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Home Sweet Home And The Toastie Revolution Reviewed

Femke Colborne fills up finely with tremendous toastie temptations

Published on July 26th 2011.

Home Sweet Home And The Toastie Revolution Reviewed

I WOULD love to have been a fly on the wall when the team behind Home Sweet Home were deciding on their USP – something that would set them apart from all the other retro tea and cake shops in the Northern Quarter. 

Two members of our party even rushed straight to town to buy themselves a sandwich toaster. Here’s to the toastie revival. 

“I’ve got it – toasted sandwiches!” someone said. And whatever objections there may have been they ploughed – objections such as toasties being the greasy late night fodder of drunken students, out of fashion since the late 1990s and hardly the epitome of Northern Quarter chic. 

And so we have a ‘gourmet bakehouse and coffee bar’ from the team behind Socio Rehab and Keko Moku that offers, among other things, a comprehensive menu of toasted sandwiches. There’s the usual ham and cheese, cheese and tomato, cheese and onion - or for the more adventurous, the Sloppy Joe (cheese and home made chilli), the breakfast (‘full English in a toastie’) and the house speciality, the cheeseburger.

The toasties are served on rustic wooden chopping boards, in keeping with the retro American style of the décor. Everything in Home Sweet Home has been very carefully thought out, from the farmhouse-style tables and mismatched chairs to the tiffany lampshades, rococo wallpaper, shabby chic birdcages and American swing music. 

All this sugary sweetness is matched by the menu – the place is all about indulgence. You can see that from the cakes on the counter, the list of sticky desserts, the “over the top” milk and malt shakes and the sign advertising freshly baked cookies and milk. If you have a friend who is watching their weight, don’t bring them here. 

And the sweetest thing of all is the staff. These guys would not be out of place in the Disney Village. They were heart-warmingly friendly, attentive and accommodating, they made us feel exactly as the name of the place would suggest, at home. 

We couldn’t resist ordering a vanilla milk and malt shake (£3.50), and it lived up to its billing, quite probably a whole day’s worth of calories right there in that retro milkshake glass. We also went to town on the toasties, choosing a classic Ham and Cheese (£4), a Sloppy Joe (£4) and a Cheeseburger (£4). 

Although rather on the pricey side, these made up for it by being generously filled with decent ingredients. The ham was fresh and a good deep pink colour, the Sloppy Joe had a good kick and, at the risk of stating the obvious, the Cheeseburger really did taste like a Cheeseburger, with an ample helping of gherkins. 

A good touch was that they had been left to stand so they weren’t boiling hot – avoiding that curse of the toasted sandwich, the burnt upper palate. 

We also ordered the Santa Fe Salad (£5.50), which should probably come with a health warning – with lashings of cheese, Long Island-style dressing, nachos and chicken. And we couldn’t leave without sampling the cookies (five for £3) – freshly baked to order and served with a glass of fresh milk (full fat, of course).

By the time we got half way through the cookies (which were, incidentally, delightful – gooey, hot and enjoyably messy) we suddenly felt a bit sick. We weren’t able to finish them, but were given a doggy bag by a helpful staff member with a knowing smile on his face. 


Home Sweet Home is a place to bring a friend who needs cheering up; your mum for her birthday; your kids for a special treat. But it is also somewhere you could happily have lunch on your own – it has a bar-style seating arrangement overlooking the street where you could sit for hours sipping the excellent coffee and watching the hipsters go by. 

It does, however, have some issues with identity. Is it a sandwich bar? A dessert bar? A tea shop? There is even a selection of beers and cocktails, which sadly gets lost in all the coffee and cake. But it is planning a new, revised menu in the next month or so that will maybe bring a little more focus. There is also an application for outdoor seating in the pipeline that will bring an increased selection of iced teas and cocktails.

My friends and I all emerged from Home Sweet Home reminiscing about the toasted sandwiches of our teenage years and wondering how we could ever have forgotten about them. Two members of our party even rushed straight to town to buy themselves a sandwich toaster. Here’s to the toastie revival. 

Home Sweet Home

49 - 51 Edge Street, Northern Quarter

M4 1HW

Rating: 14/20
Food: 7/10
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3/5

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: Gordo gets carried away.

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

AnonymousJuly 26th 2011.

