Okay, you caught me…I brunched again!
I was weak okay. The temptation of soft, runny eggs, golden buttery bread, slices of avocado (you just can’t get away from those things) – it just all got too much!
Thankfully I knew just where I could get my fix, and believe me when I say I really hit the jackpot this time friends. I mean it; I think I found the Holy Grail of brunches, and the best part? Its right in your backyard…well, the Northern Quarter more specifically, at Federal Cafe.
Independently and locally owned, this New Zealand and Australian-inspired eatery offers a delicious range of all day brunch plates as well as lunch selections and daily specials sure to tempt any tum.
The atmosphere inside the cafe is laidback and relaxed, exactly what you’d expect from a Kiwi hang-out. The tables are rustic, the flowers freshly plonked in milk bottle-esque vases and the booth seats sinkingly comfortable, providing the perfect snug setting for lazy mid-mornings and even lazier afternoons.
Rocking up at 10:30am, the cafe was already brimming with keen brunchers who were evidently already clued up on to Federals excellence (and their spiced tomato relish…but more on that later.)
Similar to the decor, the service was relaxed albeit almost unnoticeable if I was being totally honest. This is not necessarily a negative when dining early morning when all you want is your eggs and a pitcher of freshly squeezed OJ to awaken your sleepy head.
Federal’s menu offers charming variations of popular brunch options, focussing on fresh produce and healthier alternatives which separates itself from the usual breakfast hotspots which populate Manchester central.
After poring over the menu, we eventually decided on our brunchables, me opting for the Veggie Bagel and my co-diner choosing the Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and avocado.
The space is fairly small, which for me adds a cosy, homey feel to the whole experience. The chefs being only steps away, creating a scrummy start for the day for eager diners gives off a wonderful “morning after the night before” feel of being at your buddy’s house who insists on cooking your brekkie.
Our dishes arrived, and whilst I knew I could expect good things, I was at this point unaware off just what greatness was awaiting me on lightly toasted bagel.
Pools of aioli glistened atop of each thick bagel half, the perfectly plump poached eggs sitting proudly, nestled on the bed of fresh spinach leaves.
A handsome portion of speckle-tanned halloumi took one side of the bagel whilst deep brown, pan-fried mushrooms took to the other side with a silver dish holding a spiced tomato relish for dipping as a final flourish.
With so many components making up just one breakfast plateful, it’s hard to believe how well they all worked together to create the ultimate breakfast of dreams. The soft garlic flavours of the aioli was the glue that married all other ingredients together; its delicate, buttery bite enhancing the flavours of the spinach and egg white, then adding an extra creamy sensation to the bursting of the most chuckiest eggs I haven’t experienced in yonks outside my mum’s kitchen.
The halloumi was excellent, but then when it comes to halloumi – how could you possibly go wrong? The mushrooms provided an earthy yet meaty texture to the dish, and the pièce de résistance? Their signature spicy tomato relish; I’m not 100% what goes in there, but the perfect balance of spice with slightly sweet makes this the ultimate condiment. Put it on everything if you get the chance.
The Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon and avocado went down excellently when my partner. Whilst I felt more hollandaise sauce could have been lugged more generously across the dish, (I could drink the stuff by the jugful), my co-diner assured me it had been perfectly portioned and complimented the delicious runniness from the egg and fresh flavours of smoked salmon rather than drown them under its rich, golden blanket.
After demolishing our breakfast eats, we sat back lazily sipping divine cups of roasted coffee, unwilling (unable) to move from our cosy spot.
We watched as the streets of Manchester shook themselves to life, ready for another busy Saturday
Prices are extremely reasonable and the coffee and fresh smoothie offerings are divine. In conclusion, a definite must-visit for lazy weekend feasts or even a mid-week treat if you’re a local, you lucky thing you. Be sure to order anything with eggs and do not leave without the secret recipe for their spicy tomato relish, trust me, you’ll thank me a brunch.