Evelyn’s Cafe Bar – Manchester

“I love the Northern Quarter bars in Manchester. Don’t get to them often enough. Evelyn’s Cafe Bar pushes the food boundaries a little further with a varied and flavourful menu”

Finally decide to make the effort. Its 5.30 another office shift complete. I trudged through torrential rain to meet my younger ‘bruv’ Chris. Evelyn’s boasts an understated frontage. Its several minutes of frantic texting before said relative shuffles up the stairs to doff his cap and shed his protective shell. The standard NQ, uppercase, terracotta signage and light door manifestation is all that stands between the public and the delights within.

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Still once in it’s a fine space. Only a handful of punters were in, and we settled for a naturally lit table near the window. I perched on a trendy grey sofa looking outwards to survey the scene. Quality light oak tables, each sporting natty chequered napkins in readiness. The ‘de riguer ‘ Northern Quarter exposed brick and bare metal lighting brackets are all in place. Its smart enough, great for a casual dine. The space is dominated by the sky blue exposed kitchen which juts into frame.

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We both settled in to a small bottle of Runaway pale ale (thick end of a fiver) and run through the grey on white menu. It’s an eclectic mix of small plates, sandwiches, large plates all laced with spice, herbs, pulses, grains and beans. Chris points out that his other half would love here as she is a ‘veggie’.

The prices are all prescribed in ‘pointage’ terms. Everything is something point 5 or point 9. We assume they are in pounds!

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We select the smashed avocado with pickled chilli and crackers (£4) and Korean chicken with roasted chilli (£6.50) to start. By hokey the chicken had a kick! A lime dressing tried to keep the flames down, but not much. The ratio of crumb to chicken was a bit higher than I would have liked but all in all, a decent start. 

For mains I went for the crab and shrimp burger with basil aioli, chilli, fennel and chips (£14). I was swayed by the word crab, always a tempter for me. In truth I probably played a bit too safe. The ‘burger’ was basically a deep fried crab and shrimp paste patty. Very nice, decent chips but perhaps not what I had in mind. Our kid was far more adventurous and went for seared mackerel with chilli, mint, vegetables and black rice (£14.50). The mackerel was nicely charred, the black rice a revelation and all set over a pleasant slick of green mint sauce. I think he won that one.

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Smashed avocado, korean chicken, mackerel, crab & prawn burger 

I won dessert though! Get this, a lime, avocado and honey cheesecake (£5.90 or 5.9). Set on a flap jack base it was an acquired taste, but nevertheless a taste that I did acquire by about the third fork full. Sprinkled with pistachio it was a fine end. The young relative swayed by figs, went figs, chocolate and rosewater ice cream (5.5). I perhaps should point out my brother is a prodigious talent in the world of wolfing down food. I did manage to taste a small forkful before it quickly went south. Very nice I recall.

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Runaway pale ale, figs, chocolate, rose water ice cream, lime, avocado, honey cheesecake!

All in the bill chipped in at just short of seventy quid or 69.8. Bit hefty for a casual tea, but twenty of that went on the excellent Runaway beers. Evelyn’s is the latest addition to the empire being constructed by the local food entrepreneurs who own the Mughli(s) (reviewed here) and The Railway Cafe in Alderley Edge (reviewed here). All three for me offer a completely unique dining experience. Full of different flavours, some hit, some miss but all beautifully delivered in smart surrounds. Give them all a go.

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Evelyn’s Cafe Bar
G18 — SMITHFIELD BUILDING
TIB ST,
MANCHESTER
M4 1NB
09:00 – 23:00 MON – SUN
HELLO@EVELYNSCAFEBAR.COM
T 0161 834 3303

http://www.evelynscafebar.com

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The Broad Chare – Newcastle Upon Tyne

“If you’re ever in Newcastle you’ll do a lot worse than nip in here for tea!”

Whilst touring the North East as part of my day job I was left searching for somewhere to stay. A quick flirt into booking.com soon had me ensconced in a rather dreary, corporate box called Jurys Inn. However, it suffers from a rather sensational location overlooking the magnificent Tyne, a stones throw from their version of The Millennium Bridge. Despite being a Monday night, a quick ‘reccy’ soon had me peering into the windows of the local eateries. I knew ‘House of Tides’ was close by, but knew it would be shut. Twitter, soon had me tapping into the wonderful ‘Broad Chare’.

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Its stationed yards from the aforementioned River Tyne in an old ‘warehousey’, shipping type building. Looks rather wonderful actually. I stepped in past the ‘Michelin’ approved stickers. Unlike most gastropubs of late Mr Farrow and Mr Ball have struggled to impact this particular gaff, as indeed have the deliberately mismatched fabric emporiums. This is strictly ‘vinylette’ flooring territory in standard colours. its wonderfully basic. A well stocked bar to the right beckons. A magnificent selection of cask ales soon has the eyes on stalks. A pale pint of local ‘Writers Block’ was ordered up.

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I then instructed my genial host to pull back a chair and settle me in for a slap up feed on a table for one. “Certainly Sir, we should have one in an hour”. An hour! on a monday night!. I settled downstairs with some local magazines. Thankfully, some twenty minutes later, a wonderful table, upstairs by a window was dutifully prepared. I surveyed the stark, paper table mat/menu. Super, pub grubby type stuff with some interesting twists at decent prices. All was well. A specials board highlighted to some more seasonal offerings with a slightly weightier price tag. I stuck to the standard offer (as work was paying!)

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Starters had me quaffing some glorious nuggets of monkfish cheeks, dredged in a spicy crumb with a homemade tartar sauce alongside. All piping hot and a bargain at £3.75.

For a main I went for the bubble and squeak with two glorious duck eggs and homemade HP sauce for just a tenner. Two big, fat, fried, squat rings of ‘taters’ and greens smothered by two fried eggs, all set on a slurry of piquant, brown sauce. It was glorious. Truly hit the spot.

To finish I went for almond rice pudding with sour cherries at £5.50. A hefty bowl of dreamy, creamy goodness with the added bonus of an almond crunch matched with the sweetness of cherry. Another storming dish.

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Rarely have I enjoyed three courses together as much as this and all washed down by a decent pint in a thoroughly convivial atmosphere. Service matched the pleasure of the eating. All in for £25. Cant say fairer than that.

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I was informed next day by a local that its all the brainchild of local restauranteur/chef Terry Leybourne who has a few other outfits in the town. Sounds as though Newcastle is rather fortunate. Along with Kenny Atkinson round the corner at House of Tides It seems it has its all its eating places well sorted. Ill have to get up here more often…

The Broad Chare

25 Broad Chare

Newcastle Upon Tyne

NE1 3DQ

0191 211 2144

http://www.thebroadchare.co.uk