There’s many a reason to be feeling particularly cheery this time of year.
Daily chocolate treats from your advent calendar, warm socks fresh from the radiator, an excuse to not brush your hair and blame it on the unruly winter gales…
…Sigh, it truly is the most magical time of year.
But regardless of the time of year; discovering a new contender for your ultimate brunching list is an occasion which is always guaranteed to add a little extra happiness to your morning.
Let’s check it out shall we?
Currently bursting with festive cheer, Fress can be found on Oldham Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. Despite still technically holding a “new kid on the block” status, Fress recently bagged the esteemed title of Manchester’s Best Brunch; the highest of honours when you consider the competition, and an accolade my brunching pals were keen to put to the test.
The decor is classically modern, with a touch of New York brasserie about it; despite being ever-so-slighly pokey, a warming glow from the polished tiles and golden hardware gives the space a richly snug feel which only adds to the charm.
Bundling in to our cosy table for four, we exchanged our cuddle and kiss greetings as we tore away our layers and settled in for the long haul.
Still a little rough around the edges from the night before, hair of the dog was first on all of our agendas.
Vodka, crème de cassis, raspberry puree and apple juice
Pretty as a picture and positively delicious.
A classic, with a teeny tiny Tabasco, just for kicks.
And a mimosa (glugged too quickly to be pictured).
We sipped and giggled and gossiped before ordering up a storm to satisfy our morning growls.
Brisket Potato Hash
Tender pulls of succulent beef brisket, sautéed with potatoes and topped with poached eggs, hollandaise sauce & padron peppers.
A deconstructed version of the potato hash I’m more familiar with, but richer and elegantly refined. Delicately spiced, with a pleasingly oozy chucky egg.
Croque Monsieur (turned Madame!)
Built with thin slices of smoked ham, melted gruyere, brie and smoked cheddar; a layer of pickled red onion adds a welcomed crunchy tang to this otherwise lusciously comforting plate.
Whilst technically, the added egg should have been fried, who can complain when the goods are this golden?
Admittedly the least pretty of all the dishes, it was sumptuous and deliciously satisfying; a real home comfort.
Beef Brisket Eggs Benedict
More of the same juicy pulled beef brisket, served on homemade sourdough toast, crowned with poached eggs and dripping with freshly made hollandaise sauce.
The flavoursome jus of the meat marries together with the lavishly rich sunshine sauce, an indulgent symphony of flavours and a wonderful contrast against the savoury crunch of toasted sourdough.
Whilst the service in Fress leaves a lot to be desired, you most certainly won’t be rushed to leave; which is great news, if you’ve spied Fress’s sweet speciality…
Plumping for a seasonal selection, we ordered one of everything, all in the name of a fair trial.
Chunky and full with fudge-y flavour, the brownie was a crowd-pleaser; but lacked the mouth-watering gooeyness achieved when taken out of the oven 5 minutes earlier.
My personal favourite, the Chocolate Cheesecake – a velvety smooth, chocolate filling, piled high atop a crunchy biscuit base. Wondrously rich and a serious contender for the naughty list.
The Red Velvet Cupcake – sadly without cream cheese frosting, alas the vanilla buttercream still evoked fork fights between me and my pals.
Having polished our plates, we left Fress for the frosty streets of Manchester, full of content and ready for the day ahead (which, for me ended up being a 2 hour nap, lying in a pile of to-be-written Christmas cards…classic).
The streets of the Northern Quarter are positively spoilt with brunching spots for you and your friends to descend upon, Fress being one you should most definitely add to your list; and what better way to bask in the festive celebrations than to fill your boots with a bountiful brekkie before tackling the remainder of your Christmas shopping?
It’s the ho-ho-h-only way to go friends, trust me!