If you live in Manchester and haven’t heard the hype around Hatch Manchester yet, then I’m not sure where you’ve been. But not to worry – you’ve heard about it now – and by the end of this blog post I’m sure you’ll be more than ready to give it a visit.
I’ll start by saying that obviously I’m a huge foodie in Manchester. Not only is it my job as a Manchester lifestyle journalist and reviewer (and blogger too of course!) to check out all the latest food launches in the city, I genuinely obsess over street food and the more unique eateries.
From time to time, I love a good chain restaurant or cafe/coffee shop, mainly for convenience. You pretty much know what you’re going to get. But it’s the independent, family-ran, small business style food curators in Manchester I love discovering the most.
Are you the same? If so, welcome to Hatch MCR…
Hatch is located under the Mancunian Way on Oxford Road, perfectly located for those who work around that end of the city, study at the universities, or attend gigs around the Academy end of Manchester. The main aim of Hatch is to bring the undiscovered, new foodie brands to our lives… independent, passionate food curators who have a unique offering.
The food retail outlets all sit next to each other and create a courtyard style space outside, with heaters and covers for when it gets rainy (well, it is Manchester).
It’s lit up and features different seating areas, and a bar serving allllll the beers and ales you like. Very ‘London’ and very ‘Shoreditch’ I have to admit, which popped into my head upon my arrival.
It was refreshing to Manchester take on this ‘pop-up’ culture, delivering unheard of food retailers to a space where everyone can browse the menus (and other peoples food) at their own leisure, and decide which stall they want to pick their meal from.
On my particular visit – and I say ‘particular visit’ because the beauty of HATCH is that food retails will switch it up so their is constant newness – there were a number of street food pop-ups to pick from. The first was one I’d seen a lot of hype around on Twitter, Holy Crab. They specialise in sustainable seafood snacks, made into deep fried cheese and crab balls, chipotle crayfish brioche buns, seafood salads and pretty much all the tasty food you can create from crab, crayfish and a range of different fish.
My sister came with me to check out Hatch, and opted for the infamous fried cheesy crab balls with a dip. 6 large delights were displayed in the takeout box with the most delicious dip (I totally can’t remember the name of the sauce but it was incredible), and honestly, they were DIVINE!
The staff at Holy Crab came to find my sister (who was sat with me in the beer/bar pop-up called OL Nano Brewery & Bar, supping away at our ‘Raspberry Shake’ beers – more on them shortly) to deliver the food, as we were too chicken to sit outside in the cool breeze.
During this time, I’d been scoping out which food retailer I was going to pick from. I had the choice of Yadda Yadda, Well Hung, and FireBird Hope – three meaty options for me to consider.
In a nutshell, Well Hung kitchen serves an affordable and quality range of lunches and dinners centred around classic steaks and dripping chips with a chimichurri sauce, or eat-on-the-go style steak sandwiches, wraps, bun concoctions. Yadda Yadda is born out of a glorious take over at Electrik in Chorlton, and now pops up at Hatch.
Expect hand crafted flatbread kebabs, slow cooked meats and vegan treats.
The one I decided to go with though – after a tough decision – was FireBird Hope. There was just something about its fried chicken thigh offering, served on a sourdough bun with koji mayo, green slaw and fast pickles that called me over.
Again, the staff brought the paper bag over to us, and I tucked into it’s contents super quickly because I could literally just smell warm, delicious chicken!
The chicken thigh was fried and came surrounded in a crispy crumb, and the chicken inside was soft and tasty. The sourdough bread had a fresh crisp outer but super dough taste in the middle, and the koji mayo, green slaw and little pickles really finished it off.
It actually took me a good while to get through it. The portion was a generous size, and it certainly filled me up. But if it didn’t, I would have headed to Well Hung and indulged in their loaded fries. Maybe next time!
Both my chicken thigh meal and my sister’s crab delight cost £6 each, and our Raspberry Shake beers came in at £4 a pop. When you know it’s high quality food cooked to a great standard, you don’t mind paying these prices – which are actually more than reasonable for the incredible meat dishes.
Fantastic ambience and vibes around the Hatch square – just a laid back, open-air, relaxed place to come for delicious, undiscovered food and drink…
I won’t waffle on any longer, but I want to finish this review by saying that Hatch is literally what Manchester has been missing recently: good quality, independently ran food by people passionate about they produce. A relaxed vibe, decent prices, and a real foodie experience.
Hatch – you’re Manchester’s hidden gem for sure.