Manchester Challenge: Discovering Cool Places To Eat in Manchester

August 17, 2019

Fountain of Travel New and Cool Places to Eat in Manchester Mash Tun Bar Area Cover

It’s no secret that I love to try new food and eat (and drink) my way around Manchester. So imagine my excitement when Hotels.com proposed a collaboration that basically involved me discovering new and cool places to eat and drink in Manchester! For those who aren’t familiar with Hotels.com (they’re pretty well-known…) they offer some pretty fab serviced apartments in Manchester. They also show loads of guest reviews, so it’s easier to pick a great place to stay.

For this collaboration, I basically received spending money from Hotels.com and aimed to visit restaurants and bars that have opened (or expanded) in the last 12 months. To be honest, finding cool places to eat in Manchester is a pretty straightforward task. I tried some great places and hopefully you’ll feel inspired to book a trip to Manchester for the food alone!

The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own.

New and Cool Places To Eat and Drink in Manchester

Frankie’s Toasties

Fountain of Travel New and Cool Places to Eat in Manchester Frankies Toasties Dog Logo

Address: 98 Portland St, Manchester M1 4GX

I was once digging into my lunch at work when the following conversation happened:

Coworker: “Why aren’t you eating a toastie?”

Me: “Ehm……pardon?”

Coworker: “Yeah, you always eat toasties….”

Me: “Uhm yeah….I guess”

Turns out I’m the office toastie girl. Cool with me. Anyway, my point is that I love a good toastie and therefore, the natural first stop of my Manchester Challenge was Frankie’s Toasties. Thankfully, they fit my 12 month criteria as they opened October 2018 (phew!). Frankie’s Toasties is a small restaurant/takeaway that only does toasties (my kinda place) and they have some pretty wacky flavours. Or what do you think about toasties filled with instant noodles, jelly and peanut butter or beef burgers? They also have an awesome dog logo (can’t really go wrong with a dog logo).

Fountain of Travel New and Cool Places to Eat in Manchester Frankies Calzone Toastie

I’m normally a cheese and ham kinda gal but in the name of research I ventured out (a little bit) and ordered a Calzone Pepperoni Toastie. This is pretty much a pizza in a toastie with a cheddar and mozzarella cheese mix, pepperoni, oregano and pizza sauce. And yeap, you should try it. The cheese blend in particular is DIVINE and oozes (can’t decide if that sounds like a good or bad thing….) out of the toastie in a highly seductive way. All this cheesey goodness can be yours for a mere £4.25. Deal.

Fountain of Travel Manchester Frankies Toasties Counter
Learn Mancunian slang at Frankie’s Toasties

I also don’t seem to be the only one who appreciates a good toastie. The place was busy throughout my stay and also featured a steady stream of delivery drivers picking up orders. I’ll be back for my cheese and ham (or maybe bacon if I’m feeling particularly adventurous).

Wilson’s Social

Address: 42-44 Oldham St, Manchester M4 1LE

Record label owner and presenter (etc.) Tony Wilson is quite the Manchester legend and new rebrand Wilson’s Social is named after him. The site was originally The Patron (I’ve previously written about my love for their Sunday roast gravy) but the building has been taken over by global brand Selina. Selina own boutique hostels and next door they are opening a hostel in Hatter Hostel’s former premises whilst the basement of Wilson’s Social will be a club. However, I was here for the food (and a cocktail).

Fountain of Travel Manchester Wilsons Social DJ Area and Mural
Cheeky paper roll storage.

To be honest, not much seemed to have changed from The Patron, but the place was only a few weeks old when I visited. The menu is split into small and large plates with some Middle Eastern references. Personally I like to get a small plate and a side to try more dishes. The roasted sweet potato remains from The Patron’s menu and is still a solid side dish.

Fountain of Travel New and Cool Places to Eat in Manchester Wilsons Social Sweet Potato and Halloumi

For my small plate I opted for pan fried halloumi with whipped avocado and curried slaw. It was nice enough, especially when teamed with the sweet potato. I think the whipped avocado would have taken over too much if it wasn’t mixed back with the sweet potato though.

Fountain of Travel New and Cool Places to Eat in Manchester Wilsons Social Selina Banana Bread

For dessert I ordered the Selina banana bread. I’d seen pictures of it on Instagram (find so much good food through Instagram) but nothing could prepare me for the pure size of this portion. There were three massive slabs of banana bread (very tasty banana bread) staring at me from the plate. And they had friends (a scoop of ice cream, syrup and blueberries). I’m usually not one to struggle with dessert but even I had to admit defeat. If you’re going, maybe just do a banana bread brunch instead.

Fountain of Travel New Places in Manchester Wilsons Social Restaurant Area

Finally, I love a cocktail. If they weren’t so expensive I’d have it every night out. Turns out Wilson’s Social does £5 cocktails and in my excitement I forgot to take a picture, so you’ll have to take my word for it. I had a lovely Hedgerow Spritz with elderflower cordial, a frozen blackberry and prosecco. Yummy.

