Cottonopolis

A long Bank Holiday weekend positively begs to be celebrated with a good brunch.

With a friend’s birthday to celebrate and 5 girlfriends all miraculously free on the same day at the same time; we had arranged to meet at Cottonopolis in the Northern Quarter for a date that would combine a birthday brunch with the judge-less opportunity to get ridiculously drunk before noon.

Having only been to Cottonopolis previously for their remarkable sushi; I was excited to experience their take on the most important meal of the day. In a city where you can’t swing a sourdough without getting it slathered in avocado, I was hungry to try something with a little innovation and a bit more naughty that your average acai bowl.

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The restaurant itself is achingly cool; glowing lightbulbs, exposed brick, draped fabrics – all the usual suspects; but with an edge that makes this otherwise standard opulence in a grade II setting deliciously unique.

We ordered up quite the spread of food. To start (…oh yes, there were starters); the entire ‘snack’ menu.

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Beef and Quail Egg Nigiri

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Pork and Kimchi Dumplings

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Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Maki Roll

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Tomato and Bacon Skewers

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Sweet Potato and Sesame Hash Browns

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I could comment on each one individually, but honestly? Each description would be the same.

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A remarkable firework of flavour, every single one. A divine twist on sushi favourites and classic brunch bites.

At £5 a pop, I highly recommend giving each one a whirl; they’re also the perfect option if you’re someone looking for a lighter bite.

 

If our starters were the definition of a spread, the mains were somewhat of a banquet.

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Of course there are the fail-safes of Avocado Toast and Salmon and Eggs to appease the less adventurous; but on this particular day, bellies lined with courage from a mimosa (or three) we all opted for something a little more luxurious.

Steak and Eggs

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Steak, cooked perfectly pink; served over mushrooms atop sourdough with the most gloriously crispy fried eggs, dotted with chives.

Crispy Duck Leg with Waffle and Fried Duck Egg

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A true sight to behold, ridiculously photogenic and eye-rollingly tasty. Cut a sizeable forkful of duck (and be sure to get some crispy skin on there), a chunk of waffle and dip into the sunshine yellow yolk for a divine journey to flavour town.

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If my own plate hadn’t been so heavenly, I might have just been jealous.

Speaking of which…

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Wagyu Brisket and Poached Egg Crumpet

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Whilst perhaps not the prettiest of plates; these little doughy stacks of dreams were a melting pot of rich, savoury goodness; the wagyu beef succulent, tender and almost sweet whilst the crumpets sank deliciously, heavy with flavour. The hollandaise and yolk comprising a wonderful marriage to add extra luxuriousness.

We devoured the lot, satisfied with our efforts to stuff ourselves silly and feeling blessed that we could slip into a Sunday food coma with no fear of becoming subject to the dreaded Smonday feels.

As you can probably gather, I highly recommend a trip to Cottonopolis. While I fully advocate you try them out for an unforgettable date night; their brunch is seriously something special and not one to be missed.

They get busy quickly, so book and arrive early to get as much enjoyment out of the bottomless brunch as physically possible!

What a way to spend the weekend!

Tariff and Dale

Manchester in the sunshine is simply glorious.

Smiles are more rife than hay fever, wool coats which were worn just last week are replaced with loose linen and camisoles and restaurants open their bi-folding windowed doors, allowing life to spill onto the streets in a deliciously “summer fete” fashion.

I was working away one Friday when my phone pinged with a message from one of my dearest friends.

“Weather is too good to work! Can you meet for lunch?”

Normally when working I have some concoction ready and waiting in tuppawear to wolf down when I have a moment; but Sacha was right, it seemed EVERYONE had given up working for the day that late afternoon; and since my tuppawear had been unceremoniously left in my fridge at home and I had not yet gotten around to seeking a replacement, my rumbling tummy wholeheartedly agreed.

I grabbed my bag and dashed out into the Northern Quarter, whose moody streets were now drenched in sunshine and slowly filling with loose-tied, off-the-clock workers who too had decided to take advantage of the arrival of an early Summer.

I met Sacha and Nikki at Tariff and Dale; having only spent evenings drinking good G+T’s and playing bad games of pool there in the past, their menu has always been somewhat of an intrigue, and today seemed as good as any to take it out for a spin.

