Have a festive time at the Corn Exchange this Christmas

Vada That

This Christmas, you can try an array of exciting international dishes at Manchester’s gorgeously revamped Corn Exchange.

If you’re tired of the usual dry turkey and cranberry sauce, the Corn Exchange offers lots of choice. From Brazil to India to Vietnam, you can take your tastebuds around the world.

East Asia

Typically in Vietnam, homes are decorated with life-size nativity scenes and children put their shoes outside their front doors for Santa to fill. You don’t have to do that if you visit the Vietnamese joint Pho, but you can still enjoy authentic cuisine like noodle soup, pork and lemongrass meatballs and fruity desserts.

Pho is also offering a Vegan Christmas menu, so there’s something for everyone. (See our review of Pho to help you decide.)

Alternatively, you can give Tampopo a try – with its excellent choice of curries and soups from across East Asia.

Central & South America

At Cabana you can have some salsa spirit with your dining. Here the Christmas menu is filled with traditional barbecued Brazilian food usually barbecued. You can also start with the national snack of Brazil – cheesy dough balls.

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The atmosphere here will no doubt warm your soggy Mancunian Christmas with its Latin décor, flowers and trees of light.

The view of the inside of the Corn Exchange from Pho

Meanwhile, you can enjoy the energy of a truly Mexican Christmas over at Wahaca. The restaurant’s Christmas menu serves slow cooked beef shin, traditional tacos and delicious selection of street food.

Christmas is a huge holiday in Mexico – children perform processions, red poinsettia flowers decorate homes and Piñata parties are key. You can expect some of that festive atmosphere when you dine in the brightly coloured, welcoming Wahaca (which we recently reviewed).

South Asia

Curry is a favourite of British diners any time of year. In fact, many of the most popular Indian dishes were actually made for British palates, because we loved the nation’s food so much.

Mowgli ‘s dishes capture the colourful street market dishes of Mumbai, Jaipur or Goa. Forget the cinnamon and orange spices of Christmas and try something a bit hotter as the weather cools down.


There’s plenty of choice for lovers of Italian food. The Corn Exchange boasts three Italian restaurants: from the casual dining of Vapiano (which we reviewed), sto omething a bit smarter at Gino’s, to family favourite Pizza Express.

A typical Christmas meal in Italy usually consists of ‘The Feast of the Seven Fishes’ – a seafood feast usually followed by a home-baked panettone.

With a heavenly selection of fish, meat, and homemade desserts at all three Corn Exchange restaurants, it really is the ultimate Italian Christmas feast.

Fotorech / Pixabay


Alston Bar & Beef is doing a twist on the traditional British Christmas grub. It offers an indulgent menu including Tweed Valley Steak and an unmissable Christmas burger.

The Cosy Club is the place to go for festive cocktails. We recommend the (relatively) local Cherry Bakewell cocktail pitcher which is perfect for Christmas. The restaurant will also be hosting a Gatsby-themed 1920s evening on New Year’s Eve including a four-course meal and live band. Tickets can be purchased online.

Or you can add some sparkle to your Christmas at Banyan and sign up for its festive Cocktail Masterclass, then dig into their Christmas buffet – all whilst in its beautifully decorated restaurant at The Corn Exchange.

Try the Banyan brownie for a delicious dessert

Activities for all the family

Whatever your tastebuds yearn for, the Corn Exchange has plenty to be getting on with. But if you want to burn off some calories after (or before) your big festive dinner, there are also activities suitable for groups that you can take part in.

Bring your friends, family or colleagues for some precious bonding time at Escape Hunt and enjoy a variety of themed games. Escape from the Samurai experience, the Pirate adventure or the Ice Giants in the Viking adventure.

Alternatively, you could attend one of the restaurants’ many cooking classes, or take part in a gin tasting at Banyan Bar & Beef.

The Corn Exchange is also close to the Manchester Football Museum, Manchester Cathedral and The Printworks if you want to explore after your visit. The German market is also right outside.

Image: The CAPE by Northern Quarter Gallery

Gift ideas

You can also take advantage of some unique gifts, including authentic Italian produce from Salvi’s and art from The CAPE by Northern Quarter Gallery.

You can also grab some more traditional prezzies like gift cards and cookbooks.

More information

For more information, visit cornexchangemanchester.co.uk.

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