One of Manchester’s best-loved independent cafes has been ordered to close its popular takeaway coffee cart in Prestwich by the council.
Federal Cafe Bar – known for bringing “Antipodean happiness to Manchester” – has developed a loyal following of customers since opening its first city centre branch in the Northern Quarter in 2014 and its second site on Deansgate in 2019, but due to several lockdowns and ongoing restrictions amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, both sites have been restricted to takeaway-only services.
So, in an attempt to boost trade and bring some staff back from furlough, owner Claudio Ribeiro decided to open a coffee cart in Altrincham Market back in January – and it proved to be a massive hit.
Acting on the popularity of the Altrincham endeavour, Mr Ribero said he wanted to the do the same in his hometown of Prestwich to try and “bring something different” to the area, so he struck a deal with brewers to set up outside local pub The White Horse two weeks ago.
In the two days the cart was there, it went down a treat with locals and walkers alike.
But sadly, Bury Council has since ordered Federal to move on as it says the the coffee cart was operating in a ‘legally prohibited trading zone’, which covers the area between Bury New Road, Fairfax Road and Rectory Lane in Prestwich town centre.
Speaking to the MEN on the short-lived success of the Prestwich cart, Claudio Ribiero said: “The two days we were there, we did really well.
“We sold about 200 coffees each day.
“I was on private land, so I thought it would be fine if I paid a little bit to the pub [but] obviously that was incorrect and I needed to apply for a licence.”
Although Mr Ribero has admitted that he “should have checked” with the council first, he believes they could have done more to work with him and claims that when he asked whether he could apply for a licence to trade in the area, he was told not to bother by council officials.
He also suspects another business may have complained to the council about the coffee cart too.
“It’s a shame because I would like to go back there,” Mr Ribeiro continued.
“I’m not trying to interfere with anybody else, we are just trying to get back to normal and trade in some way [and] I live in Prestwich and pay my council tax to Bury Council.
“We should have checked, but the council could also have tried to understand that things are a little difficult right now.
“If the [Manchester City Council] had the same view, we would never have been able to open last summer [so] why can’t Bury Council do something like that and allow [Prestwich town centre] to be a little more alive?
“I think they need to be a little more open-minded.”
In response to Mr Ribero’s comments, a spokesperson for Bury Council said: “We have every sympathy for businesses who have suffered during the coronavirus lockdowns, and will do everything we can to help them through these difficult times.
“This person, however, had unknowingly set up in a legally prohibited trading zone.
“This has covered the central shopping district of Prestwich village since 1997, and is there to protect the interests of local businesses. He can, though, trade outside this zone, as long as he applies for a street trading permit, which would also allow our environmental health officers to ensure that his premises (van) meet food safety standards.
“We have sent him the relevant application forms and have been assisting him with the process.”
Food & Drink
Team behind Ancoats wine bar Flawd to relaunch Higher Ground restaurant
The team behind Ancoats wine bar and small plates spot Flawd will relaunch their restaurant concept Higher Ground at a new venue in Manchester next month.
First launched as a four-week pop-up back in February 2020, it was closed when Covid struck but now the bistro is making a return after securing a new permanent home in Chinatown’s Faulkner House.
The brainchild of Joseph Otway, Richard Cossins and Daniel Craig Martin, dishes will change on a daily basis depending on the season and showcase organic produce from their very own market garden, Cinderwood, as well as other local producers.
Promising a focus on North West ingredients, dishes will put a focus on small-scale agriculture and small herd, whole carcass cookery, whilst its wine list will center around small-scale, low intervention winemakers from around the European continent.
With room for 50 covers, guests will have the option to sit at traditional dining tables or perch on stools overlooking the open kitchen and charcoal oven.
An à la carte menu will allow guests to enjoy a few dishes and a glass or two from the wine selection, whilst a second sharing menu will be made up of both individual courses and sharing dishes.
Example plates could include Cumberland Farmhouse Cheddar Quiche and Jane’s Acorn Reared Pig Belly with Grain and Mushroom Porridge, whilst vegetarian dishes span BBQ Leek Skewers and Cow’s Curd and Celeriac with Spanish Blood Orange and Bay Leaf.
Guests will also be offered the choice of sweet or savoury options to round off their meal with Garstang Blue and Lager Rarebit sitting alongside Yorkshire rhubarb, Custard and Caramelised Croissant on the dessert menu.
Speaking on the new opening, Rich Cossins said: “We’re now over three years into our journey of owning our own business and we’re only just about to launch our first full-scale restaurant.
“The most exciting times are without question still to come and we look forward to contributing even more positively to the city of Manchester.”
As you’d expect from the team behind Ancoats’ critically acclaimed Flawd, the beverage list at Higher Ground will include an ever changing by the glass option along with a short and concise wine list.
There will also be a short list of aperitifs and specialty cocktails to begin the meal with as well as a range of UK beers in can and bottle format.
The restaurant will be open four days a week, between Wednesday and Saturday. They will serve dinner only on Wednesdays and Thursdays and will be open for both lunch and dinner on Fridays and Saturdays.
The Scottish-Indian restaurant selling haggis pakoras and deep-fried Mars bars
Over in Sale’s newly redeveloped Stanley Square, you’ll find an Indian fusion restaurant serving up Scottish ingredients in some decidedly un-Scottish ways.
We’re talking haggis pakoras, Irn Bru negronis, wee puris and seven spice Scotch eggs – all served street food style in traditional metal tiffin boxes.
Opened by Ryan Singh, who hails from Edinburgh, Roti combines the best bits of his Scottish and Indian heritage by putting a spicy twist on some of Scotland’s most sacred foodstuffs.
Think deep-fried Mars bars, ‘chip butties’ in authentic rotis stuffed with curried aloo and chickpeas in aromatic pickle, and an aromatic take on mince and tatties made by combining Roti spiced pork and chole potatoes.
Elsewhere, you’ll find a decidedly fresh spin on fish and chips combining fresh Panga fish in roti gram flour batter with fluffy masala potatoes on a bed of curried ‘mushy peas’ chickpeas, and a massive Highlander burger topped with a crunchy puri ball.
Haggis – a Scottish delicacy traditionally served on Burns night – features heavily on the menu here too.
A savoury pudding containing sheep’s pluck (a mix of minced heart, liver and lungs) with oatmeal, onion, spices, suet, salt and stock, it’s typically served alongside neeps (better known as parsnips) on special occassions.
Down at Roti, though, it takes some decidedly different forms: shaped into burger patties and topped with coleslaw and apple chutney, or lightly coated in a spiced gram flour and fried into pakoras.
Roti first opened on Chorlton’s Barlow Moor Road in 2019, but within a few months found itself forced to close its doors and switch to takeaway only as the country went into lockdown.
After building up a loyal following of takeaway customers, the restaurant – described as ‘not your average Indian joint’ – was inspired to expand and owners moved into the newly refurbished Sale shopping precinct in 2021.
Sadly, they closed the original restaurant earlier this month but you can still find all their brilliant dishes over in Sale alongside hospitality heavy hitters like Rudy’s, Greens and Sugo Pasta Kitchen.