Saturday, 2 August 2014

Fig and Sparrow - Manchester

The extremely stylish Fig and Sparrow logo lets passers-by know that hidden within is a 'Lifestyle Store and Coffee Bar' and just by taking a peek through the window past the people that are often eating and drinking at the front bench you can just make out lots of cutesy household goods along the walls.
It'd be remiss of me not to mention the "Lifestyle Store" itself despite not being the focus of this review as they offer a wide range of goodies including greetings cards, lots of kitchen kit (everything from teapots through to plates and bread bins), cushions, art prints and wrapping paper. It's clearly an extremely well curated collection, everything very tasteful and compliments the decor of the store itself. It's always a temptation to pick up a treat for the flat on the way out.
Tucked away at the back of the store past the shop section is one of my favourite spots for a quick lunch, it's a very peaceful Scandinavian inspired place to sit and hide away from the world. Picture old wooden tables (that are fixed to the floors for some reason - presumably to keep the spacing set) and stools, clear walls, everywhere free of clutter and a tasteful blue tiled area around the coffee counter.

The drinks menu is printed onto the wall large enough for even those with the worst of eyesight to see from the tables. The food menu seems to be fairly regularly rotated and hangs on clipboards for you to browse before ordering at the counter. As well as coffees, they offer a wide range of flavoured teas (inc Himalayan Darjeeling, Samovar Orange Spice, Marrakech Mint) as well as fresh and fizzy juice options.
The twist that Fig and Sparrow bring to their food offering is that wherever it's feasible the dishes or side are served within little glass jars (clearly it wouldn't be ideal for soup for example). Whilst not entirely unique to them, it's a great little idea which is certainly unique in the NQ and gives them an identity of their own. The jars are housed in a large glass fronted lit up cabinet on the counter that gives you a sneak preview of what to expect from your order.

On this occasion I went for the sourdough toast with peppered salmon and rocket, cream cheese. The little jar had more than enough cream cheese and salmon to fully cover both slices of toast which was positive to see. The bread was a high standard sourdough from Trove which is a sure sign of quality. The even better news is that the sell Trove loaves to take away, the fig and walnut being a particular highlight.
For dessert I ate the maple and pecan tart, which was a great take on the classic. Large enough for 5-6 mouthfuls and crammed with chopped pecans and a lovely rich maple syrup flavour. I had a black Americano to go with dessert and it was a pleasant mild blend, with decent flavour but not particularly strong.

In total I paid £9.25 for coffee, the smoked salmon main and the pecan tart. I hid away in the back, read a book for half an hour while I ate and as a result left completely unwound and ready for my afternoon and for that alone it's impossible not to recommend Fig and Sparrow. The sheer range of cafes within a 5 minute walk of the NQ is ever-growing and and it's getting more and more difficult to choose a favourite, Fig and Sparrow is definitely up there.
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