Alvarium

Fountain of Travel Manchester Alvarium Bar Area

Address: 8 Dorsey Street, Manchester, M4 1LU

What do you get if you combine bees, a flower wall and a love seat? Well, one of Manchester’s newest bars / cafés; Alvarium. They have an interesting mix of cakes to die for (make sure you split a slice between two people cause they’re massive) and cocktails to swoon over.

Fountain of Travel Manchester Alvarium Flower Wall

The space is beautiful but, more importantly, also cozy. The flower wall is a nice (very Instagrammable) touch whilst the stone wall makes it look more rustic. Without trying to sound too much like an interior design magazine, in short, I like it. It’s perfect for a girls night out; you can consume a salted caramel cake slice of Brontosaurus proportions and have pre-drinks at the same time.

Fountain of Travel New and Cool Places to Eat in Manchester Alvarium Strawberry Sour

I tried the Strawberry Sour (I always go for cocktails with the word sour in the title) and it’s nice. However, I’ve seen pictures of the blue Lost in Thyme cocktail and it looks pretty intriguing so will have to try that next.

Mash Tun

Fountain of Travel Manchester Mash Tun Interior Design

Address: 55 King St, Manchester M2 4LQ

Mash Tun describe themselves as a gastro pub and sure, I guess that’s fine. What that doesn’t really convey though, is just how Mancunian this place actually is. First of all, their main food item is mix-and-match sausage and mash (that sort of rhymes). How much more Northern can you get?

Fountain of Travel New and Cool Places to Eat in Manchester Mash Tun Live Music

If that wasn’t enough, they also have an open mic every Wednesday plus comedy nights on Tuesdays. So you can basically have the most Northern of meals with live music in a city famous for music. Fair play Mash Tun.

Fountain of Travel New and Cool Places to Eat in Manchester Mash Tun Sausage Mash and Gravy

I went on a Wednesday and had a great sausage and mash meal (pork / cranberry sausages, 3 cheese mash and wild mushroom gravy) for just £12.50 whilst listening to Lennie from the band White Moon. Mash Tun also specialise in craft beer and have 24 taps on rotation so you can’t really walk away disappointed.

Mash Tun is hidden away in a courtyard off King Street, but this new Manchester restaurant is well worth seeking out. If only for that brilliant sausage, mash and gravy.

Hatch

Fountain of Travel Manchester Hatch Sign

Address: Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED

If you ever travel down Oxford Road, you’ll eventually come across Hatch; a cluster of containers huddled together under the Mancunian Way. The space started small with a handful of bright containers containing a couple of shops, a beer place and an espresso bar. This year, however, Hatch went through a significant expansion and is now a hub of activity. You’ll find independent retail shops, plenty of food stalls that change on a regular basis, bars, a stage, a bus, creative working spaces and a beer lounge.

Fountain of Travel New and Cool Places to Eat in Manchester Hatch Courtyard

In addition to the food (and don’t worry, we’ll talk about the food) Hatch organises loads of events; from movie screenings and comedy nights to Etsy pop up markets and supper clubs. All in all, it’s the place to be in Manchester at the moment.

Fountain of Travel New and Cool Places to Eat in Manchester Hatch Hanoi 75

On to the food! As mentioned, the food units change on a regular basis so hopefully you’ll find something new with each visit. Hanoi 75 is the most iconic, serving up Vietnamese food from a blue doubledecker bus. However, there are plenty of small food stalls and container units to choose from.

Fountain of Travel New and Cool Places to Eat in Manchester Hatch Oke Poke Rice Bowl

I went for Oké Poké, who also have an outlet in town. I was hoping to try their poké taco, but they weren’t available during my visit so I settled for a normal poké bowl with fresh fish and vegetables over rice. Tasty, as always, and the guy working was really friendly too. I also tried some quite underwhelming halloumi fries from The Kitchen. If you want to try The Kitchen, I’d go for something else on their menu.

Fountain of Travel Manchester Hatch The Ice Alchemists Process

Finally, I had ice cream rolls from The Ice Alchemists. The banana and toffee flavour was brilliant and it was so interesting to watch the rolls being made from scratch. I’d strongly recommend it.

Fountain of Travel Cool Places to Eat in Manchester Hatch The Ice Alchemists Ice Cream

If none of the these places take your fancy, there are also stalls selling Mediterranean flatbreads, falafel, chicken parmo, laksa curry, Greek street food, vegan junk food, deep fried chicken and more! You can top it all off with a cocktail from Eight and hang out under the fairylights until it gets dark. It doesn’t really get any better than this.

Fountain of Travel Manchester Hatch Artwork It All Comes From The Heart

And that’s it! I had a great time exploring Manchester (as always) and found some real gems (got a weak spot for that toastie). If you also want to explore cool places to eat in Manchester, then I suggest you book one of those serviced Manchester apartments and head to the city. If you want suggestions for other things to do whilst you’re here, check out my ultimate guide to Manchester!

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Fountain of Travel Manchester Challenge Exploring New and Cool Places To Eat in Manchester
More about Fountain of Travel

Fountain of Travel is where I share city guides and travel inspiration with other 9-5:ers. Expect plenty of city breaks focusing on food and culture. We might be part-time travellers by profession but that doesn't stop us from dreaming and travelling.

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