Superstore in Manchester’s ‘trendy’ (beardy) N4 opened towards the end of 2013. Lovers of the area’s freethinking air and ‘Northern Quarterfication’ will appreciate its characteristic exposed stone and steel interior with moody lighting.
The name Superstore is perhaps in reference to the fact that before opening as a restaurant, the space was used as a ‘mini-market/grocers’, which still occupies the basement floor. (It may also be because the building was once home to the Affleck & Brown Department Store; once dubbed ‘Harrods of the North’.)
I’ve been a few times now, at different times of the day. There has always been a relaxed vibe – the sort of place that you could pop in for a quick sandwich (or ‘small plate’); enjoy a relaxed meal with friends or sit with your laptop/book whilst enjoying a coffee.
The menu features a selection of small plates – priced individually they range from £5 to £7 but can be ordered at a bargainous five dishes for £20.
I selected: the Tuna Ceviche with chilli & grapefruit; Curried chicken arancini with mint Raita; Panko coated pork cheek with parsnip puree & curried split peas; Hand-made black pudding with fried egg & turmeric aioli and Roast bone marrow with garlic & thyme.
I enjoyed all of these dishes and would happily order each again – the arancini were nicely spiced; the pig cheeks had a hearty combination of pleasing textures and flavours; the black pudding, egg and mayo was lush and comforting. For my taste, the only ‘niggles’ being a little too much chilli on the ceviche for the flavour of the tuna to come though and the heavy seasoning on the bone marrow.
At a later date I visited for the breakfast special of a Corn beef hash cake with pickled cucumber pappardelle & English mustard dressing – another well conceived and executed dish.
More recently, my wife, stepdaughter and I visited and enjoyed a couple of their sandwiches (£4.50 or £6.50 with chips and salad) and one of the ‘larger plates’.
My wife selected the Paneer fritter sandwich with balti sauce, shallots & coriander – the cubes of paneer had a good crisp crumb but it was her side of Root veg tempura crisps that really impressed; I’ll definitely be ordering these again on my next visit.
My stepdaughter went for the Roast chicken sandwich with streaky bacon, tomatoes, lettuce & lemon mayo – I didn't taste this but she certainly enjoyed it.
The ‘larger plates’ menu featured a keenly priced Hangar steak (£11), a Harissa rubbed lamb rump (£12) and a fab sounding Tempura battered cod with wasabi mushy peas & chilli tartare (£10) but I went for the veggie main of Charred cauliflower steaks, wild mushrooms & Szechuan pepper sauce. The Cauli steaks were nicely done – cooked through whilst retaining a little firmness with subtle spicing and charring. I had a side of Chargrilled chilli & mint courgettes (£3)
For dessert, we shared Moroccan pudding, toasted hazelnut & pistachio, rosewater syrup and a Spiced walnut chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream – I found the Moroccan pudding a little dense and heavy but we enjoyed the nuts and syrup; the brownie was deliciously moist.