Drinking in the menu (as well as a thirst-quenching Hendricks), we ordered a veritable feast of everything that caught our eye.

Wild Mushroom Arancini

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Show me the word “Arancini” and I am quite literally powerless to resist. Stuffed with mozzarella, chimichurri and crowned with rocket above a bed of homemade pesto; its outer coating crackles with golden crunch, perfectly sealing a rich, gooey centre. 3 per portion, it’s a handsome plateful for just 6 squidly and rivals against many bonafide Italian’s in Manchester.
A classic Margarita pizza on sourdough base.
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Can we just take a moment?
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For a place with such a diverse menu, we didn’t expect great shakes (or slices) from T & D, mediocre at best or maybe even Pizza Express standard; imagine our pleased as punch faces when this little miracle arrived, cooked till Neapolitan perfection, unable to hold its own and dripping with all manners of cheese.
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A dreamy concoction which received moans of approval from three of Manchester’s most critical pizza snobs and a total steal at just £8 (go on a Friday lunchtime and you can enjoy unlimited slices of the stuff for £9!)
And last, but certainly not least, the Fish Board.
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Smoked Mackerel Pate, Haddock Fish Fingers, Smoked Salmon & Caper Berries, Buttermilk Marinated Squid
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A harmonious symphony of fresh fish and a glorious combination of flavours and textures. Crisp chewy bites of squid; silky portions of smoked salmon and divine crunches of fish fingers which uncovered the fluffy white flakes of haddock.
At £18 per board, I found this a little overpriced for the portion size, but I suppose fairly accurate of the cost of fresh fish in Manchester. Combining this along with our two other dishes, the bill was remarkably reasonable – making us question why we shouldn’t be lunching this way on a more weekly basis.
Manchester gets a handful of summer days at best, so I hope you’re able not to waste a moment when the sun decides to present its happy self. This city and its towns are brimming with opportunities for you to uncover, so if you find anywhere (almost) too good to share, please let me know!

SiOP Shop

I have the teeniest, tidbit of a recommendation for you with this post, but though it may be short, I can promise you it’s extra sweet and cream-filled *insert drool emoji here*.

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Found in the depths of the Northern Quarter, SiOP Shop is now the official home to Blawd Bakery, known for previously making magic in the basement kitchen of Common, just a stones throw away from the bakeries new home.

The cosy nook, with many a nod to the owners Welsh roots, is simple but inviting, deliciously decorated with art and are boasters of the best damn filled doughnuts in Manchester.

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While Maltby Street Market’s doughy creations still has my heart, I have a doughnut shaped hole in my life of which SiOP Shop seems to have nestled in perfectly.

A quaint space, you can sit and while away the hours with friends; or grab and go from their counter. There’s a simple yet very well executed cafe-esque menu, and rows upon rows of the daily doughnut specials with traybake’s and brownies to boot alongside. Vegans can rejoice at SiOP’s selection of doughy offerings which contain no trace of animal at all (but STILL taste like delightful human food).

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I cannot for the life of me remember which doughnut I had on my first visit, but I DO remember all the important details; sinking my teeth into perfectly fluffy sponge, the handsomely-filled jelly jam centre and its light coating of soft, sweet glaze.

I polished off my first taste of Blawd sat in the window and immediately went in for a second, top lip and fingertips still frosted with sugar.

Word (and a real-time WhatsApp picture journey) of my visit to Siop Shop prompted interest from my other half, who insisted we return together to indulge in the full experience (and many more doughnuts).

Flash forward a week later, we found ourselves deliciously with a day to ourselves and popped in for a spot of brekkie.

Daffodils, aligned like cheery soldiers adorned the windowsill.

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On a mid-morning weekday, the shop was a far cry from the bustling yet warm weekend atmosphere, but no less welcoming and still occupied with a punter or two.

 

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Eyeing the updated counter menu, we placed our order and cosied up on a table for two.

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Dau breakfast muffins, two cappuccinos and a pair of doughnuts for a pair of doughnuts.

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Both muffins handsomely stacked, we enjoyed wolf-sized bites which combined homemade potato rosti, Monterey Jack, sausage patty and crisp fried egg.

