Japanese soufflé creperie opens in Manchester

A restaurant in Manchester has launched an ‘a la carte menu’ to ensure everyone can enjoy a restaurant meal during the cost of living crisis.

The Gherkin in Levenshulme serves a hearty plant-based menu of breakfasts, seasonal sandwiches and Sunday roasts, with an emphasis on the environment and its local community.

In March, restaurant owner Jamie Whittaker flew to Ukraine on a humanitarian outreach mission to help the country’s refugees after the Russian invasion.

Upon his return, Jamie decided to start offering free meals every Monday to Ukrainians fleeing war in Manchester, giving them the opportunity to enjoy the simple pleasure of eating out.

@thegherkinlevenshulme / Instagram

And now Jamie has turned Monday’s offer into a ‘pay as you feel’ night.

While refugees will still be able to dine for free, locals can come and enjoy a six- to seven-course set menu – including meals such as the Sunday Roast, a variety of curries, salads and the famous Gherkin burgers – all for whatever they can afford at the time.

Diners will also have the option of pre-paying for food or donating cash to the restaurant, to ensure the business doesn’t lose a large chunk of revenue.

The restaurant has also launched its “Kindness Kabinet”, which encourages visitors to donate whatever they can to those in need, be it money, clothes, books or toys.

@thegherkinlevenshulme / Instagram

Jamie said of the new menu: “The main reason we’re doing this is to help the community, but it also means we’re wasting less product too.

“A lot of people are struggling right now, especially with the rising cost of energy bills and I want to make restaurants accessible to everyone in the community, not just the most privileged.”

He added: “We wouldn’t send anyone away without money on Mondays for food. Some customers paid extra and offered to buy anyone a drink or food. We have done this often since opening.

Jamie and the team at The Gherkin plan to run their Pay As You Feel menu for the foreseeable future, so be sure to follow their Instagram page for news and menu updates.

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