Shame that despite the high price the toasties are all made from value price bread and while the staff are lovely the owner is extremely over bearing

1 Response: Reply To This...
VoJuly 26th 2011.

I'm not sure how the toasties could be improved by using more expensive bread anonymous? Standard sliced white bread is the only one that fits perfectly into most sandwich toasters without being too big for the plates and leaving a soggy overhang. In any event, the bread is only the vehicle to deliver the goodies that are lurking deep inside. Mmmmm cheeseburger toasties...

Bruce WayneJuly 26th 2011.

Ridiculously expensive.

On that basis, ah'm oot

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 26th 2011.

What are you talking about? it's really good value - cheaper than Cup, Common and Sugar Junction across the board - get back to the batcave butman

KateyJuly 26th 2011.

God I'm hungry and it's hours til tea time. Man Con why must you torture me with photos of toasties? WHY?

Robbie ShevlinJuly 26th 2011.

UNDER rated here on Ambience and Food.
This place is AMAZING, its like a combination of favourite comfort food and going home to your mum's cooking with the loving service to match. Since it opened i've gone in there nearly every single weekend.

£4 for a toastie - pricey !! are you kidding.
I have one of those, plus a salad and some home baked to order cookies to follow.

Plus - I defy anyone who's lived in the city for a few years and toured the cooked breakfasts in Manchester as i have, to find a better one.
£7 for a huge full english, including a coffee.
Hardly ridiculous pricing??

And to the guy that commented on the white bread, they do doorstep white bread sandwiches with that rustic bread if thats what you want. They are pretty nice but clearly you can't use the same for the toastie maker.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 28th 2011.

But I DO use all sorts of bread in my toastie maker.

Dom YoungmanJuly 26th 2011.

Ridiculously good value... and for that reason I'm IN!

Nothing but delicious choice after delicious choice... set yourself aside a few hours to sample the menu, enjoy the homely ambiance, and indulge your tastebuds...

I'm settling in for the afternoon... starter for ten, cheeseburger toastie :)

AnonymousJuly 26th 2011.

Dont like the cynical tone of this review, really condescending! The food is spot on and the place is WOW, review definitely doesn't reflect the reactions of me my friends and other people that were in there when we tripped over it last week, people were taking pictures of their milkshakes and and food, somewhere special and original in a sea of mediocre coffee shops, YAY!

AnonymousJuly 26th 2011.

I think all the staff are lovely - friendly, but leave you to get on enjoying the food!! Really accommodating if you've got kids too.

The toasties are good, but what about the Crab and Avocado Sandwich? and the Triple Berry Layer Cake??? How has that been missed?

A home from home!

AnonymousJuly 27th 2011.

Anyone want to hazard a guess as to how many of the above are associates or friends of Home Sweet Home? Pretty unconvincing, guys.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 28th 2011.

I'm a friend of home sweet home and yes I posted my views- the place rocks- and the guys behind it and the staff poured their heart and soul into it, and it's all the wonderful customers and 'friends' that make it the amazing place it is.
Anyone want to hazard a guess where you're from or why you're so angry at the world? Have a milkshake and a cheeseburger toastie and smile- life's roses x

The LiquoristsJuly 28th 2011.

It is no strange thing that 'friends and associates'are leaping to the defence of HSH, that's what friends do... I cannot comprehend how you can have a negative experience here. My office is in the northern quarter and this is the only place i drink coffee, so go pretty much daily, and it is brilliant everytime.
My association with hsh begins and ends as a loyal customer, maybe give it another go? or not...

MeJuly 27th 2011.

I nearly bought a toastie machine off the back of going to HSH... mainly so I could make my own Cheeseburger toasties at home (i got a little addicted).... oops i must be old fashioned! The Soda stream is making a come back, maybe the toastie maker will too!
I really like HSH, the breakfast is top quality, take into consideration the other choices in the NQ HSH is competing with Trof in terms of quality, but quicker on the delivery!
I like the identity crisis... it suits when i want food, my friends want a drink... and it's aways busy so i'm sure they aint complaining!
The play list is always good, the staff are really friendly and attentive, i personally cant knock it...
It's new, they are settling in, and seem to be giving the other, cake/sandwich/coffee shops in the NQ a run for their money, as long as the breakie and the Cheeseburger toastie remain then so will I!

fishJuly 28th 2011.

£3.90 for a milkshake! The same milkshake is a pound less and only a few minutes away. And the staff are a bit overbearing. But it has potential, and it is so nice to see so many tea rooms and coffee shops in the northern quarter. Starbucks must be getting scared!

LizJuly 28th 2011.

After getting reccommended this place by a friend and having a nose on the way past I decided to organise a girl's lunch for my friend's birthday.