Simple but homely, no frills but full of flavour; exactly the kind of brekkie your nan would whip up and serve you ahead of the Corrie omnibus on a Sunday.

With our morning growls well and truly satisfied, it was time to get down to serious business.

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The Maple and Pecan doughnut (an incredibly photogenic specimen I’m sure you’ll agree).

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And just out of shot…the classic Vanilla Custard.

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Both creations excruciatingly wonderful, impossibly light and devilishly moreish.

If you can talk yourself out of ordering another one (or two) you deserve a bloody medal (but why fight the inevitable? Go on, order it to go!)

Whilst still in its “hidden gem” mode to most, weekends will still see Siop Shop full of sweet-toothed locals in the know; and you’d do right to become one very quickly.

Their flavours are beyond divine, from Crème brûlée to Tiramisu, it’s quite impossible to pick one, so please, grab a friend and order the lot!

No website, but they absolutely nail it on Twitter.

Federal Cafe & Bar

Now that I have the pleasure of working in Manchester City centre, I find myself in abundance with opportunities to dine out.

A lunch date here, a cup of coffee there – sure I wince every time I tap my card to pay contactless, convinced that THIS round of Flat White’s will be met with the impending “decline” (such a lifestyle is really too lush to be brandishing so close to payday)…Alas! If you can’t enjoy a sweet sip of Vanilla Chai that costs the same amount as a two-day train fare ticket (they do fly the coffee beans direct from New Zealand after all, Business Class too no doubt), in the years you find yourself gloriously without a mortgage, when can you eh?

I truly used to dread Monday’s, adapting a Garfield-like grimace every time my 6am alarm, which officially signified the end of the weekend, rang into my ears. But now, I embrace them (I write this on a Friday afternoon, whilst sipping a cup of peppermint tea, legs tucked up on the couch with Monday morning a blissful 2 lie-ins away…so the reality may be a touch sketchy).

Monday’s are a new opportunity, a chance to get organised, to set the foundation for the week and most importantly…a new chance to brunch.

Power-brunching is not a new concept by any means; but it was new territory for me and is a fantastic opportunity to combine your most important meal of the day with the some of the most important people in your life.

Meeting at 8:30am, Sacha and I power-walked from my remote parking spot on the outskirts of Salford Quays (the things you do for free parking) to the Northern Quarter, making a beeline for our favourite breakfast joint, Federal Cafe & Bar.

Simple, rustic, with a handful of achingly hip servers which hang ready to take your order.

Inspired by a lady we saw on the way in, carefully spooning porridge into her mouth whilst dreamily reading her book; we ordered coffees and a bowlful to share, just because.

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Steel-cut oats, piping-hot and rich with comforting flavours. Flaked almonds, blueberries, a drizzle of honey and a handsome dollop of tart rhubarb compote add extra finesse to an ordinary humble dish.

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Wetting our appetites with our breakfast “starter”, we ordered up the usual for the main event; smashed avo over sourdough, side of smoked salmon and poached eggs.

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The millennial breakfast of champions.

Gloriously runny eggs sealed the deal, oozing over chunks of avocado and freshly toasted bread.

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We devoured the lot, exchanging ideas, plans for the week, all the while basking in the sensational fresh flavours which stayed consistent and scrumptious, right to the very last bite.

If you can tear yourself away from your bed, just an extra hour earlier this Monday; I highly encourage that you do so, doing something just a little out of the ordinary once in a while can do wondrous things for the rest of your week.

If you aren’t able to grab yourself such a luxury during the week, then you absolutely MUST treat yourself some other way. A delicious half hour with your book (better throw in a slice of cake too for good measure…), a quick jaunt down by the canal with your favourite album in your ears – whatever makes you happy, be sure to sneak it in there and add a bit of extra magic to your Monday!

Trof

Discovering that one of your favourite watering holes not only whips up a dazzling G&T, but also offers a banging food menu is one of those super delicious pot luck moments, like finding a five pound note in your jeans pocket or getting an extra shot of vanilla syrup in your Chai Latte for free.

