A restaurant that only serves viral food inspired by trends seen on TikTok is opening in Manchester this summer, it has been revealed.
From nibbles like fluffy cloud bread and corn ribs to trendy pasta dishes like spicy vodka penne and whole baked feta fusilli, Mancs can expect to see all of their favourite TikTok recipes on the menu when PlateTok opens its doors in the Northern Quarter this summer.
It’s tipped to be taking over the old Nexus Art Cafe unit, a once-iconic basement cafe that has stood empty for the past two years after being hit hard in the early days of the Covid pandemic.
The new restaurant is the brainchild of Pete Stake – a former social media manager who decided to venture into the world of restaurants after seeing just how popular some of these viral food trends had become online in the last few years.
Pete spent a lot of lockdown eating TikTok recipes his partner would cook for him and, after being made redundant from his position at the end of last year, decided to delve into hospitality instead – taking his years of social media marketing experience with him.
Now, he’s gearing up to open PlateTok this summer with a launch date set for the start of June.
Speaking on the new opening, Mr P Stake said: “I’m so excited to bring PlateTok to Manchester, I just can’t believe that no one has thought to do this before. Gimmicky restaurants seem to be all the rage right now.
“I came up with the idea in part thanks to my partner, who’ll cook me Nando’s pasta as a treat when I needed cheering up. It just got me thinking, I’d definitely go out for dinner to have this – and maybe others will be into it too.
“Sometimes it’s the maddest ideas that are the most successful – just look at Salt Bae’s Nusr-Et. People will really go and pay £100 to eat a sh*t burger wrapped in gold leaf, in the hopes of seeing him sprinkle a bit of salt off his arm.
“Don’t worry, our prices won’t be anywhere near that – but the overall feeling of quirky, fun dishes that look good on your feed is still there. It’s all about bringing the social media experience to life in the restaurant.”
Further viral foods set to appear on the menu include burger tortilla ‘crunch’ wraps (made using locally-sourced beef from PlateTok’s neighbours The Butcher’s Quarter), baked pasta ‘chips’ with an olive tapenade dip, green and red bell pepper sandwiches, salmon rice bowls and a dish initially created by Lizzo called ‘nature’s cereal’ – which is really anything but.
Elsewhere, you’ll find ocean-blue Mermaid toast (blue-green algae powders and almond milk cream cheese on Pollen sourdough) and ‘Galaxy bagels’ loaded with pink cream cheese – a twist on the popular Rainbow Bagel trend that instead uses food colouring to create a cosmic starry-sky illusion.
As for drinks, think whipped coffees, bottles of pre-batched Jungle Juice, tamarind-rimmed mimosas packed with frozen fruit ice cubes and more, as well as a range of standard soft drinks, wines and beers.
Suffice to say, we’re really through that looking glass now, Alice.
The site is expected to open this summer with a fresh, modern look.
Expect bright neon signs, industrial elements nodding to Manchester’s history and plenty of selfie traps – including a digital photo cutout board that can be customised with your own images, taking the TikTok Camera Roll Sticker firmly ‘irl’.
Due to open in Manchester sometime this June, no official launch date has yet been set so make sure to follow PlateTok on social media to keep up with further updates.
And if you made it this far without twigging the date… we are sorry.
Feature image – Google/ Twitter
This Manchester restaurant serves an all-vegan roast with ‘meat’ and all the trimmings
A Manchester vegan restaurant is serving an all-vegan roast with mock ‘meat’ and all the trimmings, putting an ethical twist on the British Sunday classic.Keen to see if it’s worth the hype, I took a trip down to try it out for myself – and left feeling pretty impressed.
Not being a vegan personally, I enlisted the help of two friends of the plant-powered persuasion to accompany me to get a real feel for every option.
Suffice it to say, it was a success and, whilst I won’t be converting to veganism any time soon, it’s nice to know that there are options out there for when I feel like being ‘good’.
With three different roast choices on offer, Wholesome Junkies is the first restaurant in the city centre to venture past the usual vegan choices of mushroom Wellington and roasted squash and go all-out with a variety of mock meat options.
Meats have been created in partnership with Liverpool vegan brand CB Sushi, using their mock beef and turkey joints to give vegans the feeling of a ‘proper’ roast.
