When Gooey first arrived in Manchester in 2020, it did so in perfect step with the pandemic.
Tentatively launching the same month the country plunged into lockdown, no one knew just how much its salty-sweet treats would shape the course of our isolation.
Beginning life as a small pop-up in borrowed space, its bakers soon became Manchester’s go-to sugar dealers as the business pivoted into home delivery.
Two and a half years later, as we wander around inside Gooey’s new bakery and cafe, we can’t help but wonder how many deliveries (and kiosk collections) it took to get here.
Now, the team is trying something new, with the launch of their very own cafe, which will offer an all-day brunch menu when it opens its doors this Friday.
Light, airy, and modern, with a full kitchen and on-site bakery, Gooey’s cafe will be serving up all-day breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes made using special breads baked on site.
Housed in the former Cat cafe unit, some serious work has gone in here over the past few months, not least the installation of a proper extraction fan.
On the counter, fans of Gooey’s signature melt-in-the-middle cookies and fluffy donuts can still pick up their favourites, to eat in or takeaway, or ogle a new selection of changing pastries, cakes and specials.
The biggest new addition is the new cafe menu, which caters to breakfasters, brunchers and lunchers from 9am-6pm with a range of different things on toast, in sandwiches or salads.
We cut open the Gooey French toast, a magnificent tower that’s somehow swimming in maple syrup and still lighter-than-air, only to find its insides oozing with dulce de leche and vanilla creme pat.
A Kewpie egg mayo sandwich on toasted Japanese Shokupan bread, a plump whole egg running through its middle, is a modest showstopper, as is a vegan-friendly wild mushroom toast on toasted chia brioche, smeared with a generous helping of roasted black garlic cashew cream.
Other menu highlights to look out for this Friday include the char sui bbq glazed baby back rib sesame sub, panko-fried chicken katsu brioche, and the hefty bricks of ‘side portion’ halloumi, which come slathered in a (pleasantly spicy) chilli jam.
A full coffee menu is also available, alongside a list of fresh, cold-pressed juices in orange (carrot, ginger and orange), or green (cucumber, kale, pear and grape),
If that’s not doing it for you, you’ll also find ‘fancy schmancy’ iced strawberry, vanilla and matcha lattes, a caramelised white chocolate mocha, and cold-brewed green and white tea with added coconut, pineapple and hibiscus on the drinks menu.
As for those who like life’s simpler pleasures, rest assured you can also get a proper builder’s brew here.
Prices start from £3.20 for a Yorkshire breakfast tea and £4 for slabs of toasted brioche loaf served with a pot of seasonal jam.
At £6.90, the aforementioned Kewpie egg sandwich is a steal, As for the French toast, at £11.30 it might be the most expensive thing on the menu but if you don’t order it you are seriously missing out. You can always split it with a friend.
Michael Bisping announces second ‘Tales From The Octagon’ talk with Manc MMA star Tom Aspinall
UFC legend Michael Bisping is bringing back his hugely popular Tales From The Octagon conversation series and he’s bringing Manc MMA star Tom Aspinall as well as Scottish fighter Paul Craig along for the latest Manchester talk.
Following the success of his first trio of live shows back in 2021 — then marketed simply as ‘An Evening with Michael Bisping’ — the Lancashire-raised fighter has invited along the two fellow Northerners to make this latest event more of a discussion surrounding MMA’s past, present and future.
Despite being born in Cyrpus, Bisping spent most of his life not too far down the road in Clitheroe and has spent a lot of time in Manchester, including winning multiple fights at the AO Arena and even meeting his wife, so there was never any question he’d be bringing the tour back to his second home.
Hosting just two shows this time, one at London’s Indigo at the O2 and the other at the Manchester Apollo, the talk promises stories spanning years inside the Octagon as well as the 44-year-old’s time commentating cage-side since retiring back in 2018.
The second Tales From The Octagon live show will also see the special guests chipping in with plenty of their own “wonderful, hilarious” and exclusive “behind-the-scenes stories” and they provide their own take on the MMA scene at large of today.
Craig, a former light heavyweight champion and Aspinall, a Salford-born heavyweight currently ranked fourth overall in the UFC, will both be joining the expert panel across the two dates this winter, bringing their own funny anecdotes, personal stories and unique takes on their careers and the sport as a whole.
Best of all, like sitting down to watch with a mate who also happens to be a vastly knowledgeable fight fan, Bisping style on stage draws both casual and new fans with the open, informal style, whilst still making sure to entertain the hardcore followers of the sport.
With Aspinall being not only a local lad but one of the UFC rising stars and next in line for a heavyweight, we’re also looking forward to hearing his thoughts on how fast-growing career. Here is Bisping speaking on just how excited he is by the 30-year-old fighter:
Speaking ahead of the two new shows, Bisping said: “The last tour in the UK was epic, I was overwhelmed by the turnout and reaction of my fans old and new. I can’t wait to come back later this year with a new show and with Tom and Paul in tow.”
Given the popularity of these three and the fact the previous tour went down a treat, it’s fair to say seats to sit in on this conversation are going to go fast.
Now branching into acting, running a successful podcast and YouTube channel, not to mention a Sunday Times and Amazon Best Seller thanks to his 2019 autobiography, Quitters Never Wins, you’re getting a real value-for-money showing.
The Tales From The Octagon 2 talk in Manchester takes place on 16 December; tickets start from just £28.50 and you can secure yours HERE.