My home town! So of course, I have lots of different places for you here, so I separated my reviews into a few posts. The first has to be my healthier options for eating out in Manchester, which albeit there are not as many as London, with the opening of new protein based fast food restaurants and a handful of reliable vegan cafes it is stepping its game up.
Evelyn’s Cafe Bar
I had to start with this restaurant as it is possibly one of my favourite places to eat out in Manchester centre. This is mainly because it has the perfect mix of healthy and satisfying to all without, any pretentiousness or exclusion. The garden like interior is as aesthetically pleasing as being able to watch the Chef’s prepare all the food in the exposed kitchen area. Every visit I have endevoured to order something new and each time I have been more than impressed. My favourite dish so far is a toss up between the Chicken, brown rice, vegetables and egg or the masala sea bream with spiced chickpeas. I have also tried the seared mackerel which was tasty but not as filling as the other dishes; the vegan crispy tofu dish, the peanut chicken skewers with soba noodles and the breakfast porridge which was divine. On the meatier side my partner has tried the steak (which he claims to be one of the best hes eaten… and hes eaten ALOT of them…). He also had the lamb and quinoa and the burger. A highlight for me was that the chips were actually homemade chips, a small thing but shows the effort gone to with the menu. The service has always been of a high standard, with the staff recognizing us on each visit which is nice. The price is on the slightly higher scale for the portion size but for the quality it is definitely amazing value and I would strongly recommend this place.
Website – http://www.evelynscafebar.com/
Location – G18 — Smithfield Building Tib Street, Manchester, M4 1NB
Top left – Peanut Chicken and Soba Noodles (Front) Steak and Chips (Back) / Top Right – Figs, Rose Ice cream and chocolate crumb / Middle Left – Masala Seabream with spiced chickpeas / Middle Right – Matcha Crem Brulee / Bottom Left – Chicken, Rice, Egg and Veg (Left) Lamb and Quinoa (Right) / Bottom Right – Apple Crumble and Custard
Years ago when I was a student I worked at alchemist (restaurant not bar, so before you ask I cannot make the fancy smokey cocktails!), anyway, one day I had to cover a shift at artisan (all part of the living ventures group). The place was new and had so much potential but over the years has gone through quite a few menu tweaks; the new one is definitely my favorite – a nice mix of healthier options, such as a lovely and interesting salad selection, alongside lots of fish dishes and for the meat eaters some typical classics such as steak and a whole chicken. The salads were packed with flavour but although I enjoyed the sea bass I was not overwhelmed, the desserts however, made up for it. The honey, yoghurt mousse was light and divine but the lack of vegan desserts made it difficult on my previous visit – they were accommodating and I had raspberries and strawberries which were all I needed after the salads! The menu doesn’t explicitly state vegetarian or vegan but its quite self explanatory and the waiters are nice enough to help.
Top left – Spiced Nuts (Left) Crispy Kale (Right) / Top Right – Raw chopped/Pomegranate couscous/Summer Greens Salads (Front) Seared Tuna (Back) / Bottom Left – Paper Baked Seabass / Bottom Right – Pistachio Mirange (Left) Vanilla Honey Mouse (Right) / Below – Strawberries and Raspberries (Only Vegan Option)
Website – http://artisan.uk.com/
Location – Avenue North, 18-22 Bridge Street
Manchester, M3 3BZ
Firstly, I will admit that Trof is not known for being one of Manchester’s healthiest restaurants but the wide range of options on the menu allows to to appeal to all. Another bonus is the amount of non-boring vegan options and specials, which to be honest is quite rare in Manchester! I must admit each time that I have dined here I have consistently ordered the halloumi with brown rice (yes brown rice as standard…amazing!) aioli, pickled vegetables, relish and flatbread due to the simple fact it was one of the most delicious and none greasy meals that I have had in Manchester. However, since this is now off the menu I will need to broaden my horizons on my next visit… although there is so much choice I am sure I will be fine….
Service- 6/10 (ordered at the bar so not much to rate)
Website – http://trofnq.co.uk/
Location – 8 Thomas Street. Manchester. M4 1EU
Chop’d Salad Bar
After walking past this newly opened salad bar in Manchester during its construction (they already have lots of branches around London), I was lucky enough to be invited to a blogger event to sample their ingredients, find out about the business and even make my own salad! Their concept is quite refreshing for a fast food option; would they feed it to their children? if no, then why feed it to everyone else! They were honest to say that not all of their products are amazingly free range or organic but they are sourced from good providers, are real foods and after trying them I agree that the taste is amazing too! I was able to create a vegan salad of my choice; couscous, deli leaves, chickpeas, grated carrot, hummous, sweet potato pakoras with a sweet chilli and lemon oil dressing – sounds a lot but the flavours were amazing – cannot wait to return to create more combinations and I would definitely recommend. At first the price may seem steep- nearly £6 for a take away salad may seem a lot but once you see the size of it you will realise how worth the money it is! (can easily provide two meals- they do not skimp on the portions!).
