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Home Sweet Home Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield rides the wave of a happy Saturday

Written by . Published on July 2nd 2012.


Home Sweet Home Reviewed

MANCHESTER was all a-buzz on the weekend.

Happy throngs of expectant Stone Roses fans packed the streets creating an atmosphere crackling with energy. (Click here to read Saturday's Stone Roses gig review.)

Looking at the crowds I got thinking about how we need to engineer more gigs delivering over 200,000 fans across three days. Time for The Smiths to reform. It'd be for the civic good. Anybody got Morrissey's number? 

The milkshakes were the best I've had in years. Small child had a chocolate one and I had a strawberry one, and I yanked his out of his hand and drank it one gulp. Something like that. 

In the packed Northern Quarter men of a certain age shuffled between vintage shops sporting Madchester haircuts - if they hadn't already gone bald. 

One man in Home Sweet Home had a full Liam Gallagher mop and was all Manchestoh and see-yer-latoh and the Roses are gonna be fuckin' boss man. It was like he'd learnt the part for the weekend and was most days a braying accountant from Henley-on-Thames.

Homesweethome 024Home Sweet Home - colourful and charming

Home Sweet Home is a joy, and in truth Liam was a bit out of place. 

This re-invented tea shop cum bar is a bohemian bolt-hole for chichi artsy and designer types - or those who wish they were. The delightful bric-a-brac bias underlines this as does the junk shop wooden furniture. It's exactly right for the Northern Quarter and is everything the smooth, corporate bars of Spinningfields aren't. 

Sitting and watching the people come and go reveals as diverse a clientele as any in Manchester with locals, Americans, Japanese and Scandinavians oscillating by.  

Homesweethome 025Home Sweet Home - coffee

This being a packed, queue-at-the-door Saturday the service was floundering.

The person who sat us down said she'd be back for the order but didn't return, seconds ticked by, became minutes, so we took the initiative and called over some staff. They were all very sweet it must be said, although frazzled by the hectic pulse of the place. Some of them look as though they might always be a bit frazzled.

The food comes in heaps and is the very definition of one of those classic reviewer's cliches - wholesome. It lacks any finesse, but is enjoyable in its exuberance and laden with toasties, sandwiches, burgers, salads, platters, vaguely Americana/Tex-Mex mains and lush desserts. 

The pulled pork roll (£5.50) on a sort of brioche was moist, with lots of onion, peppers, and filled with a smokey bbq punch courtesy of the resident sauce. Much of the plate was filled with a decent fennel coleslaw - the latter a house signature.

Pulled porkPulled pork

The salad of bacon, black pudding and poached eggs (£5.50) was massive, a whole supermarket family sized bag of mixed leaves (although the kitchen had mixed it themselves) and a proper array of bite, snap and crunch. The eggs were runny and the bacon and black pudding added to the party. The mustard dressing was listed as 'heavy' but was sadly inconspicuous. 

The saladThe salad

A very good classic ham and cheese toastie (£4.25) satisfied one of the boys. The cheese is the key, a cunning mix of mozzarella and cheddar.

Beef chilli and toasties, the latter being gobbledBeef chilli and toasties, the latter being gobbled

A Tex-Mex style beef chilli (£7 large, £5.50 small) was pleasantly and not extravagantly hot with good mince and set off by a sour cream which gently soothed any chilli that attempted to be too aggressive. Again there was a fandango of leaves and coleslaw. 

A ginger syrup cake at £3 was light enough and moist enough while the milkshakes (all £3.50) were the best I've had in years.

Small child had a chocolate one and I had a strawberry one, and I yanked his out of his hand and drank it one gulp. Something like that. These are wonderfully intense milk shakes that bring a smile to the face like that of an expectant Stone Roses fan about to bask in the glory of John Squire's singing guitar.

In the people came and out they went, and all of them full and all of them grinning, some even red-cheeked from the wine and beers available. I got involved with a couple of Samuel Adams' bottles at £3.50 a pop. 

Our mate Liam Gallagher was round the corner talking to an acquaintance outside the Millstone pub, yeah, he said as we passed, the Roses are gonna be fuckin' boss. It was grand to be in Manchester on that weekend.

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY THE MAGAZINE. 

Home Sweet Home, Edge Street, City. M4 1HE. 0161 833 1248             

Rating: 14/20 (please read the scoring system in the box below)
Food: 6.5/10
Service: 3/5
Ambience: 4.5/5

PLEASE NOTE: 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.

CakelandCakeland

Interior bric-a-bracInterior bric-a-brac

Special theme nightsSpecial theme nights

Inside from outsideInside from outside

Sweet potato fries and dipSweet potato fries and dip

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

Nooooooo!July 2nd 2012.

This is so selfish...but I really didn't want MORE people to find out about this little gem of a place...! Dammit Jonathan!

In 5 visits in as many weeks, this has been consistently excellent both in food and service. Milkshakes are calorifically amazing, the coffee is superb.

(by the way...No I DON'T work there, i DON'T know the owners, nor do I live in the NQ or dress like a trendy/have a beard)

AnonymousJuly 2nd 2012.

It's amazing, and the staff are lovely. Quite perplexing that people are regularly queueing for Teacup when this is around the corner.
Better milkshakes at Oklahoma or Gorilla though.

1 Response: Reply To This...
MaggieJuly 3rd 2012.

Aha... so that explains why I didn't have to queue at Teacup this week!

DavidJuly 2nd 2012.

Home Sweet home seems to really care about its customers,and is more than generous in its serving portions.
On the other hand this writer seems addicted to featuring his kids or family on this website.They might be lovely kids,but they are your kids,and of no interest to the rest of us,and of no relevance either to your reviewing this cafe.Please give this up.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 2nd 2012.

Because noone has kids in Manchester?