For me, Trof was once reserved as a space where I could humiliate myself through the mixed media of bad dancing (countless occasions) and sitting down where there wasn’t a chair (once). But in recent years, Trof has massively upped their game and become key players in the NQ’s abundance of charming eateries.

With a drool-inducing ‘gram and seasonal menu positively bursting with variety, fresh produce and innovative platefuls; you’re seriously missing a trick if this place isn’t already on your “fail-safe” food list.

Living in a city where new restaurants, dining concepts and the latest “it” food trends pop up practically weekly, I normally feel guilty going anywhere twice; but with Trof, I was happy to become a repeat offender and bend my usual rules in the name of a good feed and a full belly.

Take your favourites, a week-day evening is best, slither into a booth and set up shop for the eve.

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The menu might make you feel spoilt for choice, but just go with your gut, you really can’t go wrong with this place.

Order up at the bar…

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And don’t return without one of their signature cocktails (I highly recommend the Shrubsy Malone).

On the occasions where I’ve dined at Trof, the wait for the food is a little longer than expected; alas it’s difficult to stay miffed when the food is this good.

Sea bass Nicoise

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The perfectly-crisped fillet lays atop a wilted bed of spinach and beans; blushed tomato and olives adding an intense, salty burst of flavour to the delicate bites of fish, soft new potato and greens.

I have to say, I wasn’t expecting a great deal when ordering this plate; mostly opting for it because it seemed to carry more “health points” than the other dishes…but imagine my delight when this otherwise above-average salad was completed by a golden, crispy-coated hens egg; a glorious variation of the usual boiled egg normally seen with a nicoise.

Still crackling from its date with the fryer; the soft yolk of the egg oozed into a puddle coating the rest of the dishes element in its rich yellow nectar.

Superb.

The Katsu Curry is 100% Vegan (but don’t let that put you off).

 

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Trof successfully manage to inject flavours of chilli and lime into the tofu, before frying it till crisp in a light coating of batter.

Fragrant basmati rice bulks out the dish while a hearty portion of crispy kale combined with pickled ginger and radish add waves of heat to every mouthful.

Wonderfully satisfying, even for the most committed carnivores.

If you’re looking for simplicity at its very best; the Buttermilk Chicken Burger is the plate for you.

(A moment of appreciation for the bun-lid of perfection).

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Succulent pieces of juicy, fried chicken, paired with slaw, lettuce and hugged between two brioche buns.

Spectacularly simple, but marvellously executed.

Totally stuffed, we didn’t bother with pudding – but with Plum Eton Mess and Apple & Bramble Crumble on offer, you’d do well to find some room if you can manage it.

Trof is well worth a go if you find yourself in need of a mid-week pick-me-up. With 50% off food on Monday’s and live music on Thursdays, it’s quite impossible to leave Trof without a smile on your face and a splash of rum & coke down your blouse (old habits die hard).

Menu here

Book for 50% off here (Monday’s only).

Another Heart to Feed

Some things you just have an inexplainable good feeling about.

A mid-season sale, the impending fourth season of Peaky Blinders (just 11 months to go!) A fourth gin and tonic; I mean, when are such things ever not a good idea?

In this instance, it was an (almost) new brunch spot which, as my very good luck would have it, had opened up just around the corner.

Another Heart to Feed may not be completely unfamiliar to you, they had after all already made quite the impression on Manchester when they opened their original site on Salford’s Chapel Street; alas due to a sudden increase in rent on their premises, were forced to temporarily close, and what became Salford loss was to the great gain on West Didsbury’s already thriving high street to which AHTF has nestled in effortlessly, as though it was always meant to be.

We never set out to brunch; “just a stroll around Didsbury!” We said. “Maybe a jaunt by the canal?”

Behave.

This was Sunday, we had been ever-so-slightly smashed the night before, we were unconsolably famished and in quite desperate need of a coffee. Which is why our feet directed us several kilometres away from the canal (which was really too muddy to walk around anyway…) And right into the arms of Another Heart to Feed.

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Bundling in from the snow (yes, snow in February) we were met with a vibrant space, filled with Didsbury natives and fellow brunchers, similarly searching for their mimosa- cocktail-runny egg-baconey-dukka-seed-flourished fix.

