Spring has sprung and with it comes new life. Baby birds crack open their shells and emerge bleary eyed into nests stuffed with diligently collected washing line fluff. Green shoots start to unfurl from the ever damp Manchester soil. And all around us, fledgling coffee shops, bakeries, and pubs take their first shaky steps in the suburbs. Even in these uncertain (and worrying) times for hospitality, there’s one thing you can rely on, and that’s plucky newcomers wading into the Manchester dining scene month after month. Sure as the seasons change, so does Manchester.
Here’s our April round up of new restaurants, bars and cafe openings in Manchester.
I like big butties and I cannot lie. But then, why would you lie about a thing like that? Anyway, AFTI (A Fine Thing Indeed) in Didsbury is a new opening that does nice big butties. Think crisp tuna-stuffed toasties on sourdough, opened topped caprese bruschettas crowned with a burrata that flops like a soft belly released from the stranglehold of tightly zipped jeans, and mustardy, towering Reubens on massive cobs spiked with a spear of gherkin. Importantly, for Didsbury it also has brunch and dog-friendliness covered.
741 Wilmslow Rd, Didsbury, Manchester M20 6RN
Freight Island – new traders
Manchester’s massive, festival-style booze and food venture is back after a long break and is welcoming some much loved new indie traders. Mia’s Arepas will be stuffing more meat, beans and avocado than you thought possible into a soft cornmeal pocket, slow and low is the tempo for new BBQ spot Smoking Coal which will make pigs (and lambs and cows) smoke before wrapping them up in flatbreads or draping on top of poutine, Patel’s Pies is combining two of the best things in the world of food: curry and pastry, and Lazy Tony’s Lasagneria will be bringing the slabs. There are new Indian food, sushi, gyros and cheesecake on a stick vendors too.
11 Baring St, Manchester M1 2PZ
Altrincham already has more than its fair share of lovely places to eat and is at least partly responsible for Greater Manchester’s food hall addiction so some might say that the town bagging another bakery is a tad greedy. But can you ever really have too many places to get an indecently buttery croissant and a loaf of sourdough the size of a minor Emirate? Gail’s is a London brand that started out many moons ago as a ‘bread factory’ providing top ranking chefs with classy carbs. It then developed a people facing neighbourhood bakery brand so the common people could get a look in. Now, it’s moving North for the first time. Already open in Wilmslow and due to open in the city centre imminently, the Altrincham branch opened towards the end of March so stick it on your April shopping list.
5-7 Shaw’s Rd, Altrincham WA14 1QU
Hatch – Pukht and Crumbled
Hatch already announced a new tenant in the form of Great British Menu botherer Caroline Martins Brazilian-Mexican street food venture last month and now there are more hatchlings to chick out. Just when you thought you’d completed all the possibilities that burgers have to offer, Indian and Pakistani pop up Pukht shimmies in with a butter chicken burger and a chapli kebab burger. If that’s not fusion enough for you, there are also tandoori gyros on the menu – and we know how much you love a gyro. For a sweet finish, Crumbled has also moved in with its fruit crumbles (think apple, rhubarb and ginger, or peach and prosecco) topped with things like edible glitter and pink toasted marshmallows.
103 Oxford Rd, Manchester M1 7ED
Home Contemporary Chinese
If you love your hot pot spicy, your dumplings freshly made on site, and your cheung fun bright pink, but you want all this in a modern setting with impeccable service, Jason Wu’s Home Contemporary Chinese might be the kind of slick operation you’re looking for. This one had its soft opening on the corner of Richmond Street and Chorlton Street, a stone’s throw away from KAMPUS late in March. Read our interview and run around the menu here.
16 Chorlton St., Manchester M1 3HW
Opens 19 April
If you’re a fan of Deliverooing your lunch, you might have already jumped on the Honi Poke bandwagon, but the successful London brand is now opening a real life store on St Ann Street in Manchester and we’ve been told that 19 April is the date they are aiming for. LA-via-Hawaii style bowls of fresh veggies and fresh fish full of zingy flavour. But it’s not just Victoria Beckham style raw fish and salad fodder, you can top your bowl with pulled pork or falafel or add a bag of togarashi fries. Or just scrap the salad and grab a katsu chicken or Quorn curry with rice.
