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Manchester Arndale Food Hall: Southern Eleven

Sam, Mark and Alex go on the search for filthy food and find enthusiastic alternative: Sam Jones tells the story

Published on September 24th 2010.

Manchester Arndale Food Hall: Southern Eleven

Last week Manchester Confidential received a delivery: a gang of new office desks.

The most enthusiastic man ever had swept us up into his sales pitch and delivered us to the counter where two of his colleagues were now staring at us, waiting for our order.

Unfortunately these brand spanking new desks were not correctly assembled. This meant that after persistent badgering from office manager Kaiser-Fuhrer Kelly Ormesher, a selection of office lackeys were forced to put their DIY hats on to help rebuild and re-arrange the office.

A couple of hours later and with the all the drilling, lifting and re-arranging done it was time to treat ourselves to some calories, so in the search of some dirty fast-food we headed to the home of the dirtiest quick-fix in town: the Arndale Food Court.

For those of you that have never been, the Food Court is essentially the Mecca of fast food – in the same way Mecca Bingo is the mecca of bingo. Representing the big guns of the guilty pleasure world there are McDonalds, KFC, Subway, Greggs and Pizza Hut, and for the really health conscious, there’s Spud-U-Like.

On the escalator the debate over whether a KFC or a McDonalds was more appropriate was already raging. But, as we reached the top, a spanner was thrown into the works. We were greeted by the most enthusiastic salesman in the history of salesmen.

“Excuse me, would you like to try a free sample”

Not ones to turn down free food we all duly obliged.

“That is the pork sandwich from Southern Eleven. We cook all our meats on site before marinating them in sauce for a day, then when you order you pick a different sauce as well. Do you want to try the beef sandwich?”

Again we all tucked into the free sample before being offered to try both the pork and beef again. Southern Eleven were so keen to have us try their food that we could have quite happily dined out on all the free samples they wanted to deal us.

However, it turned out this was all a clever ploy. As we all had been listening intently to the overly enthusiastic samples man, he had begun to walk towards the secluded corner in which Southern Eleven lies and now we were stood there as well, at the counter, with two men waiting to take our order.

This created an interesting moral dilemma. We were not only the only people in the queue but we were the only people on the side of the food court where Southern Eleven resides. The most enthusiastic man ever had swept us up into his sales pitch and delivered us to the counter where two of his colleagues were now staring at us, waiting for our order.

To turn around and walk over to one of the fast food behemoths like KFC or McDonalds would break hearts and cause potentially irreversible emotional damage to Mr Enthusiasm. The problem was, I hadn’t come to the food court for well cooked marinated meats, I had come to the food court for filth. I wanted a meal that would take minutes off my life.

Whilst I pondered on what to do, I missed my escape. Alex had declared that he didn’t like the idea of meat being marinated for a day and was now half way across the food court to KFC.

Mark however had decided to give Southern Eleven a bash and now being too confused to make a decision for myself, I decided to do so as well.

Southern Eleven’s selling point is that it deals in American style BBQ meats. You pick your meal from arrange of options such as the pork sandwich, beef sandwich and BBQ ribs and then similar to Nando’s, you choose how you want your sandwich to be marinated. You are then given a choice of sides and offered an array of add-ons.

By this point, through all the previous over-thinking, I had turned into a zombie and was agreeing to everything.

“Would you like a chicken sandwich as well?”


“Would you like a savoury muffin for an extra 50p?”


“Would you like any sauces for an extra 20p?”


“Which ones?”


When this kerfuffle was over, Alex re-joined us from KFC and we found somewhere to eat.

The food is essentially the middle ground between KFC and Nando’s or at least the chicken sandwich offering was. Whilst not being a tasty fat filled guilty pleasure like KFC, it was well on the way to Nando’s quality.

Southern Eleven is definitely worth a go. Despite only trying the samples, the pork and beef sandwiches did taste good and the chicken sandwich was a respectable quick fix, which did not lead to the unavoidable food coma that most other fast food outlets put you in after eating.

If you're a fan of BBQ meats or simply fancy a change Southern Eleven is worth a visit and if you do go it’s highly likely that you will be welcomed by some of the most enthusiastic staff you have ever met. We were surprised we didn’t come away with a bogus alarm system or new life insurance.

There’s only room to say one last thing.


Rating: 13/20
Breakdown: Breakdown not applicable really as...well...it’s just the Arndale Food Hall
Address: Manchester Arndale Food Hall
That big building
With all the shops
You know the one

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30 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

N BakerJuly 29th 2010.

I say yes

Trevor SpinksJuly 29th 2010.

This is very good, it's great to see Mancon reviewing somewhere a bit more popularist. Laughed I did. Said Yoda.