I called ahead on the day as there was a big group of us and when we arrived (late) we were greeted by the really friendly staff and an area that was already all set up for us.

To be honest, I couldn't have really asked for more. They sorted a homemade birthday cake at late notice and this was served to us with no stress or hassle from me.

In terms of the prices, you get what you pay for - tasty food, decent ingredients, friendly staff and quirky surroundings. I'll be visiting this place again on the back of my experience. Thanks again HSH.

AnonymousJuly 28th 2011.

Cheeseburger toasties and warm cookies.. I'm addicted! Screw the diet. Yum yum yum yum!!

BaggioJuly 28th 2011.

best (flat white) coffee in mcr.

Dawn CJuly 28th 2011.

It's fantastic that HomeSweetHome has brought this US style concept to Manchester! I've lived in the US and have been hoping for something like this to come along for years. Open late at night, I finally have a brilliant alternative to the pub when I want to relax and catch up with my friends - we can drink drink alcohol or not and actually hear each other talk :) For those of you that think it's pricey - I say you get what you pay for. The quality of the ingredients is excellent and everything is made fresh to order, which gives you a few extra minutes to work up a big appetite! I can't wait to try everything on the menu that I haven't already. Two thumbs up from me.

The LiquoristsJuly 28th 2011.

Well, i have commented on the negative rants that i disagree with and so will pay them not even a little bit more attention. Maybe they work at some of the other coffee houses in the northern quarter and are feeling threatened.....just a thought...but im going to stick to the positives;
great fresh food, a unique offering that NOBODY ELSE is offering (fresh baked cookies/toasties/etc), the coffee is great and served fast, the staff are great, the music is brilliant, The decor is kitsch and Cath Kidston cool (on trend much?) and it is around the corner from my office!! Bangin!!
one suggestion - tables outside? it would be great, will the council allow it though...either way that's my tuppence. Keep it up Home Sweet home, big love!!
tom x

FurFoxAcheJuly 28th 2011.

I hate Cath Kidston.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
The LiquoristsJuly 28th 2011.


The LiquoristsJuly 28th 2011.

you can look out the windows i guess!!! nice comment!!

FentonJuly 28th 2011.

I really like the place despite a number of shortcomings. It doesn't really work as a bar and having a cocktail menu and big Red Stripe POS doesn't really do the place justice. The lay out is not that of a bar (room for all of 5 people stood at the bar then the place comes to a standstill, 1 toilet, and too cramped for half-cut jostling people wearing skinny jeans) and it feels like there is a slight identity crisis.

I went the on the opening weekend and the girl who served me was exceptionally sweet who'd never pulled a pint before and seated us near the open door which wasn't too hot - no pun intended!? Also the table service has been slightly lack lustre as on 2 separate occasions the individual(s) forgot to come over. Normal teething problems but most places would put out their A Team during the first few weeks.

Keep the draught on and the cocktails, wines etc, but discretely stick them on the drinks menu.....losing the back-bar and delusion of being all things to all people. It has bags of character and plenty of scope to be the best little cafe in NQ, and unhinge Tea Pot's dominance.

Fenton x

AnonymousJuly 29th 2011.

I think it's a good addition to the area. I really do hope the format stays and that if times get tough it does not turn into a bar only! With loud music, rude loud customers and problems for surrounding residents caused by bars like Socio rehab and Bluu!

AnonymousJuly 29th 2011.

Great to hear so much feedback, i've worked at HSH since opening a little under 2 months ago - and given this time, it's fair to say we're doing well through word of mouth alone. I stopped by on my night off (thursday -10pm) and couldn't move for customers eating cake, drinking cocktails and despite the time of day - still drinking coffee.
I'd like to think we've got a really good team, working damn hard to make sure everything's right in the place.
viva le toastie

AnonymousAugust 8th 2011.


TwitchyAugust 27th 2011.

I don't work there, don't know anyone that does but am fast becoming a regular having been hooked since its opening weekend: the cakes are outstanding, obviously made with love; staff are attentive; presentation of everything from the cafe itself to the food and drinks is impeccable.

My ONLY complaint is that it's rammed all weekend now - I hope it doesn't become a victim of its own success...

AnonymousOctober 28th 2011.

Looks like more business for the diet section in Man Cons womens pages.

SebJune 22nd 2013.

Really nice place with great service and food. Staff always smiling and welcoming. Customer service lets so many places down but not here. Also nice to have somewhere to go late in the evening for a milkshake or hot chocolate instead of a drink.

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