“A coffee, we’ll just stop for a coffee.”

Cue one of the utterly charming servers, gliding past holding platefuls of art cleverly disguised as smoked salmon on rye, and we swiftly asked for a table for two.

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The booths are best for people watching, but the communal tables give the best light (and laughs depending on who you share your bench with).

The space is really quite spectacular and a ‘grammers dream, with the decor a straight up replica of your most favourited Pinterest boards.

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We ordered modestly, still slightly bashful from our impromptu 3am Chinese the night previous (the less said about that the better…)

Coffee, Smashed Avocado with Poached Egg and Feta and House made Beans with parmesan, both served over sourdough.

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Now, I don’t want to oversell this – but I think this could have been possibly the prettiest brunch I ever laid eyes on.

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The standard Avocado Toast (which is by no means your average avo toast).

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Chunky smashed avo and hunks of crumbled feta are loaded onto toasted sourdough before being graced with delicate sprinkles of saffron. Beetroot hummus, dukkah and a delightfully oozy poached egg decorate the remainder of the plate and give off a really special mixture of textures and flavours to an otherwise simple dish.

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Almost too beautiful to eat.

House made Beans with fresh thyme and a sprinkling of parmesan. Served over sourdough with a side of chorizo.

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Hearty, comforting and just a little bit cheesy, the exact qualities one strives for in a brunch (and a partner coincidentally).

The words “homemade baked beans” always evoke such delight with me, but I tread with caution after a previous disaster with cannellini beans and a jar of shop-bought passata; alas these house made beans balanced just the right amount of rich and smoky flavour, made extra indulgent with melted parmesan and snaps of spiced chunky chorizo.

My only critique was that the sourdough didn’t fair too well underneath such a rich and thick sauce, this was quickly rectified however using the extra bread our server had given us (for NO reason! Just for extra bread’s sake, which was nothing short of a delight).

If you couldn’t already tell, I highly recommend you take trip to Another Heart to Feed. It’s laid back Aussie approach, with hints of scandi-style influence and wonderfully friendly team make it the perfect place to start any day, they’re super passionate about what they do and have some strong suppliers on board (including Trove bakery – swoon!) Who they can’t help but rave about in their menu.

Take your other half, your best friend or even a gang of your favourites, find your spot and spend a long, lazy morning making the most of it, I insist!

 

 

 

 

 

Albert’s Schloss

When Spring idly refuses to…well spring, no matter how much we forcefully wave goodbye to Winter; one must take it upon themselves to find sweet relief from the bitter cold.

And guess what?

I’ve only bloody gone and found it.

Whilst it’s tempting to stay indoors, wrapped up like a human-burrito, you simply must summon the energy to leave the comfort of your lair, if only for one reason; and what better reason than brunch?

Especially when it’s brunch with one of your favourites.

We bundled into Albert’s Schloss, hungry, desperately chilly and very much in need of comfort.

First glances assured me we were in the right place.

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Taking safe haven in one of the quiet corners of Albert’s Schloss, we tucked ourselves into the snuggest of snugs and relaxed against the feather down cushions.

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The mood was relaxed and soothing, fellow brunchers chatted softly between themselves as the open fire blazed, warming the entirety of the space, creating a cosiest of ambiences – quite the achievement for such a large venue.

We poured ourselves mugfuls of piping hot tea, clutching them as we chattered, savouring the moments of delicious warmth.

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Whilst Albert’s Schloss offers quite the variety, the morning called for avocado toast and poached eggs; nothing groundbreaking I’m afraid, but a benchmark brunch staple I’m sure you’ll agree.

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A side order of bacon from Chloe meant she was met by half a pig adorning her plate; much to her pleasure, she gleefully ploughed through the succulent rashers which held that delightful glisten of…well grease, but the finest of grease, I promise you.

The bread is baked daily in-haus and is served by the wedge, once smothered in smashed, chunky avocado and seasoned with zingy squeezes of lemon, poached eggs are then placed on top, the pièce de résistance to the much favoured, brunch classic.

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Whether you’re looking to pinch a brief moment of luxury before work, or are after a long lazy affair for you and a friend, Albert’s Schloss simply must be on your hit-list if you’re still yet to try this Manchester staple.