EARL OF DIDSBURYJuly 29th 2010.

try the pulled pork in a bun a southern u.s. speciality , delicious!

MadelaineJuly 29th 2010.

I like to pull pork as much as the next woman

NortherngeezerJuly 29th 2010.

I got 'accosted' at the top of the elevator last Friday and given that i wasnt really arsed wot i ate, i gave 'em a try. Not a place to go out of your way to visit but a definate alternative to the usual shyte served up in these parts. Madelaine, next time yer wanna pull sum pork, gissa ring eh ;-)

MadelaineJuly 29th 2010.

Can I marinate it first?

Justin JJuly 29th 2010.

This is very good. Very humorous. Like the address too Manchester Arndale Food Hall
That big building
With all the shops
You know the one

Mixed MetaphorJuly 29th 2010.

That young man in the mafia glasses worries me. He looks like he's from the future. I reckon he's one of those Terminator killing machines

JSJuly 29th 2010.

Tried it a few times and love it. Pulled pork with corn bread as a side = perfect!

ilove1984July 29th 2010.

I went for lunch today but they didn't do the chicken sandwiches which i was a bit disppointed about.

Mark JorgensenJuly 29th 2010.

I look like a demented muffin fiend in that picture.
It was a nice chicken sandwich though, even if we did get unwittingly hoodwinked.

advertorialJuly 29th 2010.

Good advertorial. Like the food at this place teh quality is great for the prices.

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 29th 2010.

This wasn't an advertorial it was Sam Jones trying to find somewhere to eat and then stumbling across Southern Eleven. That's why it has a rating.

NortherngeezerJuly 29th 2010.

Marinate away Madelaine, my preferance is for sumthing hot an spicy;-)

KFC any dayJuly 29th 2010.

Why are you using the companies photographs of the food rather than the usual candied images you normally take yourselves? I was pulled (npi) in by the hype, went a week after it opened and the food did not represent their pictures. Disappointed

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 29th 2010.

Because the visit was informal and the boys only had phone cameras

AnonymousJuly 29th 2010.

You should buy one for them, shouldn't money from Heros and Friends be used for this?

Jonathan Schofield - editorJuly 29th 2010.

Jeez. Read the review. They went along impromptu after making desks. They weren't 'doing a review', they're not even regular writers so why would they have a camera? However given the general excellence of Confidential staff they came back with an amusing and informative story. Night night

BillJuly 30th 2010.

Northerngeezer. Do you ever comment on anything without using the word 'shyte'? You always use it about food. Glad you're not on CDWM.

NortherngeezerJuly 30th 2010.

Bill - If u can find a rant that i've posted where the use of the word was inapropriate then fire away.

GordoJuly 30th 2010.

that'll be most of 'em then, Northern ;-)

BillJuly 30th 2010.

I agree with Gordo.

NortherngeezerJuly 30th 2010.

gordo - 2 words.............Piccys, and gravy..........need i say more??

Abe LincolnJuly 30th 2010.

Assuming Southern 11 is named after the eleven Confederate States in the US that fought the Civil War to prevent the abolition of slavery, is it surprising the staff are so enthusiastic? They're probably just happy they're allowed to go home at the end of a shift :-)

SamanthaAugust 6th 2010.

We went on the day England beat Slovenia, and I must say it was very nice indeed. I'm not big on "fast food", but the brisket and the macaroni cheese were very nice, and the staff very helpful when explaining to two slightly tipsy, ageing rockers what everything was. Even though we hadn't asked. :)

Does anyone use it?August 7th 2010.

When I read these comments I always picture the anonymous individual speaking. This helps me build a picture of the writer. With this in mind who the fuk says " and I must say" in any conversation nowadays?!

KarinaJanuary 25th 2011.

Southern 11 is named after the eleven southern states where BBQ food is their version of our roast dinner Abe Lincoln... there is definitely no racist agenda in the title...however thanks for veering towards being completely defamatory of the brand... might want to think twice before making statements about individuals/groups/businesses in a social forum...

AnonymousJanuary 25th 2011.

A place can be famous for more than one reason though Karina can't it?

Liverpool basically fed the slave trade for the entire world but people don't tend to blame modern scousers (who have their own problems anyway). It's probably worth the historical notation that the Southern11 states fought to keep slavery, but that they should be forgiven because they also brought us bbq sauce. (like the nazi's and economical cars)

RubytuesdaygirlJanuary 25th 2011.

Is Karina American BTW as she doesn't seem to 'get' the tongue-in-cheek-comment posted by Abe-Lincoln???

David DillonSeptember 16th 2011.

I'm going to their restaurant in Spinningfields tomorrow after hearing great reviews.... I've been craving some hickory smoked ribs for far too long!

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