VALUE FOR MONEY: 7.5/10
VENUE & ATMOSPHERE: 7.5/10
NOTE: ALL MEAT IS HALAL, NO PORK IS SERVED ON THE PREMISES, BUT ALCOHOL IS SERVED.
New Years Eve, celebrated by many, and forgotten by even more, (unless like me you’re Muslim and a loss of consciousness is never on the agenda). I have had some disasterous New Years
ShakerFries and I were on our annual trip to Manchester to welcome the new year, and we wanted to start the celebrations with a fantastic brunch which would top our usual visit to Moose Cafe. Several fellow Instagramers recommended Evelyn’s to me, which I remember coming across before during my search for ‘great brunch places in Manchester’. Apparently the entire menu is halal, and from what I could see it was quite popular amongst the Mancunian Muslamics. It was located in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, the more ‘hipster’ part of town known for its graffiti art and independent coffee shops. I was sold.
After paying a small fortune for parking, we crossed over to Evelyns, which, from the outside, seems like a tiny establishment, and one that you would usually walk past if you didn’t know it existed. The interior however, could only be described as a whimsical woodland, with it’s green interior and shabby sheik decor. It was 1pm and the restaurant was heaving, yet we were shown to one of the few remaining tables for two straight away.
The breakfast/brunch menu was short, spanning one side of A5 card. Despite this I felt a jot of excitement when reading the menu, as every dish listed sounded as appetizing as the next, each encompassing it’s own novel twist. For an adventurous foodie like myself I was both trapped in a nightmare and in food heaven! How would I choose just 1 dish?! ShakerFries’ expression couldn’t be more different to mine. ‘This menu is well posh for me.’ Queue my pretentious eye roll. ‘This menu is amazing’.
I already knew he was going to order the grilled bavette (flat iron flank steak), fried eggs, cherry tomatoes, and shoestring fries. We had both always wanted to sample steak and eggs for breakfast, so I was secretly happy as I could have in on this AND order something else. After much consideration I decided to opt for the toasted roll, Korean fried chicken, fried egg, chilli, and watercress.
It wasn’t just the food menu that was quirky and alternative. Even the coffee menu made me deviate from my usual obligatory morning cup of English breakfast tea. Instead I went for the white chocolate and sechuan spiced mocha. ShakerFries nearly ordered the ‘Golden Milk’ before realising that this was non other than an ‘old school Indian’ tumeric and milk drink, after which he switched to a cinnamon latte
The coffee and food arrived in quick succession. I loved the spicy Szechuan kick which came through the chocolate taste of the mocha. My only criticism is that for the price (£5), the cup was a little on the small side!
At first glance my Korean fried chicken and bun looked like a standard burger, but boy was I wrong. With one poke of the knife the brilliantly orange yolk from the fried egg oozed down the side of the seeded bun. I eventually gave up cutting and bit into this perfectly constructed burger. The fried chicken breast was thick and moist, and the batter was beautifully seasoned, crisp and peppery. What set this apart from your standard fried chicken burger, was the spicy oriental flavours from the Szechuan sauce. These flavours added a touch of novelty to the taste of the burger, which along with the fresh watercress, fried egg and lack of grease, made this combination seriously tantalising breakfast choice.
Onto ShakerFries’ steak and ‘shoestring’ fries combo. The thinly sliced steak arrived medium rare, so I had lovehearts in my eyes, but ShakerFries wasn’t as impressed, as he wasn’t asked how he wanted his steak done. The seasoning was simple (Salt and pepper) yet amazingly tasty, the exterior of the steak was crisp, and the interior meat tender and juicy. The cherry tomatoes were also plump and sweet, quite unlike any tomato I had tasted before. The most interesting tasting accompaniment to this meal were the shoestring fries, which were long, wafer thin strips of fried/baked potato. The seasoning was addictive, and the texture was foreign to my palette, somewhere between fries and crisps, but nonetheless we chomped our way through them!
The shocking thing was that even after consuming these dishes I was only just content… I definitely had room for more. It was then that I realised that the tables either side of us had a plate of pancakes to share. Obviously then I had to order a portion. The buttermilk pancakes took a while to arrive, but trust me, it was worth it. They looked a bit peculiar, each of the three pancakes looked plump and airy. The honeycomb butter was crunchy and sweet, and after some time just melted onto the pancake surface. Unlike your usual American pancakes, The interior of these pancakes were incredibly light and airy, and almost melted in your mouth. I later found out that these butter pancakes are baked briefly in the oven instead of being fried in a pan over the heat. The whole pancake and berry combo was mindblowing. Finally, ShakerFries and I agreed on something!
The bill came to £37, which is definitely a bit more than your average. The atmosphere isn’t for everyone, as it can get a little (too) cosy but I enjoyed the fact that it was busy. The service was great and the staff were incredibly friendly and welcoming. The food was of an excellent quality and was presented well. I really enjoyed this brunch and highly recommend visiting here if you’re ever in Manchester, especially if you’re the adventurous type who can appreciate quirky dishes.
Evelyn’s Cafe Bar
Address: G18 Tib St, Manchester M4
Phone: 0161 834 3303