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Bakerie Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield gets into a good mood in a fine new Northern Quarter addition

Written by . Published on January 10th 2012.


Bakerie Reviewed

BAKERIE feels right for the Northern Quarter. 

I like this place, it should do well. I'll be back. Manchester needs more of these sorts of venues, the type of funky little place you'd find in a cooler corner of Soho.

The place looks sharp as a pin, it has a smooth and intelligent atmosphere, it's the sort of place you want to sit down with a good glass of red and talk graphic design.  The wooden fixtures and fittings, a judicious use of exposed brickwork, those mellow tones on the wall all conspire to provide comfort. 

Bakerie 009

If you've been to the admirable Soup Kitchen round the corner then you'll have a notion of what this place is about. Only here there's more room to breathe.

The bread provides comfort as well. This is baked on the premises and whole-hearted. You feel virtuous just eating the hunks and chunks of wholemeal and grainy gob-stopping white. In fact you could save money here by just stuffing your face with the excellent bread. I look forward to sampling the sourdough soon.

The wine selection is cleverly chosen and comes with lots of pleasant organic surprises. I was with our wine guru Neil Sowerby and our food reviewer, Ruth Allan. Sowerby got excited about a Jean Busquet Argentinian Malbec Reserva (£25.95) that packed a punch at 14.9 per cent but was as smooth as a gaucho herding llamas over a snowfield. The fruit in the wine packed a punch too and had a lovely easy finish. We sunk a couple of bottles between us. Or was it three? That Allan can really knock it back.

Bakerie 015

Homely foods such as the rarebit and the wild mushroom fricassee were as good as the wine. The rarebit came on a bloomer and was a subtle but powerful combination of cheese run through with wholegrain mustard and leeks. The fricassee was a lush pile of mushrooms with cream and tarragon again on lovely thick bread. 

Bakerie 018

The mains we had were a shade under the quality of the above dishes. The Hungarian Goulash (£8.95) had a fine bread dumpling and decent herby stock but I prefer my goulash to be more of a stew than a soup. Good flavours but more beef and onions were needed, maybe some other lumps of veg as well.

The butternut stew (£8.45) went the other way and was almost too full of big rough cut butternut, peppers and potatoes. Sowerby found it bland, it grew on me. It was all a bit 8th Day worthy - if you know the veggie place on Oxford Road - but matched the ballsy character of the bread. 

A salad (£6.95) with Parma ham and potatoes for Ms R Allan had a similar feel and strength. We all dived in on that one. 

Bakerie 030

The rarebit's higher standards returned with the treacle pudding (£4.35). These can often be too heavy, tarmac on pastry, but here the treacle pudding was almost delicate, and came with a refined custard. 

Bakerie 033

Service from the amiable Antonio was spot on; lots of smiles but a desire to make sure we had a great time.

I'll be back to Bakerie. Manchester needs more of these sorts of venues, the type of funky little place you'd find in a cooler corner of Soho. It needs to bolster the goulash and the mains, give them more edge, but that aside it's an excellent addition to the city.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL. £1000 to the reader who can prove otherwise, and dismissal for the staff member who wrote a review scored out of twenty on a freebie from the restaurant.

Bakerie, 43-45 Lever Street, City, 0161 236 9014           

Rating: 15.5/20
Food: 7/10
Service: 4.5/5
Ambience: 4/5

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.

 

Bakerie 010

Bakerie 012

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

AnonymousJanuary 10th 2012.

"it's the sort of place you want to sit down with a good glass of red and talk graphic design" - haha, jesus christ

Hero
Swiss JamesJanuary 10th 2012.

Agree totally- it's an excellent addition to the area, for both food and wine.

tofu monsterJanuary 10th 2012.

i love bakerie - much friendlier and less pretentious than the graphic design comment makes it sound. i especially like the inclusiveness without compromising quality - as a vegan i am delighted i can find decent wine and food somewhere "normal" that everyone else i know can enjoy too. the platters are great value and super tasty and i am enjoying learning more about wine through practice! (and no, i dont work there just glad to find somewhere like this)

John OwensJanuary 10th 2012.

Been a few times now for lunch and dinner and been impressed, it's simple and not pretentious in the slightest and I'm a graphic designer who loves red wine ;)

Wall-EJanuary 10th 2012.

Looks ok. When can we expect a review of sole. Someone told me it is best food and service they've had in city centre.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Hero
Tanzir RashidJanuary 10th 2012.

it most definately was...
I went on saturday the food and service went hand in hand.

AnonymousJanuary 10th 2012.

