Before the launch of Duke Street Market, I interviewed Graffiti Spirits founders: Matthew Farrell and John Ennis. Their aspirations were ambitious, brave and bold.
Words: Jean Hill
“GSG has always opted for heritage, grade-listed or conservation builds. It is inspiring to be able to restore and put them to further use and trade…(it) will be a place where an ethos of good quality and experienced operators can come together under one roof.
“The way people are spending and thinking about what they consume is changing. Sustainability, variety and people’s purse strings are all extremely varied and a community culinary hub like the one we want to create brings people together without premise.
“As well as housing a flagship restaurant (Pilgrim) and unique artisan kitchen traders, we feel the quality of food on offer will be something the North West hasn’t seen under one roof. We want this to be a culinary hub for years to come that the city can be proud of.
“We need a harmonious group of people that are there for the common cause and understand the industry. A lot of the traders know each other and some have over 30 years of experience in some great ventures across the North West and beyond. We want these operators to be here for years to come and for them to feel this is theirs as much as ourselves…”
The concept of a hub of traders, all under one roof fired Matt’s and John’s imagination. It takes passion, huge energy, conviction, negotiation skills, leadership qualities, and resources (of character as well as finance) to realise the dream. Duke Street Market is a beautiful, expansive, grade listed warehouse space. Bare brick provides spare beauty and there is warmth, style and a sense of glamour in the mix. The sky almost is the limit.
Nothing feels cramped. Vendors are operating in limited kitchen space, which they do not believe compromises the quality of the food. There are elegant long tables on the ground floor, a bar, dizzying variety of cuisines, and there will be table service, which makes all the difference. Pilgrim inhabits the mezzanine level, and it is beautifully conceived. Their renowned Spanish and Iberian food is inspired by Camino de Santiago pilgrimages: a pilgrim’s progress through culinary delights.
Graffiti Spirits have succeeded in spades. The Market works beautifully. The vendors bring great choice to the table. Cinder’s menu includes Argentinian red prawns, and grilled figs with Ricotta, honey, fennel and pollen. It comes highly recommended, the prawns had real succulent bite and juicy flavour. Finca delivers authentic Cuban street food. Their grilled Cuban sandwich presses Mojo pork shoulder, glazed gammon, pickle, Gouda cheese and mustard into a glorious construction. We loved the layered approach and the way the Gouda added attitude to the gammon. Ginger is an off-shoot from the founders of 60 Hope Street. It is described as Asian bowl food. The squid (expertly cooked) with chili mayonnaise was a delight. The brownies were exactly the right texture, squidgy with great bitter chocolate taste. There are vegan and vegetarian options, alongside charcoal grilled fish or steak and chips. Something for everyone who loves good food, all under one roof.
For more culinary inspiration, please pay a visit to our food & drink page.