It’s been a bit of a whirlwind since Marcus got back from Rio! Obviously we wanted to spend time with his family but he also had a ton of media things scheduled as well as friends and relatives wanting to see his medal and chat to him! One morning he did an #IAmTeamGB event on coronation street in Manchester so we decided to make the most of the opportunity to have a day exploring the food side of the city! I went to university there but I was much more quantity over quality back when it came to food back then and I haven’t really been back since. I think it’s changed a lot since I left and there were so many amazing cafes and coffee shops we wanted to visit!
As always, I got some lovely recommendations on Instagram but I’d already found a place I wanted to visit for brunch called Pot Kettle Black. It was inside an arcade-type area which I’d never been to before – I’m not sure if it was new or I’d just never noticed it before, as when I was at uni I was definitely far more interested in the all you can eat style buffets (Tai Wu, a Chinese buffet I used to frequent far, FAR too often has now shut down but I noticed Red Hot buffet is still going strong – I demolished a fair few kilos of food there during uni days!). Anyway, back to PKB. It’s an absolutely lovely cafe, with floor to ceiling glass windows and wooden benches and stools.
There’s a coffee area with a row of brownies lined up and pretty brown paper menus on clipboards. They had some daily specials too 🙂 You go up to the counter to order.. I’m not sure whether I’m a fan of the system or not. It’s nice not to be hassled if you take forever to decide (which I surprisingly didn’t for once!) but I do think table service can be nicer. They had a good range of items on the menu.. As much as I was drawn to the avocado toast as always I decided to opt for something different!
I decided on a very uncharacteristic scrambled tofu with mushrooms, ginger, chilli and sesame on toasted sourdough which was very unlike me. I think I was intrigued by the tofu as I’ve only ever had it in hard blocks before. Despite the Asian style it was really tasty.. And I’m obsessed with ginger too! Marcus got the shakshuka baked eggs with spiced tomato sauce, tahini and garlic yogurt. He ended up letting me have a rather generous helping of it.. It was absolutely delicious!! It was cheesy and tomatoey with chunks of egg scattered throughout, served with crusty sourdough for dipping and the most heavenly garlic yogurt which he let me have as he wasn’t a huge fan of (what a clown!). We also shared a Bircher muesli with cranberries, hazelnuts and grated Apple. It was perfect – not too sweet with a good range of textures and flavours from all of the additions! I don’t have food intolerances (except perhaps a mild dairy one..) so I’m not usually very aware of the options available to veggies/vegans etc but each dish was clearly labelled on their menu and they actually had a lot of free from choices! 🙂
We also got coffees of course – we got our usual flat whites, mine with soy milk as always (I can’t get over how deliciously nutty it tastes in coffee as I can’t stand the taste of it to drink alone!). Neither of us were huge fans of the coffee (it was Shoreditch grind style for any Londoners!) but we agreed that it would definitely appeal to a lot of people and wasn’t dissimilar to a lot of the coffee served up at independent coffee shops in London. Plus even though it wasn’t our preferred coffee flavour it was obviously still head and shoulders above the chains!
The staff were lovely and friendly and I’d definitely recommend it! One lovely instagrammer also mentioned Federal Cafe to me too which looks just like the Aussie brunch places we often visit in London so that’s on my list if I ever go back!
After brunch we began the hunt for cake! I had three places on my list which id been wanting to try for longer than I can remember and luckily all three happened to be in the Northern Quarter, only about 10 minutes walk away from Deansgate. We headed to Home Sweet Home first, as that was my last choice.
To be honest I would definitely recommend this to most people, as I know how much the majority of people love frosting, but I’m not a big fan of frosting at all and I’d much rather have a huge slab of cake with a little frosting than a five layer cake that is half frosting half cake! They had an incredible selection of brightly coloured cakes decorated in crazy colours and a huge array of toppings! If you go there be prepared for the inner child in you to want to eat the lot! Knowing I would enjoy other cakes more though, I just went for one of their bars – and how can you go wrong with cookie dough!? I definitely want to try and recreate a version of this – it was amazing! I got it to takeaway (and I ended up actually keeping it until the next day as I was lucky enough to be showered with a ridiculous number of treats for the rest of the day!) and it lasted absolutely fine 🙂
After that we peered through the window at teacup which was packed! The menu looked lovely but I didn’t get anything – another one to keep for next time 🙂 Then we headed to the one I was most excited about – Sugar Junction!
I’d seen photos on Instagram and it looked perfect for me – pretty cakes, a lovely interior and a great brunch menu too. There were four delicious looking cakes lined up on the counter and after much deliberation I went for the tasting platter with a pot of tea.
I was expecting three small slices so imagine my delight when three big slabs were placed in front of me on the table!! The inner fatty in me was so excited – I think my face lit up when the waitress came over! Each and every flavour was delicious. I chose white chocolate and raspberry, lemon and blueberry and carrot.
Surprisingly, lemon and blueberry was my favourite. I was expecting it to be my least favourite of the three but it was moist (sorry!), delicious and had the perfect amount of frosting, with a tangy lemon curd in the middle. The carrot cake was soft and perfectly spiced with a delicious cream cheese frosting, and it complimented the other two cakes perfectly. The frosting on the White chocolate raspberry cake was almost moussey and I wasn’t a huge fan, though the jam and buttercream in the middle were amazing and the cake itself was incredible.
The staff were lovely too and the whole place had a relaxing and rustic feel about it. It was definitely my personal favourite of the three though home sweet home had more of a wow factor 🙂
That night we had a lovely dinner at Miller and Carter steakhouse in Huddersfield.
I think there are quite a few around the country and for a chain I was so impressed – decent steak, very, very reasonable prices and incredible sides. A few of the desserts left a lot to be desired – avoid the chocolate brownie and the cookie sandwich (whigh I was particularly disappointed by!) – but the banoffee pie is an absolute winner 🙂