We thought it was a weird concept; cafe by day, Thai restaurant by night. It was hard to fathom how that might work. It's a bit out of the way too, yet still I found myself drawn to Vivid Lounge. The name doesn't give much away, so it had to be investigated further.
So it had tipped it down, but we arrived in sunny Ancoats to the perfect parking space, and a gaggle of geese having a little rest by the canal lock. It's a beautiful little spot which made us feel like we were a million miles from the city.
It's very simple in the evening. You decide which size bowl you want, and then pick something the list under each section. The bowls are split into the base, curry, bites, salad and extras. The tough bit is picking what you want to try. There is also a starter board where you pick two bites and a salad, which means you get to try even more!
Bites - Southern chicken wings and pork skewers: Little crispy bits that blow your mind... It's a good job these were limited, as I think I would be 47 stones by now.
Salad - Carrot and coconut: How can something so simple be so full of flavour? This was one of my favourite things from Vivid Lounge. When Martha noticed us both fawning over its brilliance, she brought more without hesitation. We didn't feel bad, it's salad. It's good for you. Five a day, for your health.
Base - Roti: So soft and fluffy, the perfect base for that lovely tamarind sauce.
Curry - Duck and tamarind sauce: Beautifully cooked duck in a sweet and sticky sauce.
Bite - Thai corn fritters: One of the best things on Earth, I'm quite confident. You must have these.
Salad - Poached pak choi: Simple, yet a great side for all that sweetness.
Extras - Cherry tomatoes, Thai pickles, boiled egg and fried chillies: I adore the concept of the lovely little fresh things to accompany the bowl.
Base - Jasmine rice: I can't get enough of sticky jasmine rice. I have to have it if it's an option. This soaked with Massaman sauce rocked my socks.
Curry - Beef Massaman: One of my favourite Thai curries. Slow cooked beef that falls apart, with the most delectable sauce.
Bite - Thai corn fritters: As above, I'm still insisting that you try these, only a little more fervently now.
Salad - Thai sauerkraut: Oh this. Crunchy and tangy and all kinds of aceness. Perfect with the sweet stuff.
Extras - Fried onion, Thai pickles, spring onions and green chillies: I think I made great choices here. I'd happily sit and eat a full bowl of those pickles.
I couldn't understand why I was so abhorrently full when I got home, but looking back at the pictures, it's suddenly becoming very clear. This is some of the most exciting food I've scoffed in a while. Just look at the colours in those bowls! It was all very exciting.
The drinks were pretty good too. I was driving so stuck to San Pellegrino Limonata, but there's also a great selection of craft beers, including local brewers Marble and Cloudwater.
I've already recommended Vivid Lounge to pretty much everyone I have come into contact with since. Go here if you like to try lots of little things, but still leave feeling very full indeed. They also have a pretty selection of home made cakes, but I'm sorry to say my powers had left me by this point. Just go. I have a lot of love for these folks.