Monday, 26 March 2012

Home Sweet Home - Northern Quarter, Manchester

With a name like Home Sweet Home, any outlet will really conjure up certain connotations and expectations; a new(ish) eatery with this very moniker, on Edge Street in Manchester’s ‘artistic’ (read hip, bohemian, twee and overpriced for this statement) Northern Quarter, certainly lives up to this expectation.

A hodge podge of random chairs and tables are fitted into a cosy, light blue and flowery wallpapered space; which is dominated by a large wooden bar, atop of which are piles of enticingly irregular shaped, homemade cakes.

Home Sweet Home with thanks to themselves

Home Sweet Home is very Northern Quarter – the furniture is thrift store mismatched, the typeface on the menu a little Barnum circus circa 1954 and the clientele is the usual mix of fashionably under styled hipsters, vintage inspired 30-somethings and boys in unfashionable (read very fashionable) knitwear.

However; please do not take this as a chintzy, style over substance, Northern Quarter identikit churn out. Our experience at Home Sweet Home was brilliant; the staff friendly and helpful even whilst being rushed off their feet, the food good and actually an alright price for the area (not cheap, but cheaper than some of the other NQ chi chi venues) and they seem to have found their niche rather than following the same old diktat of flowery little cupcakes drowned in buttercream and glitter with funny, dead film star names (no I am not a fan).

Little bro chose the cheese and tomato toastie – what it lacked in tomato (there was only one large piece) it certainly made up in cheese; oozy, warm, full of cheese and a tasty retro treat that sparked a good twenty minute conversation on where our Mum’s toastie maker has gone to and if she would give it to us.

Beer and very full toasties - pinapple and pepper is HSH's trademark garnish,
I liked it a lot, the others thought it a little weird, nice touch I think

I waited a little while for mine, but I had already been warned that the homemade cookies take a full 15 minutes to bake, so I was well prepared (even if it was over 20 when I got them). Out popped my treat halfway through the bro’s food and I’m glad I waited for them. The cookies are made fresh to order, albeit they are the same chocolate chip cookies I can rustle up at home, but as t’boy says ‘it’s always nicer when someone else makes it for you.’ Served with a little glass of whole milk I had fun dipping my cookies in and felt very wholesome and content.

Homemade cookies and milk (it's full fat milk, the way it should be!)

Both treats were a little bit of homespun simplicity that took us back to our early 90s dining table, adding a comforting, calming and homely touch to the end of our day; so very Home Sweet Home indeed. This is a good place to stop from the chaos, sit down and let them take you back to an age where the most important thing in your life was if Stephanie next door would play Thundercats with you or not.

Ps – the coffee is also good here. Not as good as North Tea Power, but certainly a good strong espresso without too much of a bitter tang.

Pps – Home Sweet Home also do takeout, t’boy met us at the end of our family reminiscence and ordered the Cajun chicken with jalapeno and chorizo. It was pricey (£4.40! For a sandwich!), but wonderful – the most filled sandwich I have ever seen; bursting with a dry, smoky, good quality chorizo; a tender, moist mountain of spicy chicken, all followed up with a big jalapeno bang. Really worth it.

Take out sandwich - note the peppered pinapple added as garnish

Pps – Please don’t think I’m anti-Northern Quarter; it’s a unique place offering an alternative to the conforming blandness and corporate greed of the high street. There’s a varied mix of indie traders who really care about their customers and their individual needs. I’m just a little anti 'let’s all do the same food for an expensive price because we can get away with it and someone else sells cupcakes like hotcakes so we should do that too.' Oh, and I’m also very grumpy.

Price for one toastie (£3), homemade cookies with milk (£3), a sandwich (£4.40),
a beer (£3.80) and an espresso (£1.40) – £15.60

Food – 8/10
Atmosphere – 9/10 (even with the hipsters)
Service – 7/10
Value for money – 7/10

Total – 31/40

Go again? Definitely, I need to try out one of their monster looking milkshakes!

Home Sweet Home, Edge Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester M4 1HE –
0161 833 1248 – Twitter

Home Sweet Home on Urbanspoon

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