TRAVELNOISE: Evelyn’s Cafe Bar, Manchester
Evelyn’s Cafe Bar has whipped up quite a storm since opening its doors to the northern public, the young restaurant and large fig tree have already been named one of the best places to eat Sunday lunch, by the Manchester Evening News and they’ve been shortlisted for four awards in the Manchester Food and Drink Festival Awards, 2016. Not a bad start eh!
It’s nestled inside Manchester’s hippest area, the Northern Quarter, a place where occasionally it can be hard to stand out in the crowd, with an abundance of places and menus more fashionable than David Beckham’s wardrobe. All the latest food fads have been showcased here, veg is spiralized, cocktails are steamed and watermelon is cooked with cheese. It’s a far cry from Coronation Street even though I had spotted the Tib Street Tavern where I would be watching the Euros after ‘me tea’.
Stepping inside, you could easily think you’ve somehow taken a wrong turn on the M60 and found yourself in the plant section of the local Ikea. The greenery and vegetation, overhanging pots and wall mountings create a fantastic urban hipster jungle, laptops and roasted coffee to boot. The wooden tables against the duck egg blue tiles is a sweet combination; the place looks damn good.
It’s lunch time and it’s heaving, barely a table top free and the open kitchen, echoing the city’s industrial roots, adds to the atmosphere. Open from dusk till dawn with three different menus the place must sit a fair few Mancunians.
The menu is engaging, its variety refreshing and exciting, Asian-inspired, with vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options. The dishes are balanced and healthy without being pretentious. (Which I hate). Finding it difficult to choose from the luscious starters, a platter of Smashed Avocado with pickled chilli and crackers (£4), Korean Fried Chicken (£6) and the Crispy Fried Courgette with Harissa Hummus (£5.50) arrived at the table. The batter was light and crispy and the flavours had a perfect nudge of spice rather than a full blown kick. Evelyn’s could definitely benefit from a touch more space and the plans to continue the refurbishment since a couple or two had been turned down regrettably at the door, while my dining partner and I cleaned our plates.
I’d clocked the Tagliatelle (£12) with hazelnuts for main and wow, what a combination, the nutty flavour with the strong parmesan and soft tomatoes was just glorious and went down pretty easily. The alternative dish on the table of Chicken Skewers, Peanuts and Soba Noodles (£13.50) was equally as strong.
To bang on about The Chocolate Tart (£5.50) for dessert, singing Evelyn’s praises once again maybe a little boring but the rich dessert, with cherries and cream was another dish that I personally, could not fault. Like the rest of the food I’d tasted that lunch time, it was modestly well presented, attractive without looking like they’d resuscitated Pablo Picasso and had him chained up in the kitchen to arrange the food himself.
It’s safe to say I’m mad for this place, the staff know their stuff and our Dutch waitress was incredibly friendly. It’s definitely what this part of town needed and can’t be accused of being ‘just another restaurant’, making its mark in Manchester pretty damn quickly.