AnonymousDecember 17th 2012.

No problem with mentioning the kids if it's a family-friendly place (which it is). Not everyone who patronises the NQ is a 20-something single.

If the writer took his kids to Bluu though it would be cause for concern. Because it's shit

AnonymousJuly 3rd 2012.

Good review but I can't help but think that ManCon's scoring system is a bit iffy. I'm sure most people, like me, care much more about the food than the service and ambience. Food is why I keep going back to Fu's Cafe in Chinatown, despite the terrible service and the weird semi sports bar vibe - the crispy pork belly is just too fucking good.

Maybe you could keep scoring out of 20 but score 10 on food quality, 5 on price and 5 on ambience/service?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Jonathan SchofieldJuly 3rd 2012.

I sort of agree Anon and know what you mean, but a trip because of that artsy atmosphere is definitely worth it.

Prince_HarmingJuly 3rd 2012.

I've been to Home Sweet Home four or five times and it's never been less than wonderful. When there aren't 70,000 extra faces in the city the service has always been relaxed and happy but still efficient.

The Wine and Cheese nights they do may sound hideously pretentious but the two I attended were great. The cheese and meat board you get is generous as hell and the resident wine expert really knows his stuff, being wonderful with recommendations and details.

There's nothing forced about the place, it seems to have achieved that slightly arty NQ buzz naturally, which is a good contrast to a lot of its neighbours.

And for the record, I may have a beard but that's where my NQ clichés end.

EfhJuly 3rd 2012.

Good review but I would definitely score it higher for food and service, seems a bit too low - yes the staff can be a bit ditzy but that adds to it's charm surely..
This place is great and the themed nights are fab! Manchester needs more places like this and less high priced, poncy "places to be seen" ;)

Kevin PeelJuly 3rd 2012.

I'd have given it a 16, you're a bit stingy, Jonathan! My favourite place in the Northern Quarter.

Kevin PeelJuly 3rd 2012.

Stingy? Stingey...

BLR_3July 3rd 2012.

£4.25 for a cheese and ham toastie.............

AnonymousJuly 3rd 2012.

Have been here a few times with friends and always had a great time. Having only originally gone for coffee and toasties at lunch time we thought we'd try it out after 6PM and was pleasantly surprised. We had a bottle of house wine for £10 (decent wine at that) and grabbed a sharer of pulled pork to share. For less than £20 for two of you to eat and drink mid-week is just what we need more of.

Good review for a good honest establishment.

PaulaJuly 3rd 2012.

It is one of my favourites in the NQ, portion sizes are great, its chilled out, great choice of food, and perfect if there is a mix of drinkers and non drinkers... but as of late the service is really lacking, and the last two times i have been the food has been cold.
I go back time and time again because the staff are always friendly. They do however, need to sort some kind of service system out. I've opted to ordering at the bar so I dont wait for ages for my order to be taken.
That being said you still dont wait as long as you do in teacup, and its much better value for money.
This place is pure indulgence, the milkshakes, toasties and daily specials are fab!

suzyblewJuly 3rd 2012.

Fantastic food and milkshakes. Just don't have the tea. (comes in a mug with the bag still in it). Go to teacup for that.
Ps second the wine comment!

Jeremy SmithJuly 3rd 2012.

Was there the other day, could be good but 20-30 minute wait on food at a lunchtime is not good enough. Also hate the waiting staff use of 'You Guys' eg. What can I get you guys ? (I know, they're not the only one)

Maybe my beard isn't in fashion or perhaps my burgundy cords aren't tight enough, or perhaps I'm tired of the NQ bohemian, beatnick, vintage (i.e. secondhand) malarkey

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

What's wrong with 'you guys'?

AnonymousDecember 17th 2012.

'Mate'/'Love' - fine

'You guys'/'buddy' - acceptable if a bit insincere

'Babe' - leave it out (not heard here but at other places in Manchester).

SinsJuly 3rd 2012.

I am keen to try the pulled pork, how does it compare with Southern 11?

Although the below line is a reason not to go:

"tea shop cum bar is a bohemian bolt-hole for chichi artsy and designer types - or those who wish they were."

ConmanJuly 3rd 2012.

What is pulled pork exactly? Whatever it is, it sounds quite vulgar.

AnonymousJuly 4th 2012.

I always get 'Buddy' in there rather than 'you guys.'

AnonymousJuly 6th 2012.

Pulled pork is a form of barbecue in which pork, usually shoulder cut (sometimes referred to as Boston butt) or mixed cuts, is cooked using a low-heat, long-cook method. With these extended times at low temperatures, the meat becomes tender enough that it can be "pulled", or easily broken into individual pieces. Pulled pork is found around the world in a variety of forms.

The Pizza toastie is also a good un.

StephJuly 7th 2012.

I too have suffered from the HSH staff seating me and then disappearing when it comes to taking the order.
I really like the food in this place but the service can leave a lot to be desired.

P.S. Don't bother with the Tex Mex night the food isn't very good, best to stick to the normal menu.

AnonymousJuly 20th 2012.

Best coffee in Manchester

Mark BoardmanJuly 31st 2012.

expensive but good.
take a family of 5 and your talking well over 60 quid for lunch.

David AddisonAugust 4th 2012.

I'm sorry but I don't know what all the fuss is about ths place. It looks acky in need of a good clean , rickety old tables and chairs , why? Food I had , chocolate milk shake , ok and a New York sandwich , ( tasteless) I eat out all over Manchester but I really don't get this place. 10/20

AnonymousDecember 17th 2012.

HSH has been good whenever I've been, much more worth it than the high prices and bad service at Teacup across the street.

They do one of the most interesting veggie breakfasts too, with a (wholesome, yes) vegetarian sausage but also the intriguing vegetarian black pudding!

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