Editor - please delete the nastyness above

1 Response: Reply To This...
Staff
Jonathan SchofieldJanuary 10th 2012.

It's done - Editorial

Jason BoardmanJanuary 10th 2012.

Brilliant for families, i could not fault the service or the food during a recent visit, very impressed and will be back.

pollolocoJanuary 10th 2012.

looks like a treacle tart to me........

AnonymousJanuary 10th 2012.

SOME CRACKIN LOOKIN KIDS IN THERE

LizzieDripsJanuary 11th 2012.

we wnt on saturday night and absolutely loved it the platters were amazing for the money. Atmosphere spot on and staff really accommodating. Only let down for the group were the warm main courses... hot pot (heinz condensed tomato soup) & goulash (too tomatoey) stick with sarnies and platters and you'll be fine

January 11th 2012.

Looking forward to trying this place out. Been thinking Manchester needs something like this for a while. More food dens that focus on the actually produce, the meal concept and not the quality of the surroundings. Good food at real prices that people can afford, not just once a month. You should be able to go out and have a good healthy, natural plate of food for £5 or £6 and not £16.95 or £23.95+ (for 1 piece of steak), scandalous, no wonder places are going under every day. There needs to relaxed rules on street food, stalls etc.

Kevin PeelJanuary 13th 2012.

I love this place. I'd have been more generous on the food scoring but I don't have as refined a palate as you Jonathan!

Stef MillsJanuary 16th 2012.

absolutely brilliant - excellent atmosphere, very good wine and I have also been for lunch which was lovely - i had the rarebit and couldn't fault it at all.

Hero
HowieJanuary 26th 2012.

Brought a granary and apricot loaf home last night. Absolutely divine. Apparently they will be opening a deli/ bakers outlet next root anytime soon. Fresh bread in the city centre.....at last

AnonymousMarch 20th 2012.

My last visit to this place was not great at all.

We ordered 2 winter fish salads and eventually only got 1 delivered to the table. After re-ordering another the salad was sat in front of the kitchen hatch for well over 10 mins. Once the fish had been cooked it then was left there for a few mins more until I got so frustrated I went to pick the food up myself. The only thing left to do was to add a few cherry tomatoes and this could have been done as the fish was added.

I don't normally get so frustrated that I go and pick up my own food in a restaurant. This was quite a first.

The cook was very apologetic and to their credit they knew there had been a massive balls up and knocked it off our bill.

The food was amazing though and that's why I'd go back there again, I just think the timing of delivering dishes needs to be improved.

One other thing which is worth pointing out is that on a Friday / Saturday if you are wanting food there be prepared for a lot of noise...

Dan O'tooleApril 23rd 2012.

Hats off for introducing gluten free bread to your menu. Along with your biodynamic wine options this place is worth a visit for those who struggle to find these options elsewhere. Please sort out the extraction though please. We have to dry clean our clothes after every visit.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Nathalie CrystalApril 23rd 2012.

You're always on Man Con Mr O'T! x

GoodfoodfolkApril 26th 2012.

I'd heard good things about Bakerie so went to visit this week. Staff are super friendly, decor and atmosphere just right (relaxed, elegant, understated - good for a romantic date or evening out with friends). The organic wine is to die for! So how sadly disappointing that the food missed the spot, on all counts.

They have 3 main vegan dishes - tofu salad, sweet potato stew and the "Bakerie board" (bread with 3 dishes/dips) - and a choice of vegetarian options, all of which sounded delicious. Plumped for the veggie board and my heart sank as soon as it was set down on the table. The salad was limp, it'd clearly been left in water and the dressing was non existent. Within 3 minutes it was turning soggy and brown. Three bean salad "with chilli and coriander" sat in a naked, watery sauce (tinned beans + water + sweet chiil sauce from the bottle) with no coriander flavour. The sweet waitress checked for me...yes, the coriander was in the sauce already (clearly it wasn't). She was kind enough to later bring me a small pot of dry herbs to mix in the salad. Not quite the same as a nice salad marinated in oils and flavours. Oh dear. Garlic mushrooms had an odd fishy taste (not garlic) and whilst the hummous was smooth, it was bland. The only saving grace was the generous helping of olive tapenade...and the basket of bread!

Bakerie is a lovely place, I really wanted to enjoy the whole experience, but how hard can it be to create some mouth watering little pots of veggie fooder to go with the great bread? You can't afford to get such simple things wrong, especially when hoping to trying to capture the veggie market in the Northern Quarter.

The main waiter was fantastic when I told him how I felt about the meal, he even took 10% discount off our bill, but it just isn't enough to lure me back for a second visit. Alas. Perhaps meat eaters fare better.

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