Go for the food, but stay for the experience and upgrade your weekday to something a little more extraordinary.

The Bagel Shop EAT New York

Do you want to know my core components for a successful brunch?

Good company

Gin-fuelled cocktails

and lots and lots of meat.

Now, if you’re lucky – you’ll already have the first of the three in the bag; and the next two? Well, I’d like to hope that I can help with that.

I’ve followed Eat NY on Instagram ever since their food truck first graced the streets of Manchester back in 2015; when I found out that they had finally opened up permanent premises right in my backyard, well…I was there in a New York minute.

You’ll find them on Oldham Street, its understated store front giving nothing away of the marvellous creations which are enclosed inside.

Whilst the decor is painfully simple, industrial with a hint of New York moodiness about it; the friendly welcome from the Eat NY team paints the ambience with a cosy warmth which contrasts against the cool grey walls.

 

We ordered up a round of drinks, heavy with hair of the dog and ordered a whole lot of brunch from the menu. It’s a helluva read and you’ll most certainly struggle with your choosing, but you’ll be happy to find many of the meat-stuffed handfuls you can find on their Street Diner truck with additional New York classics, exclusive to The Bagel Shop.

First, the Crab Shack Bagel.

Shredded chunks of crab claw, bacon, avocado, red onion, rocket, smothered with dollops of chipotle marie rose.

Every bite is bursting with fresh flavour from the meaty hunks of crab claw, a mild infusion of salt from the bacon is softened by the creaminess of avocado with one last kick of flavour from the chipotle mayo.

Deliciously light and a favourite amongst us all.

Now, you can’t possibly can’t say, hand on heart that you’ve visited New York, if you left before trying a Reuben.

It’s as much of an institution as the national anthem or Sarah Jessica Parker, and Eat New York have a version which rivals that of Katz Deli (if you know, you know).

Choose from a full pound, or half pound sandwich, and try not to be too captivated by its beauty when it arrives.

Stacked heartily with hot pulled pastrami, sauerkraut, swiss cheese and Russian dressing; Eat New York take their sandwich build super seriously, and use American brisket to guarantee the juiciest, meatiest filling before giving it two weeks of cured, salted love.

It’s a long process, but worth it if the moans of delight from the customers are anything to go by.

I wouldn’t advise trying to be a lady with this beast – grab it with two hands, wrap your chops around it and enjoy a socking big bite, which will positively ooze with flavour and moreish-ness.

 

Don’t rush, although you’ll be tempted to forget to breathe in favour of its splendour; this sandwich has taken quite the journey, and the meat is oh-so-more softer and richer for it.

If you still have room (even if you don’t have room), please order the Deep Fried Apple Pie?

A favourite amongst the servers who quite literally can’t stop shouting about it.

Tempura fried and served with warm, gooey caramel, hunks of brown sugar and a soft frozen scoop of vanilla ice cream.

A total work of art, deliciously naughty and eye-rollingly good.

If you’re well overdue some meat sweats, I can’t recommend The Bagel Shop enough. You can taste the passion of its creators behind every bite, a true testament to the decadent innovation that are New York classics and at a pretty penny cheaper than airfare to the Big Apple.

Go, enjoy and thank me later.

 

Fress

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.

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Let’s check it out shall we?

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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.

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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.

Fress Punch

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Vodka, crème de cassis, raspberry puree and apple juice

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Pretty as a picture and positively delicious.

Bloody Mary’s

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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

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Tender pulls of succulent beef brisket, sautéed with potatoes and topped with poached eggs, hollandaise sauce & padron peppers.

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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.

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Croque Monsieur (turned Madame!)

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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?

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Admittedly the least pretty of all the dishes, it was sumptuous and deliciously satisfying; a real home comfort.

Beef Brisket Eggs Benedict

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More of the same juicy pulled beef brisket, served on homemade sourdough toast, crowned with poached eggs and dripping with freshly made hollandaise sauce.

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Impossibly good.

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.

Full?

Think again.

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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…

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Plumping for a seasonal selection, we ordered one of everything, all in the name of a fair trial.

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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.

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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.

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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!