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Jack Spratt review

Jonathan Schofield likes the food but not the worthiness

Written by . Published on May 11th 2011.

Jack Spratt review

It’s good to see a business finding its feet. Jack Spratt is just such a place.

But the bright decor, the food displays, blackboards and open kitchen are all qualities which can be appreciated as can the food. The provision of newspapers and the Wifi are extra bonuses. Shame that it closes so early at 6pm.

When it opened a few months ago I went in there and was put off by all the holier-than-thou lecturing.

Everywhere I turned there were notices telling me the bags were hand made by orphaned Indian kebab slicers, the menus had been knitted by disabled Vietnamese cheese grinders and the chairs were fashioned by Bolivian salt miners injured in the great marshmallow explosion of La Paz. 

Something like that. Perhaps.

This annoyed me. I don’t want my food experience to be a species of moral rebuke with shrines of worthiness on tables.

It’s good that people care, but awful when they ram it down your neck. It also implies that the biggest thing on Jack Spratt’s mind is not the quality of the nosh they produce but whether they’re striking the right eco-organic pose.

Having been back several times I’m mellowing to the place, in fact I’m beginning to like it very much.  As it appears do many others. The place at lunchtime can be heaving.

The food has improved from the early days when a chicken and bacon sandwich at £4 had been distinctly ropey, and a cupcake was so dry it had sucked the moisture from my mouth.

Now everything seems dandy. On the latest visit I had a fine Aberdeen Angus Philly cheese steak. It was all one could wish for: the meat moist and pink, slathered over by melted cheese and given texture with sautéed mushrooms. It looked a picture as well on in its Innuit fashioned driftwood bowl  (I think that’s the way the management have described the bowls).

On another recent visit the salads (all £5) did the trick with the two standouts being the lively Mexican chicken salad served with jalapenos, guacamole, red peppers and salsa, and the blue cheese, spinach and fetchingly caramelised pecan salad. I preferred the tangy bite of the latter over the heat of the former.

Jack Sprat 012.JPGMeanwhile a Confidential friend swears by the seared panga fish sandwich with chilli jam. Jack Spratt doesn’t do the cupcakes any more but buy-in homemade desserts including lemon cheesecake (£2), and carrot cake (£2), the former of which another writer has mentioned in dispatches. For drinks you get speciality teas, exotic juices and a damned fine ginger beer. The coffee’s got good strength and character.

Jack Spratt is clearly making a go of it.

They should get rid of all the stuff telling us how worthy they are and wait for the customers to ask and then let the latter judge for themselves.

But the bright decor, the food displays, blackboards and open kitchen are all qualities which can be appreciated as can the food. The provision of newspapers and the Wifi are extra bonuses. Shame that it closes so early at 6pm.

Jack Spratt might not be able to stomach the fat but he looks set to have a good life on John Dalton Street.  He’s turning out to be an appealing fella, doing things with proper panache.

Now I’ve learnt to close my eyes to all the other stuff I might make the place a regular visit.


Rating 13.5/20

7/10 food

3/5 service

3.5/5 ambience

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

Jack Spratt

11 St James Square

John Dalton Street


0161 833 1016

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

NicemeatMay 12th 2011.

That's a lovely looking sandwich. Was it manufactured by disadvantaged dwarfs in Polish salt mines?

Jonathan SchofieldMay 12th 2011.

I believe it was

Ellie QuigleyMay 12th 2011.

They do do dead nice sandwiches, but I know what you mean about the gastro guilt. The bags are cute, but unnecessary. They're probably costing them a fortune.

Nikki JacksonMay 12th 2011.

The eco-posturing doesn't bother me in the slightest. Silly thing to get annoyed about. I am pleased that the size of the sarnie fillings have increased slightly as the weeks have gone on, and on that note I must recommend the cajun chicken with cream cheese and chilli jam on a white baguette. Delish.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Fernando PartridgeMay 12th 2011.

It isn't a silly thing to get annoyed about. I am also annoyed by their worthiness, and also get annoyed by sandal wearing eco warriors using the word "Delish". Grow up.

Nikki JacksonMay 12th 2011.

Haha, its a brogue day today. If worthiness annoys you then make sure you get the food to take out or just stick to Greggs.

RevaulxMay 12th 2011.

The sandwich looked even lovelier before someone sneezed on it...

Fernando PartridgeMay 12th 2011.

Nikki Jackson - it isn't a silly thing to get annoyed about, the worthiness has also put me off from going in there. What is annoying is adults using words like "Delish" - grow up.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Nikki JacksonMay 12th 2011.

Thought I'd replied to this already but appears not.

Stick to Greggs then, Partridge.

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