When you live in a city, with so much choice on offer, it can be easy to overlook things and places. I’ve lived in Manchester for 3 years now (I still absolutely adore it) and I am sometimes baffled as to why I haven’t yet heard of or tried out a local favourite or spot that I see people – both residents and tourists – rave about.
You have to take hype with a pinch of salt, and while there are places where the novelty factor soon wears off, there are others which stand the test of time and offer a genuinely enjoyable experience. Along with the food and drink offerings, I’m talking other important elements like atmosphere, decor, service and the cost / portion size ratio. Many may know how much I adore Evelyn’s in the Northern Quarter (it still sits at the top of the list), but I’m still happy to try new places; variety is the spice of life.
Which brings me onto specialist coffee house, Pot Kettle Black, which has recently expanded its premises in Barton Arcade just off Deansgate, so quite a prime yet nicely hidden away location. I was kindly invited by Jam PR to review the newly-launched brunch menu following PKB’s recent expansion and refurbishment in early June. Owned by two rugby players, Jon Wilkin and Mark Flanagan, I was keen to see what healthy influences would feature alongside other favourites.
My fellow blogger girly Chyaz and I arrived early lunchtime to try out the new menu, which has been given a new lease of life thanks to the new chef’s culinary travels – you’ll see things like N’Duja baked eggs with smoked mozzarella and pecorino, olive & rosemary toast, while chia pudding and an exotic coconut porridge with chia spiced fruit also make an appearance which is good to see from a health point of view.
Avocado on toast has become so hipster it hurts, but it’s refreshing to see that although PKB feature it alongside poached eggs, citrus, basil and chilli on toasted sourdough toast, it doesn’t dominate the menu. Other options include cinnamon French toast with hazelnut butter, maple syrup and vanilla mascarpone for the indulgent sweet tooth, plus many more interesting but still traditional egg offerings. Basically, there’s something for all sweet and savoury needs.
Food and coffee ordered, we soaked in the surroundings of the friendly and buzzing atmosphere. Like Evelyn’s, it has that similar hipster-without-being-pretentious vibe, one that instead is thriving and warm that immediately makes you feel welcomed. A beautiful interior contrasting between old and new, we picked a spot by the window within the stunning arcade to could watch the world go. PKB is definitely one of those places you’d come if you’re a freelancer or work out of the office – something I myself will be doing more of, I’m sure.
Along with new brunch items, smoothies, teas and indulgent cakes are on offer, plus of course their speciality grade coffee sourced from the Arabica plant variety, handpicked in coffee farms and only grown in microclimates. This is what gives their coffee so much substance and flavour, which is great to know if you’re a fan of the beverage – a big thumbs up from me!
Because it was nearly lunchtime, I ordered the Quinoa, Feta & Spinach Salad with Pomegranate and my gosh, it filled me up. A huge bowl of colour and goodness, they are generous with the servings and I almost struggled to finish it (that never happens). A mountain of perfectly cooked quinoa smothered in fresh parsley and spinach leaves, partnered with plenty of creamy feta and fresh pomegranate seeds certainly hit the spot. Not too oily, just the right amount of all the elements and an enjoyable balance of flavours – great work, PKB.
Meanwhile, Chyaz’s avocado option (mentioned above) “was ace, a 9/10”, and offered what can only be described as the best yolk porn as she cut into the perfectly poached eggs. Another win was the zestiness of the lime in the mashed avocado, which in my eyes is definitely a good thing. Finished off with a refreshing loose-leaf Peppermint & Liquorice tea, we left happy, full and already planning our next trip there.
I’ll just note here that thanks to the refurbishment works, there is a new express hatch for coffee and healthy breakfasts to go – so if you pass it on your commute, it may be worth stopping by!