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
Burgerism is opening a fifth location in Denton
Legendary Manc burger joint and takeaway Burgerism is opening another brand new location in Denton as they continue to expand their Greater Manchester empire.
Set to be their fifth brick-and-mortar site, including their existing venues in Salford, Gatley, the delivery-only kitchen in Manchester city centre and the pop-up in Freight Island, the new Tameside venue sees them reach further across the region after first launching back in 2018.
Sharing the news last week, the smash-burger experts have revealed will be bringing their signature patties, wings, fries and homemade dips to Denton‘s Stockport Road.
Popping up in place of the former Pizza Hut delivery store, the latest location is due to open in mid-March this year. Absolute scenes.
Soon to cover customers living in Denton, Hyde, Stalybridge and beyond, people can rock up to the new adjoined car park space to pick up and collect with ease, and lord knows we love a drive-thru.
To tell the truth, they’ve earned so many accolades in the six years since opening that we’ve lost track, having also been named the eighth most-ordered item on Deliveroo in the UK and the single most-ordered burger in Manchester for 2021. They even scored a collab with the one and only Hawksmoor.
They genuinely might be the best burgers in Greater Manchester.
It still remains the most popular item on Deliveroo in Manchester and this newest venue serves as yet more proof that Burgerism is one if not the best in the game and they are set to make their first moves into Liverpool at the popular Blackstock Market too.
The company’s founder, Mark Murphy, commented: “Burgerism brings restaurant quality smashed burgers straight into people’s homes. Our dream is to be the UK’s go-to delivery burger across the UK, like Domino’s is to pizza. And Denton represents the next piece of the puzzle to do that.
“We’re super excited to launch in the North East of Manchester area. Right from day one, we’ve had loads of die-hard Burgerism fans making the pilgrimage around the M60 to Salford and, while we’ve admired their commitment, we felt it was time to bring Burgerism closer to more of our friends and fans.”
We can’t wait for yet another excuse to try the FreeBird and the Wholly Double only in Tameside.
Tram upgrades and track replacements to take place across Greater Manchester this summer
Upgrades to trams and several track replacements are set to take place across Greater Manchester this summer.
It comes after it was announced last week that an extra £21.4 million investment funding is being ploughed into the Metrolink network over the next 12 months in a bid to “improve” it and ensure that services remain as “safe and reliable” as possible for years to come, according to Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).
The improvement works were approved by the Bee Network committee last Thursday (22 February).
According to TfGM, the work is part of a planned £147 million package to “maintain, upgrade, and improve” the network throughout the region up to 2027.
Immediate priorities for this summer include track replacement in several parts of the city centre, including Piccadilly Gardens and London Road, and on parts of the Altrincham, and Bury Lines too – which transport bosses claim will mean “quicker, smoother, and more reliable” journeys for passengers using these services.
Plans also include a programme of modifications to the trams themselves, and the installing of state-of-the-art safety systems – including sensors in the middle of double trams, and speed warning devices.
Tram upgrades and track replacements are set to take place across Greater Manchester this summer / Credit: TfGM
New electrical substations are being added along parts of the Bury Line too to additional power so that more doubles trams run in future.
Metrolink is also replacing much of the communications network that’s said to be “critical” to the operation of its signalling and control systems, and is also looking into the replacement of overhead lines on some of the older parts of the network too.
Although the long-term benefits of the works to passengers are expected to be significant, TfGM has conceded that the improvement works set to take place this summer will mean some short-term disruption – but says this is planned to “minimise inconvenience to passengers”.
Vital information about service changes and replacement bus services will be available well in advance of the work, it has been confirmed.
Works are part of a planned £147m improvement package for the Metrolink network / Credit: Mangopear Creative (via Unsplash)
“Metrolink is an integral part of the Bee Network,” explained Danny Vaughan, who is TfGM’s Head of Metrolink, as the plans were announced last week, “And it’s really important that we invest in it so that we can continue to provide a safe, reliable, and positive experience for the thousands of people who travel with us every day.
“This is a coordinated package of planned works to maintain, renew, and improve the network and help to keep Greater Manchester moving.
“While we understand any disruption can be frustrating, we’ll be doing everything we can to keep it to a minimum, and we will make sure passengers know what’s happening well in advance, so I’d ask people to please bear with us while the works are carried out, as the benefits will be there to be enjoyed for years to come.”
For full details of all tram improvement works planned for this year, you’ll want to head to TfGM and the Bee Network website here.