After winning a Mercedes at a well-known bingo competition only for it to turn up and be a complete hunk of junk I've decided to never get excited about anything ever again in my life.
As a rather cynical 33-year-old man, getting excited and being impressed is something that I rarely do anyway, and add to that the fact that I’m British – my emotions are very rarely challenged by much.
Cottonopolis’ brunch though, well, there was a definite twinge of excitement and admiration when I went down last weekend to try their new range of dishes – hopefully something I can relay to you with words right now.
Let’s start with brunch. The whole brunch revolution has seemingly passed me by since it started a few years back; I’d personally much prefer a Bird’s Eye Potato Waffle based breakfast at around 9am on a weekend, shortly followed by two tins of Strongbow.
Everyone else who isn’t a disgusting tramp though has embraced the whole Brunch Revolution™ and subsequently, pretty much every establishment in the city offers it. I give it six months until Gregg’s start making Smashed Avo and Poached Egg pasties.
Cottonopolis though do like to do things differently, and this certainly shows with their new Brunch Menu. There’s the odd dish that you’d recognise such as Smoked Salmon and Scrambled Eggs on Sourdough but that’s it – the rest are all experimental, striking creations, giving brunch a welcome contemporary Japanese twist.
What am I going on about? Well let’s start off with the Duck & Eggs as an example (because that’s what we started with too). In what I would consider to be one of the greatest fry-ups I’ve ever eaten, it’s a Cottonopolis version of the Full English, complete with Duck Sausage, Duck Bacon, Confit Tomatoes and a Crispy Duck Egg perched on a slab of Sourdough.
I can’t really think of enough hyperbole to explain just how amazing this dish was – it was both a revelation in flavour but also surprisingly very familiar and homely. The Duck Bacon was thicker than the usual pork variation and had a sweet and smoky flavour with a subtle gamey taste. The sausages were crispy on the outside and lovely and juicy in the middle – as all sausages should be and the ‘Brown Sauce’ was a brilliant addition to what is a phenomenal dish.
Alongside the Duck & Eggs we tucked into some ‘Snacks’, namely the Quail Egg & Bacon Nigiri and the Cherry Tomato & Bacon Yakitori. Giving breakfast a distinct Japanese flavour, they were both excellent little dishes, perfect for dousing your palate before the bigger numbers come your way. In particular the Tomato & Bacon Yakitori were an explosion of flavours so good I could have eaten a million of them and still not got tired.
One dish that I think has passed the UK Brunch eating population by is Fried Chicken and Waffles. A staple among pretty much every US diner menu, it seems to be something that we’ve yet to embrace in the morning over here – leaving fried chicken for after the pub on a Friday night instead.
Cottonopolis’ Karaage Fried Chicken Waffles with Chilli Jam and Scrambled Eggs is therefore something that if I’m honest I wouldn’t usually order. But I did for 2 reasons. One was that I was pretty hungover and drinking the bottomless Bloody Mary’s that Cottonopolis were serving me put me in a serious chicken mood. Secondly, I wanted to give this often-overlooked dish a chance.
It didn’t disappoint. The chicken was coated in a tempura like batter that was light, crunchy and had a very unique, slightly spicy kick to it. Perched on top of some proper American waffles and drizzled in a brilliant Chilli Jam, this is something that you shouldn’t overlook when ordering.
If that isn’t enough, the Scrambled Eggs that came with the waffles were quite possibly the greatest I’ve ever tasted. They were phenomenal – both perfectly seasoned and creamier than an explosion in a Häagen-Dazs factory. They were worth the visit to Cottonopolis alone – they really were that good.
Finally, we opted for a cheeky sweet number, for anyone out there who enjoys sugar, spice and all things nice. There’s a decent selection of sweet dishes on offer but we plumped for the Morello Cherries on Brick Toast with Cherry Ice Cream, Yoghurt and Granola.
I think it’s safe to say that the trend for Brunch tends to focus mostly on the savoury but with dishes like this – the trend may change. The toast was done ‘French style’ and was crispy on the outside but oh-so soft in the middle. The cherries were “fucking delicious” and the whole thing came together in a cacophony of sweet and sour flavours in every mouthful.
Alongside our brunch we spent £15 to make our drinks bottomless. You can choose from Prosecco, Bloody Marys, Bellini’s and Mimosas, unlimited for 1.5 hours and I must say, the service was impeccable. Each time our server (Matt) was on-the-ball with the drinks – at no point were we thirsty and, on most occasions, there was a new drink ready before we’d even finished the last. Excellent.
Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 2pm
Cottonopolis, 16 Newton St, Manchester M1 2AE
0161 236 5144