You may have read our previous review for The Curious Manor in Trinity Square, where the food wasn’t too bad but the try-too-hard ‘kitsch’ decor left us rolling our eyes. We received an invite to attend the launch event of their sister bar (or “twisted auntie” as one member of staff described it) and so were expecting more of the same. Regardless, we can’t say no to a free drink and promise of nibbles so we headed down to The Curious Townhouse to check it out (show me someone who would turn down a free gin and a cheese straw and I’ll show you a liar).
You know what? We really liked it – this place seems like they might be onto a winner. Situated in the Lace Market, their particular brand of Curious seems much more in keeping with the cooler, more upmarket area. I can see them nabbing a lot of the Pitcher & Piano crowd from over the road who are after something distinctly cooler. There’s a champagne and prosecco bar upstairs, a free pool table, space for a DJ and lots of rooms and oddities to explore – including an original lace loom in the loos from when the building was a lace factory. Nice touch.
Curious Townhouse seems to be a casual space that gets more grown up as the night goes on, suiting a wide range of occasions. They’re open for breakfast right through to 2am so you could start your day with eggs benedict and finish it with a late night martini, if you were so inclined. A lot of the interesting artwork is by one local artist called Not Now Nancy and will all be for sale, which we thought was really smart considering they’ve opened right opposite the Comtemporary art gallery.
We were most impressed with the food. Though never really disappointed at Curious Manor, it certainly isn’t memorable, so the chicken wings, crab and savoury pastries that we tried tonight were a pleasant surprise. The chicken wings were the tastiest we’ve tried in the city (we’re somewhat wing connoisseurs, it’s what we eat when we watch the footie). Served with a chilli sauce, they were amazing and we could’ve eaten 50 between us. We also had these little spoons of fresh, dressed crab. I’ve never seen anything like it from a bar menu and they tasted absolutely spectacular. The waiter made the mistake of leaving a plate of savoury croissants on our table, beautifully buttery and crispy with cheesy, tomatoey fillings. Needless to say, they were gone before he got back.
Drinks were pleasant, if a little pricey (their cheapest gin is £4.40 for a single, not including mixer). We had a passionfruit Bellini upstairs in the prosecco bar before sampling a Brockman’s gin and ginger beer with a blackberry liqueur – a surprising combo that was very yummy. They also serve cocktails and a selection of wines and beers, including two IPAs on draught.
All in all, if the situation was right and we could drag ourselves away from our usual craft beer haunts, this would be a great place to drink with friends on a Friday night, brunch with family on a Sunday or just hang with your other half for pool and wings – Curious Townhouse is so versatile. We will definitely be taking our out of town friends, it’s somewhere different and we hope they do well.
Emily and Stuart