Visiting any city is always better when you know a local. I wouldn’t have tried fermented snake whisky without the guidance of a native Beijinger, or had ridiculously good Thai food in Sydney if it wasn’t for the help of a local Bondi friend. And it’s not just abroad that I look for recommendations; wherever I go I like to know where residents prefer to eat and drink.
One of my best friends lives in Manchester, and my boyfriend grew up just outside the city, so I’m pretty familiar with it. I can find my way reasonably easily and I have roamed the shops of the Northern Quarter many time. I bought my favourite weekend bag from a vintage store there and the record stores can absorb me for hours at a time, but my most recent visit was a fleeting one so my friend led me to a place for lunch on Edge Street.
Home Sweet Home looks like a mix between an American diner and your nan’s house. Next to the burgers and shakes sit the huge slabs of cake, all being watched over by the cat prints and art deco lampshades. The menu is summed up as ‘comfort food’, but we’re not talking about shepherd’s pie or sausage and mash. It’s more deep fried stuff, eggs of all sorts and big ol’ breakfasts. I went for the Waffle Fried Chicken which really is as obscene as it sounds: two homemade waffles, fried chicken, crispy bacon and maple syrup. Whoever doubts that maple syrup doesn’t work on savoury food is WRONG. The waffles are pretty thin, so it’s not as overwhelming as you originally might think, but I still couldn’t finish it all. Although that might have been because of the Nutella Toasted Marshmallow milkshake I had to go with it…I don’t regret a thing.
Falling deep into a food coma, we made the very sensible and distinctly British decision to find somewhere to have a cup of tea. We tried Teacup (the tea shop owned by Mr Scruff), but the queue was out of the door so we kept wandering and ended up in Oklahoma. Predominantly a shop, Oklahoma also has a tiny tea space at the back where you can start planning everything you want in the shop, mainly the AMAZING version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland I spotted with gold leaf pages and neon pink cover. Places always seem to be on a mission to find a new way of serving tea, and I love how they did it here. The enamel cup and pot for one was cute, but it was inspired to provide a timer so I knew when my leaves were properly brewed.
I must make time to properly visit Manchester soon. If you know somewhere I should head for lunch next time I’m up north, please do share!
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