Atmosphere- N.A (yet to visit when actually open)
Choice- 7/10 (mainly salad but does stews and soups too)
Service- N.A (but the people who hosted us were lovely)
Website – https://chopd.co.uk/
Location –68 Cross St, Manchester, M2 4JQ
Eighth Day Vegetarian Cafe
The Eigth Day shop is one of my favourite places to wander around on my lunch hour, it stocks all the weird and wonderful things that allow me to create healthy yet delicious recipes. Therefore, I was very excited to finally try the food in the downstairs cafe. However, I was slightly disappointed by the meal that I had ordered and the presentation made it even less appetizing. The cafe is quite dark and plain but the staff were lovely and friendly which made a warmer atmosphere. I worry I may be slightly hard on this place as overall the food was pleasant for the price and it is a co-operative en-devour, therefore I love what they are doing and the fact that they have so many vegan options. Overall, I would recommend this place for a quick lunch if you are in the area but I feel although the concept is amazing it has not reached its full potential…
Website – http://8thday.coop/
Location –111 Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 7DU
Simone’s – The Healthy Baker (Arndale food market)
As soon as I heard of this place opening it became top of my list (to visit and Instagram stalk)…However, many of you might be thinking…healthy cake?? really?? It almost seems like an oxymoron. Now we know raw vegan cheesecakes are becoming increasing popular (check my Cacao and ginger raw cheesecake recipe out) and baked vegan cakes are more widely available but most of these are slightly unhealthy or frankly bland. Simone’s has the perfect mix of healthy and delicious. The location and design of the shop may seem rather random in that environment ( like a flamingo in a pig sty… OK not so extreme but think chandeliers etc next to average stalls) but I think this gives it the edge and captures passer bys attention; not that it needs any more as it has been sold out early everyday! The service was lovely and I would a million times recommend this place to anyone who wants a sweet treat without consuming the terrible sugars, butters and additives than many high street cafe chains have to offer.
Website – N/A
Location – Arndale House, Market St, Manchester M4 3AQ
The Garden, Hale
Okay, firstly I must say.. I LOVE THIS PLACE. I don’t know whether its the actual food that has swayed me or the fact that the concept is amazing, everything I have ever ordered has been beautifully instagramable and knowing the fact that it is all good for me is an extended bonus. Lets be honest, the food is not cheap for the size but for its location and offerings I completely understand why. Do you really know what your spending a few pounds on at McDonalds and KFC?? The smoothies and juices are amazing and creative and the salads are inventive, yet not too risky. The cakes swayed it for me though – on my first visit I took a cacao cheesecake to go and instantly wished I had bought more. My second visit I shared a raw carrot cake and was equally impressed. Even my even fussier than me mother and extreme omnivore partner would recommend this place so if you are ever nearby (or like me are willing to drive for 40 minutes to get here…) please check it out.
Website – http://thegardenhale.co.uk/
Location –154 Ashley Road, Hale, WA15 9SA
I have been dying to try this vegetarian restaurant for months since I heard about it and I finally got the chance to visit. Tucked off the main Burton Road in Didsbury, this green (literally) restaurant with cute little outdoor seating is surprisingly large on the inside. The decor is pretty and there were ample amounts of waitresses ready to take our orders and keep us fed/watered. Although we were not drinking they had a lovely selection of mocktails and fresh juices and to start, we shared the deep fried oyster mushroom pancakes with plum sauce. This was really tasty and a reasonable size for a starter and prepared my palate for more vegetarian delights. The whole menu is vegetarian but boasts many vegan options too. My partner ordered the vegetable sausages with gravy and mash (for a meat eater this satisfied his omnivour lifestyle although there was no real meat in sight). I ordered the vegan aubergine dish; although the aubergine was not as spicy as the waitress warned me it may be it was somewhat pleasant, however the real show stopper of the dish was the rice; this had ample flavour and was extremely delicious. Although not advertised on the menu, they also offer a vegan dessert option so make sure you ask!
Website – http://www.greensdidsbury.co.uk/
Location – 41-43 Lapwing Ln, Manchester M20 2NT