1 St. Ann Street, Manchester, M2 7LR
Opening end of April
You wait ages for a nonna and then three come along at once, one in Prestwich, one at Deansgate Square and now one in Stalybridge. But no amount of Italian nans is too many if you’re a fan of Italian home cooking (and three’s definitely better than none-a). Stalybridge is adding to its growing modern dining scene with this new Italian bar and deli, hot on the heels of Sicilian spot Giuseppes that opened in March. Hopefully it won’t result in a knitting needle duel on the banks of the River Tame. The main focus here will be on Italian pastries, cakes, panini, and platters but the plan is to host regular Taste Of Italy evenings every couple of weeks on a Thursday with different menus every month.
9 Armentieres Square, Stalybridge, SK15 2BR
When something comes from the same team as Gooey, it’s unlikely to go Onda the radar for long. This modern pasta bar comes from team Gooey in collaboration with chef Sam Astley Dean, the man behind Rise pizza who has also worked in at least four different Michelin star kitchens. Think familiar Italian flavours given the 2023 treatment from carbonara to lasagne to gnocchi but not necessarily as you know it (unless you’ve been to Padella). Whole egg yolks, cheese pulls that will have the influencers clawing to get past each other like leggings fanatics at a Adenola sample sale, and really, really good olive oil. Read more about Sam and Onda in our feature.
St George’s House, 56 Peter St, Manchester M2 3NQ
What a marvellous beast is a pelican, whose beak can hold more than its belly can. If your belly can hold plenty of beer (best not comment on the beak), this new opening in the Northern Quarter is for you. Pelican is a new bar from the brew crew at Squawk Brewing Co. It’s taken over the space formerly occupied by Beatnikz Republic adjacent to Idle Hands coffee shop on the corner of Tariff Street and Dale Street. The team has given the bar a bit of a new look, installed some cool art by local artists and is serving a good range of its own IPAs, pilsners and stouts as well as carefully selected guest beers.
35 Dale St, Manchester M1 2HF
Sampa @ Blossom Street Social
Trying to keep up with Brazilian chef Caroline Martins is like trying to keep up with Bruno Henrique. The diminutive molecular gastronomist has been zipping around all over the city lately. After a short stint at Exhibition with her Sao Paulo Project, Caroline has returned to her spiritual home of Ancoats. She is back within the walls of wine at Blossom Street Social with her latest project Sampa – named after the local name for her home city Sao Paulo. We checked it out recently and found it to be a Goldilocks-esque happy medium between all the different things she’s done. The surrealist streak is still there in mushroom shaped cheese canapes, little terracotta pots of salad and brazil nut hummus, and a Banksy-themed dessert. But there is unpretentious comfort food too, in the form of Brazilian national dish fejoada topped with a great hunk of melting beef rib with incredible local cumari chillis on the side, retired dairy cow steak and chips with Brazilian condiments (try the okra oil), and a dessert of indecently sweet ‘milk jam’ stuffed churros.
51 Blossom St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AJ
Rusholme’s been welcoming a lot of new places to eat recently, including a great new Indian spot called Bardez that our ‘Suggested By You’ crew went to check out recently. Over the road from Bardez is a new gaff called Seaworld Restaurant opening in the former Musicana space. In absence of further details, Team Finest has been speculating on the menu. Will it be serving twice cooked dolphin? Loaded orca fries? Crispy seahorse? Hopefully not, that might just finish Attenborough off and then it’s only a matter of time until the apocalypse comes. We’ve heard it’s actually a Dubai brand that is bringing its glitzy seafood restaurant to the curry mile – so probably more like Jimmy’s Killer Prawns then.
Wilmslow Rd, Manchester M14 5TP
The Wishing Well
Opens 1 April
It’s not often a new pub comes along, but one has just opened its doors in Didsbury. The Wishing Well has moved into the building that used to be The Botanist, revamping it as a modern pub with a menu of classics like fish and chips, steak pie with mash and ham, egg and chips. Co-Owner Youssef Loutfi.- the man behind Brickhouse Social in town – has added big screen TVs to show major sporting events (these are hidden away when not in use) and has plans to put on live music in the not too distant future. The family friendly venue also welcomes dogs.
1D School Lane, Didsbury , M20 6RD