From a fledgling opening in an archway on back Piccadilly to two city centre cafes in the space of just seven years, Pollen is the Manchester bakery that needs no introduction.
Founded by bankers-turned-bakers Hannah Calvert and Chris Kelly in 2016, early fans happily queued – sometimes for hours – in the wind and rain to get their hands on its inaugural stuffed cruffins and loaves of sourdough.
It outgrew that little archway in 2018 and soon set its sights on a new location at Cotton Field Wharf near Ancoats Marina, launching a crowdfunder for the site and smashing its fundraising target in the space of just one day.
That move also saw it expand its offering, developing a new brunch menu and sandwich selection to complement its bakery and coffee counter.
Now, Pollen has grown up once again – opening a second, significantly larger site down at the new, Gay Village-adjacent garden neighbourhood, Kampus.
With a brand new menu, a covered, al fresco dining area looking out into the garden, and a sleek glass kitchen that allows diners to watch pastries being rolled and shaped whilst they brunch, it looks set to be a triumph.
Invited for breakfast ahead of its opening on Thursday 9 June, we tuck into platefuls of perfectly laminated pastries still warm from the oven – washed down with cups of steaming black coffee and fresh orange juice.
Breakfast dishes include the likes of an egg bun – the egg itself a perfectly formed square, oozing with added Westcombe cheddar and flecked with a sprig of watercress – and a BLT with smoked streaky bacon, butterhead lettuce, and house-made charred tomato ketchup.
Elsewhere, you’ll find hearty slices of sourdough topped with Pollen’s own ricotta and lardo, agretti, English broad beans and peas; a glistening Hogget shoulder hashbrown with dill sauerkraut and Neil’s Yard Creme Fraiche; and white asparagus with a soft boiled egg, walnut veloute and lovage.
The new site, conveniently close to Piccadilly for commuters hanging about before a train, enables Pollen to re-house its pastry team in a brand new kitchen.
Co-owner Chris explained: “Our second location in Kampus forms part of our evolution and growth.
“After drastically running out of space at our Ancoats bakery, the new location re-homes our pastry team in a dedicated pastry kitchen behind a glass gallery so you can see all the action taking place throughout the day and the masters at work.
“We will still serve the full range as usual at the Marina, but the new kitchen will allow us so much more creative freedom.
“With a bigger café space, we’re creating a brand new, modern, refined menu which will change with the seasons and showcasing the best produce available at the time.”
Pollen’s move to the neighbourhood kicks off a summer jam-packed with new openings, as Kampus gears up to welcome joins a raft of other lauded independents including Madre’s Mexican Taqueria, Great North Pie Company, Beeswing Wine Bar, Cloudwater beer hall and General Store.
The garden neighbourhood will also host a new night market this summer in partnership with Ancoats pop-up markets.
It officially opens its doors next week from Thursday 9 June.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Police warn criminals ‘don’t bother’ attending Parklife after already making arrest
Greater Manchester Police have said that criminals shouldn’t ‘bother’ coming to Parklife festival this weekend, after already making an arrest at the festival site.
Officers have been carrying out searches of people arriving on site this week – and have already arrested a 24-year-old man.
A quantity of pills and a knife were both recovered from the man, who has been arrested on suspicion of possession of Class A drugs and possession of a bladed article.
After the arrest, Superintendent Phil Spurgeon issued a statement to criminals, saying ‘don’t bother coming to Parklife’.
He said: “We have a really robust police and partnership community safety operation for the festival, and the arrest and seizure yesterday demonstrates the vigilance of security staff, our thorough search procedures and our commitment to keeping people safe.
“Make no mistake, illegal items such as weapons and drugs can have fatal consequences. Our top priority this weekend is keeping people safe, and anyone caught trying to take such items into the festival will be robustly dealt with.
“I hope the genuine festival-goers are excited for the fantastic weekend ahead and I am confident the majority will enjoy the event responsibly and safely.”
Greater Manchester Police and Parklife security staff will be working closely together to intercept anyone travelling to the festival with criminal intentions.
The arrest on 8 June was thanks to the festival’s drug detection dogs.
In a formal statement addressing the situation, the city‘s flagship further education institution says some of its systems have been accessed by an “unauthorised party” and that data has “likely been copied” as a result of this.
The University’s in-house experts are said to be “working around the clock” to resolve the issue.
External support teams are also said to be working in collaboration with the University to understand what data has been accessed.
Patrick Hackett – Registrar, Secretary, and Chief Operating Officer at the University of Manchester – explained in a statement issued this morning: “Regrettably, I have to share with you the news that the University is the victim of a cyber incident, [as] it has been confirmed that some of our systems have been accessed by an unauthorised party and data have likely been copied.
“Our in-house experts and established expert external support are working around the clock to resolve this incident, and we are working to understand what data has been accessed”.
Mr Hackett said he understands the nature of the issue will “cause concern to members of our community”, and says the University is “very sorry for this”.
The University says it is also working with relevant authorities – including the Information Commissioner’s Office, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), the National Crime Agency, and other regulatory bodies – to resolve the issue, and will provide information to those affected as soon as they are able to.
Students and staff are also be told to be vigilant to any suspicious phishing emails within the coming days – with the University’s IT Services team having published some relevant advice to refer to.