Think glazed ‘turkey’ filled with stuffing, medallions of ‘beef’ and crispy deep-fried oyster mushrooms, all served with lashings of onion gravy, ‘buttered’ seasonal greens, glazed carrots and parsnips, deep-fried stuffing balls, crispy roasties and fluffy Yorkshire puddings created by Mabel’s.
Having tried all three, I have to say that my favourite was the turkey. It’s actually my least favourite meat to eat, so it was something of a surprise to find I enjoyed the vegan version much more than the real thing.
The texture was spot on, and there was none of the dryness you typically associate with the bird. Washed down with a pint of locally-brewed Cloudwater Fuzzy Hazy Pale Ale, it absolutely hit the spot.
Coming in a close second was the deep-fried oyster mushroom roast, which was so packed with flavour that it almost felt like I was eating fried chicken with my Sunday dinner.
As for the beef, it didn’t really do it for me – tasting more of herbs than red meat, but then, I don’t suppose there are many vegans queueing up the block for a bloody meat substitute.
Wholesome Junkies has long been a favourite with Manchester vegans. First shooting to fame in 2018 with an appearance on BBC2’s Million Pound Menu, owner Chelsea appeared on the show to ask for 95,000 to open her own vegan junk food restaurant.
Prior to that, she’d been running her Wholesome Junkies concept as a street food pop-up at sites like Grub and Ancoats General Store.
Whilst her bid to impress the BBC judges was not successful at the time, the TV appearance put her on the map and within a year she had her own Arndale market stall.
Fast forward a few more, and in 2022 she opened her first bricks and mortar restaurant – taking over the former Umezushi site at 4 Mirabel Street.
Since moving in, she’s completely transformed it: decking it out in bright colours and filling every corner with quirky little ornaments and decorations.
Strings of fairy lights, hanging mushrooms and frames filled with pictures from local artists all make the small space feel incredibly warm and welcoming – and our visit the restaurant was absolutely packed.
At a time when so many vegan restaurants seem to be closing, it was an absolute joy to see so many bums on seats during our visit.
Veganuary might almost be over, but if you’re a vegan – or simply just trying to cut down on your meat consumption – it’s definitely worth giving this one a go.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Meet the couple who quit their jobs to sell sandwiches from their Northern Quarter flat
If you’re a fan of things in bread (and honestly, who isn’t) then there’s a new Italian sandwich dealer in town that you absolutely need to get down your neck.
Serving up some of the best butties we’ve had in a long time, it’s called Ad Maiora and is being run by a couple who are making absolutely everything out of a kitchen in their little Manchester flat.
Collected from a nondescript door on a Norther Quarter back street, we’re talking giant focaccia-style loaves generously stuffed with premium ingredients like ‘nduja, spicy Tuscan sausage, smoked scamorza, mortadella, burrata and red pesto.
The brainchild of Sardinian couple Daniela Steri and Enrico Pinna, all of their sandwiches are made using only top quality Italian ingredients with a total of nine different options to choose from.
From the vegan-friendly La Nonna (Italian hummus, roasted aubergine, olives, sundried tomatoes and rocket) to a huge array of different cheesy and meaty delights, fillings include parma ham, gorgonzola DOP, truffled brie, Milano salami and crumbled pistachios.
Their bread is baked freshly by hand each morning using a tiny domestic oven, and they’re already baking up to 60 loaves of schiacciata (a traditional Tuscan flatbread) a day to keep up with the demand – putting just four in the oven at a time, over and over again.
On our visit, the pair tell us that they moved over from Sardinia to the UK six years ago and first tried living in London for a year (they say they hated it) before making the move up to Manchester.
In that time, they say they’ve fallen in love with the city of Manchester and with the Northern Quarter in particular.
Inspired by the brilliant food scene in their area, two months ago they both decided to pack in their jobs and pursue their own business instead – and haven’t looked back since.
Previously, Daniela tells us she’d worked at hotel Dakota in housekeeping for three years whilst her partner, Enrico, had been employed at Ezra and Gil. Despite their hospitality experience, though, neither of them had made bread before.
That doesn’t seem to be holding them back, though, and demand for their sandwiches is rocketing as word spreads about the new homemade Italian butties for sale on a Manchester backstreet.