What is Diecast MCR?
According to owner and Director Dan Mullen, Diecast MCR is “an immersive food, drink and clubbing experience on an industrial scale.” There are plenty of food halls throughout Manchester but few have made me want to go back for more. I visited Diecast, at Manchester’s biggest former MachineWorks, to experience the bar and restaurant Leno Ex Machina.
‘Ex machina’ (latin) meaning ‘By Machine’ is designed to create beauty by machine, across all aspects of the food, drinks and entertainment on offer. This is immediately apparent in the industrial style set up of the venue, a vast open warehouse space (250,000-square-foot to be precise) with long benches and high tables as well as big booths. There’s seating for all whether you’re working during the day, out for drinks with colleagues or catching up with a friend over a cocktail.
What is there to drink at Leno x Ex Machina?
My gaze is continuously fixed by the various neon signs, colourful foliage, local artworks, the eclectic mix of people within the space (we all love a bit of people watching!) and the live DJ who is mixing house beats with o a chill out vibe. But I am most transfixed by the swirling slush machines behind the bar, mixing up 64 combinations of ‘daiquiris’ such as the Pina Colãda, Watermelon, Spiced Banana, Sour Cherry and more.
I immediately ordered a strawberry and pineapple one and my childish sweet tooth was in heaven. I can very easily see myself planted in a booth knocking back several of these after a catch up of good gossip. My companion had a virgin mojito and was absolutely delighted by it, so much so she would order it again instead of an alcoholic beverage.
Pizza at Diecast
The drinks are all very good, but I am practically salivating for the food. Naples and New York inspire the Leno Warehouse Kitchen which is headed by the team behind city centre giants Ramona and Firehouse. But, here at Diecast they have launched a new style of pizza. Taking the crispy base of NYC and super fluffy crusts of classic Neapolitan pizza and baking to order in the ‘Leno Pizza Ex Machina’, the result is a super light and fluffy crust, but with a stronger hold. I’m not exaggerating when I say that description is absolutely bang on.
I opted for the classic pepperoni pizza and we also chose the Il Pazzo: Tomato, fior di latte, parmesan, double pepperoni cups, whole burrata and truffle honey. Another thing I love about this place is that there are plenty of sauces to choose from for your pizza from Roasted garlic yoghurt aioli to Nduja chilli honey sauce.
There is also a selection of burgers, loaded fries and plenty of small plates to enjoy, I had to try the Calabrian chicken wings with sour cream and Sicilian oregano and we also opted for a side of hot waffle fries, because why not?
Small plates from Leno
The waffle fries were the right choice, a piping hot plate of crispy potato waffles smothered in Calabrian hot sauce and sour cream and oregano with a sprinkle of pickled green chilli we gobbled them right up. The chicken wings were also surprisingly good, it’s not often you find them smothered in sauce yet the coating is still crispy underneath, they didn’t even need the sour cream dipping sauce (although it was lovely) as they were tasty enough on their own!
What is the pizza like?
The pizzas were of course the main event and from the first bite I was immensely happy to have found a place to offer not only fabulous surroundings, fair prices and new and exciting cocktails but food that is truly worth trekking to the outskirts of Ancoats to consume. The pepperoni was soft and juicy yet crisp on the upturned edges creating little cups full of oil that seeped into the heavenly layer of cheese.
The crust though was sublime, crisp, light and fluffy inside and so thick it barely fit in your pot of sauce. We only ate half of each pizza and the staff were kind enough to give us a box to take it home (to the delight of my fiance!). Speaking of staff, the service we received throughout our visit was exceptional, from the staff at the door guiding us in (I got lost finding it), those at the entrance taking us to our table and our wonderful servers, everyone worked as a team and made sure we never had to ask for anything.
How to book a table at Diecast
I have recommended this place to so many people since my visit and genuinely cannot wait to go back, especially to see some of the live entertainment and aerial displays they have on throughout the week. Book your table here.
51 Ducie Street