Over in Chorlton, there’s a new coffee and bagel shop that’s making waves amongst south Manchester foodies.
Called Smoak, it opened its doors next door to cocktail bar Henry C a couple of months back and has been on our to-visit list ever since.
The brainchild of owner Johnathan Barnett, a self-proclaimed coffee obsessive and former finance professional, the shop has a laidback atmosphere despite being busy when we visit early on a Friday afternoon.
At ground level, it’s all airy plywood with blue and orange accents, a sleek barista countertop and local artwork hanging on the walls, but it’s out the back of the cafe that the real magic happens.
For the past few months, John has been making his own pastrami in the basement from scratch – leading Smoak to develop something of a reputation as the new go-to for any and all New York-style bagel fans.
Now, though, he tells us, he’s built a purpose-built smoking area out the back – it no longer being practical to do it downstairs.
Not one to do things by halves, he’s curing his beef brisket in-house for a minimum of seven days before dry rubbing it with a host of spices, then hot smoking for a minimum of six hours.
The team here is also making their own harissa in-house, and it’s some of the best we’ve tasted – punchy, zesty and fresh, all at the same time.
The coffee here is stellar, and there’s also a bakery counter filled with fat salted caramel and oreo crumb doughnuts from local baking sensation DGHNT. But it’s really the pastrami-stuffed bagels that we’ve come to try.
On the menu, you’ll find an array of six different options: all packed with home-smoked meat and veg. There’s chunky aubergine, smeared in that bright, zingy harissa (or available on its own) for veggies and vegans, with spinach, red onion, and aubergine and garlic puree.
As for those who don’t eat beef, there’s a harissa chicken bagel or a chicken and aubergine option. Both come served with added spinach, red onion, mayo and butter.
All are very reasonably priced at £6.50 for meaty bagels and £6 for vegan options. You can also opt to double up on your aubergine, pastrami or chicken for an additional £1.50, and buy bags of Smoak’s own coffee blend beans to take away.
Well worth a look in, to find out more and see the full menu you can follow Smoak on Instagram here.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Popular London bakery Gail’s to open string of North West cafes next year
Popular craft bakery Gail’s has hinted at plans to open a string of new cafes in the North West next year.
The group, which already has a large number of bakery-cafes in the south of England, has announced it will open its first North West site in Wilmslow in early 2023.
Bosses have also said that ‘further locations in the North West’ will be announced in the new year, adding that all the new bakeries will serve GAIL’s artisan sourdough breads, pastries, sandwiches, and cakes alongside its specialty House Blend coffee.
The news also seems to potentially confirm speculation that the brand is planning a move into Manchester after The Manc shared news of potential plans for a Gail”s opening in the city centre in October.
Having already seen planning documents that suggest the chain is planning to take over the former White Stuff unit on King Street, it now appears that more news on that opening will be coming in 2023 – although it’s hard to say if it will be the first Manchester site to be announced.
The bakery group already has strong ties with Manchester, having run its sister wholesale bakery The Bread Factory in Openshaw since 2017.
Formed in the early 1990s by namesake Gail Mejia, Gail’s began when its eponymous founder decided to bring together the best bakers in London to create bakes for the capitals top chefs and restaurants.
Today, is known more as a customer-facing cafe and bakery whilst The Bread Factory continues the original wholesale legacy – supplying high quality, artisan breads to some of the region’s top local restaurants.
Gail’s first cafe opened on Hampstead High Street in 2005, and now the brand has 79 in neighbourhoods in and around London, Oxford, Brighton and more.
Turning back the clock on industrialised baking practices and moving to bake bread as it used to be baked: by hand, using quality ingredients and time-worn artisanal methods, Gail’s soon established a name for itself and has come a long way since those early days.
Still, the stuff that matters – the ethos, the suppliers, the skill and a handful of tried-and-tested sourdough starter cultures – hasn’t changed.
A champion for sustainability, the bakery also prides itself on minimising food waste by carefully setting aside any leftover food and donating it to a selection of local charities in each eatery’s neighbourhood
A stylish new art deco restaurant and waterside brasserie are coming to Manchester, it has been revealed.
Brought to the city by operators behind brands like Soho House, Isabel Mayfair and Michelin-starred Petersham Nurseries, new opening Maya will be situated within an iconic location of Manchester’s nightlife history: 40 Chorlton Street.
It will take part of the ground and lower floors of the early 20th-century warehouse building, which is also home to the newly opened neighbourhood hotel LEVEN.
Split across three floors, Maya will house numerous areas: from a canal-side brasserie space serving modern-European classics to a lower ground-floor, elegantly designed dining room that will centre around an ingredient-led, locally sourced and seasonal menu.
The kitchen team will be led by Mancunian chef Gabe Lea, who cut his teeth at Michelin-starred establishments like Le Manoir.
The interior backdrop, meanwhile, will merge the original industrial nature of the space with inspired details of art deco grandeur references in beautiful and surprising ways.
Menu development for the new opening is currently underway with Lea commenting: “There is a lot of creativity going into the design and overall concept of the restaurant, and the menu development is no different.
“Our approach will be to champion the beauty and simplicity of exceptional produce and, where we can, we will focus on sourcing seasonal ingredients locally.
“By having more than one dining space, we can run separate menus. The brasserie menu will be about long-standing favourites that we know people will love, alongside more creative and ingredient-led dishes in the dining room that will change regularly and react to what’s seasonal and available.”
Maya is scheduled to open in the spring of 2023, with more details set to be released in the new year. For more information and to be the first to hear about Maya’s launch, visit MayaManchester.com, or follow Maya’s Instagram @maya_mcr.