Christmas Buffet from £18.95 per person
    • Christmas Menu
      • 2 course at £26.95 per person
      • 3 course at  £31.95 per person
  • Vegetarians catered for. Options and budget can be altered if you ring them.


Address: Exchange St, Manchester M4 3TR

When do you start planning your Christmas parties? Which of these would you visit?

Leave your comment below!

*I was invited to this Christmas Showcase and thus did not have to pay for any of the food featured here. This did not affect my opinion in this review.