Over the past few years, the restaurant and bar scene in and around Manchester has absolutely flourished, and it’s safe to say that we are now completely spoilt for choice. The Manchester ‘foodie’ scene is really beginning to outshine London, and even suburban areas outside of the city centre, are making sure their menus and interiors are up to scratch. This a city that is completely capable of doing its own thing – and that’s what we’re doing. Forget petals in cocktails, marble and rose-gold tables, and a slither of avocado next to your overly-priced £8 poached eggs. In true Mancunian spirit, we enjoy no fuss, and good grub food.
Here’s my top picks of restaurants in Manchester – get your knives and forks ready, and be prepared for your mind to be blown by a Yorkshire pudding kebab – not messin’ mate.
Federal Café – Northern Quarter
Where brunch dreams come true.
Federal is an independent and locally owned coffee shop, which aim to bring a bit of antipodean café culture to Manchester’s Northern Quarter. This ‘New Zealand and Australian’ hangout, has become THE Manchester brunch spot in the city over recent years; especially seeing as breakfast is served all day (ever so convenient for those hungover ladies and gents) AND the menu is changed every month – this place just never gets old! Although its only a small and simple place, it has a lot to offer. The service is always great, you don’t usually have to wait too long (!) to get a table, and the food – well, it’s to die for.
My personal favourite dish is the Halloumi & Shrooms – pan fried halloumi (drooling already), garlic and thyme roasted mushrooms, poached eggs, spiced tomato relish, spinach, and chorizo too – all served on crispy sourdough toast. If you have a sweet tooth, you could also try the French Toast, with raspberry , almonds, whipped vanilla mascarpone with salted caramel, or good old eggs benedict with a side of streaky bacon, salmon or avocado (or all three!). As well as all this delicious-ness, you can also pop in for a coffee or a cocktail – meaning its acceptable to visit Federal Cafe during all hours of the day.
Brasserie Abode – Manchester City Centre (near Piccadilly)
Brasserie Abode is one of the newest additions to the Manchester food scene. Once Michael Caine’s restaurant, underneath the Abode hotel, the Brasserie Abode is a much welcome addition to the Piccadilly area of Manchester; a relaxed, all day venue, in the style of a grand European brasserie and bar. Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to win a three-course meal with cocktails and prosecco, through a competition hosted by Manchester’s Finest. But I promise you – this review is not sponsored! I couldn’t recommend the Brasserie enough – whether you fancy truffle and cauliflower macaroni, spaghetti lobster, or garlic crevettes and fries, this restaurant has something for everybody; including those party goers who will stroll into the Brasserie as their first port of call before a night dancing in Manchester, for a French Martini or two (which even come with popcorn on the side!).
Firstly, the interior of the restaurant is absolutely stunning. In the main dining room, the interior features a striking mirror centrepiece on the ceiling, which hovers over sleek table settings of marble and white table cloths, punctuated with electric and duck-egg blue velvet seating. Upstairs, at the cocktail bar, black and white chevron tiling, and polished copper and brass architecture makes this place every Instagrammers dream. Even the stairways are nice; I know, I’m sad. Looking like an upgraded version of London’s sketch, millennial pink walls are adorned with black and white scribbles and illustrations. It really is “relaxed, sophisticated dining that moves effortlessly from day to night”.
The menu and ‘artistry & alchemy’ options are vast, with a nostalgic but modern nod to honoured food classics; so, I’ll run through what I devoured. It just may make you hungry!
For starters, we inhaled smoked haddock scotch eggs with crab bisque, and black pudding balls with fresh piccalilli – yum. For our mains, we enjoyed grilled rib eye rate steaks, with béarnaise sauce, sweet cherry tomatoes, and salty fries. For pudding, because it would just be rude not too, we ate sticky toffee pudding with salted caramel ice cream, beetroot and walnut cake, coffee chocolate mousse, and strawberry macaroons. We died, and went to heaven.
For something different, which offers exceptional food, service and surroundings (all at a reasonable price too) note down the Brassiere Abode on your places-to-go.
Rustik – West Didsbury
I have only recently discovered Rustik; a beautiful little hangout, in the leafy suburban area of West Didsbury. Located on Burton Road, Rustik offers an extensive range of American styled food, infused breakfast, brunch and dinner – and it’s an absolute must try, especially for brunch!
Rustik pride themselves on providing the best quality food and drink, with the service to match – “the best brunch dishes for miles around, silky smooth lattes, loose leaf teas – brunches and dinner are all covered in a small but brilliant executed menu; served in a quirky rustic environment.” What gives Rustik that extra edge, compared to other brunch places in the Manchester area, is that they come alive at night. Rustik host live music every weekend – which is teamed up with unique beers on draft, and an extensive cocktail menu. So whether you fancy breakfast, or dinner, Rustik is the place to go!
Here’s three dishes, that made my tummy seriously happy!
- Turkish Poached Eggs – whipped garlic and harissa yogurt, chilli flakes, thyme mushrooms, butter and toasted sourdough.
- The Big Breakfast Bagel – pork chipolatas, smoked streaky bacon, fried eggs, spinach, herbed tomato and beans. (Oh, and you can also order a really sexy Man’n’Cheese hash brown to go on the side).
- Smokey Bacon Waffle Steak Sandwich – seared 8oz flat iron steak, two fried eggs, and streaky bacon drenched in wasabi hollandaise sauce.
You’re probably starving now – so make sure you check those places out! Volume Two coming soon
EDITOR – GABRIELLE BALL @themancuniongirl