Monday, 4 March 2013

Manchester Quick Bites: SoLita, Kukoos, Oak St Café, Yuzu, North Tea Power and Fyg

This post features a small selection of lunchtime snacks and meals deals that I have enjoyed recently.

Please note, that by no means is this a comprehensive or balanced list of the many options available in the city centre at the moment. 

The cheapest lunch on my list can be enjoyed for just £3, rising to £7.95.

Best value for money: Kukoos by Zouk

Sample dishes: Lamb, Spinach & Humous Hot Wrap (£3) and Large Mixed Salad (£4.50)

Kukoos (next to Odd Bar on Oxford Road) is a casual café style concept from the Zouk Group (see here) serving Indian, Moroccan and Lebanese style street foods and snacks. Open daily from 10am to 10pm they serve tasty soups, wraps, dosas, falafels and alike.

Kukoos is next door to a Subway but at just £3 for one of their ‘Hot Wraps’ I’d choose Kukoss every time! The wraps are also available with Spicy Meatballs, Chicken Tikka or as a variety of veggie options.

Asking for a little bit of everything, my large mixed salad featured Tabbouleh, Quinoa, Spicy Chana Chaat and Indian Spiced Cauliflower that were all particularly enjoyable.

Kukoos on Urbanspoon

Best for a Chilled Relaxing Lunch: Fyg

Sample dish: ‘Posh’ Fish Finger Sandwich (£7.50)

Fyg is a Northern Quarter deli, wine shop, café and tearoom (opposite the Church St car park exit). It’s the type of place where you can sit and read the paper or do some work on your laptop.

I stopped by for a ‘Posh’ Fish Finger Sandwich made with salmon goujons in a lemon and parsley crumb, tartare sauce and deliciously fresh bread. The tea was decent too.  

Alongside a wide range of ‘Gourmet Sandwiches’ they also sell ‘artisan’ pies, sharing platters and cakes. What’s more, the deli has a good selection of quality products – I was especially impressed with the cheeses.

Fyg on Urbanspoon

Best for Taste: SoLiTa

Sample dish: Pulled Pork Toastie (£5.95)

It’s no secret that I’m one of SoLiTa’s biggest fans – so much so that they recently asked me to road test sample dishes from their new lunch menu!

I had test versions (pictures may vary from the finished products) of the Nduja Spiced Boston Baked Beans; their take on the Rueben; the NY ‘Marinara’ Meatball Sub and the Pulled Pork Toastie.

I suggested a few tweaks here and there and even came up with an idea of my own – the ‘KFBLT’ (that makes good use of the ‘Kentucky Fried Bacon’ that they use in their KFB Burger).

The best dish for me is the Pulled Pork Toastie – I know that if I was able to lunch at SoLiTa everyday, I’d soon pile on the pounds!

Solita Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Best for Veggies: Oak Street Café (Manchester Craft & Design Centre)

Sample dish: Mixed Salad (£4.95)

Housed in the Victorian building that was once a fish and poultry market, for those that don’t know, the Oak Street Café is one of the city’s hidden gems.

The café serves homemade soups, sandwiches, salads, cakes and alike (not all their dishes are veggie). To go with a lovely pot of Masala Chai, I ordered the Mixed Salad with Lemon & Herb Cous Cous and sweetly, spiced Indian Cauliflower.

Oak St. Cafe on Urbanspoon

Best for Tea and Coffee: North Tea Power

Sample dish: Ham & Cheese Croissant (£3.50)

Without a proper kitchen, the food selection at North Tea Power is limited but they do have a decent selection of cakes, sandwiches and soup. They also offer a wide selection of teas and some of the best coffee in Manchester.

The Ham & Cheese Croissant may not be the most exciting menu item I’ve covered here but at £3.50, it makes for a good light lunch and allows room for a cake too! 

North Tea Power on Urbanspoon

Best Healthy Option: Yuzu

Sample dishes: Tonkatsu (£7.95) and Organic Salmon Don (also £7.95)

Another of my favourite Manchester eateries, Yuzu is an authentic Japanese restaurant that offers an excellent lunch menu. The menu, which starts at £5.95, also includes Tempura Veg and Organic Teriyaki Salmon, which come with their fabulous rice and miso soup. Gyozas and Curry Udon are also excellent options.

Yuzu on Urbanspoon

All these venues and places featured offered swift, friendly service and are ones that I’d be happy to return to time and time again.

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