I don’t know if it’s the change in the seasons that’s got us craving a little bit of comfort food, but this week’s list is especially indulgent.
From the naughty smash burgers that were one of Manchester’s most ordered takeaway items during lockdown (over 1,000 a day, thank you very much) to garlic bread burritos, candy floss ice rolls and the most beautiful hand-rolled Iberico croquettes, you might want to have a cheat week after reading this.
Keep scrolling to discover some of our top picks in the city this week.
The ‘best smash burgers in Manchester’ pop-up at Trof
Manchester burger institution Burgerism is popping up at Trof, serving up their famously good smash patties from the NQ kitchen for the next ten weeks every Monday and Tuesday from 4 to 10 pm.
There’ll be four of the brand’s signature burgers on the menu: ‘beefed,’ ‘cheesed,’ ‘veggied,’ and ‘baconed’, served with optional cajun fries on the side and a choice of dips like ranch, blue cheese and buffalo alongside BBQ ranch, BBQ and ketchup.
Make sure to get down for one – 1,000 orders a day during lockdown don’t lie.
Find them at 8 Thomas St, Greater, Manchester M4 1EU.
Bocadillos and top-tier croquettes on King Street
Whilst the September sun still lasts, now is the perfect time to bob on over to King Street to sample the tapas at Tast.
The swanky Catalonian eatery is split across three floors, each offering a distinctly unique experience. Down in the bar though, it’s all about big jugs of sangria and classic tapas dishes done very well – plus a few surprises, like their dunkin’ donuts (a mixture of white chocolate, foie gras and raspberry).
Think bocadillos, patatas bravas, blistered padron peppers, and hand-rolled ham croquettes (apparently they sell around 2,000 croquettes a month here), plus big boards of cheese, charcuterie – and an amazing dish of duck egg, crispy squid and potato that blew our minds.
Pull up, order a drink or two. and try and wangle a seat with a view of the passers-by for a perfect afternoon of people watching. Perfection.
Find them at 20-22 King St, Manchester M2 6AG.
Garlic bread and pizza burritos at American Pies
If it’s a carb-fest you’re after, look no further than American Pies. We didn’t think that the deep-dish pizza brand could be any more of a guilty pleasure, but they’ve really gone and done it this time.
Serving up their own take on garlic bread and pizza burritos, this is the ultimate cheat day scran if ever we saw it.
Find it at unit 1, 58 W Mosley St, Manchester M2 3HZ.
Candy floss ice rolls at Zizos Gelato
If you’re looking for a sweet fix this week, there’s a trader on the square at the Great Northern Warehouse selling delicious pots of ice rolls loaded with sweeties, chocolates and sauce that will have you covered.
Think big candy balls of floss, bright pink flying saucers filled with tangy sherbert and multi-coloured sweet and sticky sauces – all served in neat little pots to make your treat easy to enjoy on the move.
It’s not just ice rolls, either. You’ll also find some seriously indulgent bubble waffles and ‘thick’ ice cream shakes here. Be advised, the winter menu is also on its way too – and we see that Biscoff bubble waffles are likely to be on it.
Find it at 223 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 4QB.
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.