I grew up just around the corner from Manchester and it’s definitely where my love for trying new venues began. I lived in the city for a few years in my early twenties while I worked at Granada Studios on Coronation Street and various other shows, and although I’m in love with London, I think Manchester will always be home.
My last day on the Manchester cobbles before heading to the Big Smoke.
I became an unofficial auntie again last year when one of my best friends Jenny blessed us with gorgeous baby Zach and I absolutely love getting to see them when I’m up North. On my latest trip home to see the family, I stopped off in the city centre to get some face to face time with my favourite pair.
Having spent so much time in Manchester, I have lots of favourite spots – including Cloud 23, Epernay, Manchester House and The Liars Club (I could literally go on forever with these) but Jen and I settled on a lunch at Artisan Kitchen + Bar, situated in Spitalfields.
Artisan was one of my go-to places for a great Sunday lunch and cocktails when I was based in the city, and I went back on a weekend in Manchester with my boyfriend last year to make sure it was still up to scratch – it definitely was. We both had delicious roast chicken, served with loads of veg and the all-important Yorkshire pudding, and also sampled a few cocktails (my faves here are the French Martini and the Cherry & Coconut Sling, give them a try!) and huge amount of red wine. A pretty great afternoon!
Sunday Roast at Artisan
Aside from the roast though (and many cocktails, obv), I’ve not tried any of the other menus and I’ve heard mixed reviews, so was keen to give something different a try during my Manchester pit-stop.
On arrival, we were given the Express Lunch menu which genuinely seemed too good to be true (especially to somebody used to the prices at London venues). The deal is £9.95 for two courses and a soft drink, 1/2 beer or a small glass of wine – it was a no-brainer.
For starter, Jen and I both went for pan fried garlic mushroom salad with baby gem & chicory. It was a small portion, but just enough for a lunchtime starter and really good with a glass of Pinot Grigio! The dish included slices of Parmesan cheese, and I’m a firm believer that any meal containing cheese is a good one – this was no exception.
Pan fried garlic mushroom salad with baby gem & chicory (and a glass of PG, of course)
For my main course I opted for creamed leek, spinach & crusted baby potato hash. I was excited to see that it was served with a poached egg on top – an absolute winner for me because I can’t get enough of eggs, they are my favourite food ever. The dish included crispy onions and a helping of creme fraiche and rocket, all pairing brilliantly with the creamy hash to make sure it was absolutely delicious!
Creamed leek, spinach & crusted baby potato hash
I was spoilt for choice with the rest of the main courses including half a roast chicken, sea bream and steak – if I was still based in Manchester I’d be making weekly visits until I’d tried all of these! Jen went for the gnocchi and loved it.
Jen and I love a good night out since our uni days, and a couple of years ago we would definitely have moved onto after-lunch cocktails, but now Zach has joined the crew we went for choc chip frappes from the coffee menu instead. These were a nice sweet alternative to dessert, with plenty of cream and chocolate powder, but we were both slightly disappointed at the lack of any choc chips (weird) and a little too much ice.
Choc chip frappes
A special mention to Artisan on their toilet decor – I can’t comment on the men’s but they’ve done a great job for the ladies, creating the Bitchin’ Lounge with loads of space to make yourself look (more) beautiful, chat, or take that all important selfie. Fab for a night with the girls!
Photo opp in the Bitchin’ Lounge
We had a gorgeous time and for the price (I paid under £15 for the whole thing – including wine…..I was definitely not in London anymore) it’s 100% worth a visit if you find yourself in the Spitalfields area. I’ve heard reviews about a lack of atmosphere in Artisan and I can see where these comments come from – it’s a really big space with high ceilings so if it’s a bit emptier (which it can be at lunch time) the atmosphere isn’t always buzzing. However, it definitely livens up towards the evening as the cocktails start flowing.
Service was speedy and really friendly (what else would you expect in Manchester, really?) and the guys sorted us out with a high chair quickly so it’s definitely baby friendly if you’ve got little humans to take along – Zach was pretty pleased!
OMG I just LOVE him
Perfect for: speedy but tasty lunches in the city, Sunday roasts, a cocktail filled meet with friends.
If you’re based in Manchester or just visiting, find Artisan at The Avenue, 18-22 Bridge St, Manchester M3 3BZ.