A boring guide to Manchester eateries by a bunch of boring people

MMU Library blog
Dec 10, 2019 · 5 min read

As a librarian I know that nothing makes librarians happier than food…except, maybe…books…and cats…. and probably corduroy, too. And although I could write a blog about the king of fabrics, I’m not sure it would appeal to our core audience (our cord audience would obviously lap it up).

So food it is, and because we are ideally situated amongst some of the finest purveyors of nosh here in the City, I took the opportunity to ask my well-fed colleagues about the places they eat. But before I reveal their suggestions just one little anecdote to whet your appetite:

Many moons ago I used to frequent a soft play centre with my son, not for the quality of the tunnelling or the length of the slides but for their home-made chips. Anyway, that soon changed after I got ‘wet’ socks in the ball pool.

On with the recommendations!

Pasta Factory — Shudehill (thanks to Helen)

My favourite restaurant is Pasta Factory on Shudehill. It’s seriously delicious and the staff are lovely. The first time I ate there my food arrived, I took a deep inhale and knew I never wanted this meal to end.

Sanskruti — Ladybarn /Fallowfield (thanks to Helen)

Incredible south Indian food — none of this street food bumpf. An exhaustive menu and, whatever you order, tastes amazing.

Stretford Foodhall — errr Stretford (thanks to Nic W)

Sister to the amazing Ancoats General Store, SFH features pop-up food traders selling a delectable variety of fare on a weekly rotation — pizza, churros, laksas, Indian, Thai and Malaysian street food, poutine, Koffee Pot brekkie and much, much more! — craft beers and local gins, gorgeous plants to buy and a fab convenience store area hawking all the basics, but also the greatest chocolate on earth, Tony’s ChocLonely and a MASSIVE selection of chilled drinks.

EatGOODY — Next to Sugden Sports Centre (thanks to Amy)

A hidden gem! They serve Korean food at lunch time. They describe themselves as a “no-frills canteen offering Korean bibimbap and dupbap plus bento-style boxes to eat in or take away”. It is budget-friendly and super tasty — I had soy chicken, roast potatoes and noodles for £4. They are open from 10:30 until 2:30, Tuesday to Friday and accepts cash only.

Hawksmoor — City Centre (thanks to Will)

With wild prices like £30 and above for a steak, you can become financially ruined after a visit to Hawksmoor. I enjoyed my steak with bone marrow gravy, which sounds very grim upon reflection. That said, no regrets, it was all stunning, and I hope to one day save up enough pennies to be able to return.

8th Day Café — Oxford Road — opposite All Saints Park (thanks to Jon)

If you’re after a quick, tasty, veggie meal — that’s as light as a feather on the wallet — then I’d recommend sampling the daal in the 8th Day Café. If you ask nicely you could end up with a variety of veg, included with the rice portion, and the daal packs a warming, tasty punch. Topped off with a free glass of water, the meal weighs in at under a fiver. Good, ethical tucker!

The Fish Hut — City Centre (thanks to Huw)

A good spot for fish and chips, plus all their edible relations, is The Fish Hut on Liverpool Rd. Good quality, reasonably priced food.

However, what makes this establishment so special is that once you’ve made your purchase you can consume it in the excellent pub next door — Cask.

Locally sourced real ale from the likes of Track, Squawk and, one of my all-time personal favourites, Pictish. (Note from the editor — I have looked up these names and they are all real.)

Grapefruit: Primo Coffee & Baked Goods — Sale (thanks to Rachel F)

My kids generally get a treat after school on a Friday and this used to involve a stampede to a chaotic Wilkinson’s sweet aisle along with the rest of the school. We now have a more serene trip to Grapefruit, which is a fairly new coffee shop at Sale tram stop. They have a range of delicious homemade cakes and my kids think their milkshakes are fab, too.

Bar San Juan — Chorlton (thanks to Paul E)

Fantastic authentic Spanish Tapas in what must be one of Manchester’s smallest restaurants (a former corner shop!). You can virtually never get a table unless you turn up at 5pm or 10.30pm but as their website says “Sangria — it makes you happy!”

Solita — Northern Quarter (thanks to Paul H)

It wouldn’t be a complete recommendation list without a mention of the Northern Quarter, Manchester's Beardy capital. Although the greatest burger I have ever consumed was actually at the original Almost Famous, Solita tops the mark for the quality and variety of their menu. The Big Manc (CAPITALISED) is the burger that you want the big mac (not capitalised) to be. Also, keep a look out for their legendary Christmas burger special.

Look at that size of that!— Solita’s 2019 Christmas burger, includes deep-fried sprouts, toasted chestnut pieces, 2 stuffing balls & a candied pig in blanket

Ambala Sweet Centre — Rusholme (thanks to Gopal)

Recommended eats: samosa chaat and/or Bhel Puri, with a few gulab jamuns as pudding.

It’s well tasty!

So there we have it, make sure you finish your plate or you won’t be getting any pudding. I hope you will be having less doner for your dinner and more kipper for your supper. Keep up the discussion via our twitter page @mmulibrary and if one Boring Librarian blog is not enough then check the others out below:

What boring Library folk get up to at the weekend

A boring guide to Manchester by a bunch of boring people

While we are all still here can I also recommend a book?

Leonard and Hungry Paul by Ronan Hession. You haven’t failed if you don’t conform to society’s norms — you have passed, exceptionally so. The norm is a pressure that is a burden on us all — to resist that pressure and to live a life that you are happy with is a gift — and so is this book.

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