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Jigsaw Kitchen

Vanessa Lees tries to find the missing pieces at Jigsaw

Published on October 18th 2007.

Jigsaw Kitchen

There’s a lot to be said for being tall.

Tall people always have a better view then anybody else, always get picked to play sport at school and are always served first at the bar. The only problem with being tall is that you have further to fall.

I’d fallen for it on appearances alone (always foolish) until the inevitable happened - the stitching started to unravel quickly.

Jigsaw Kitchen is blessed with lofty supremacy as it sits on the top floor of Jigsaw clothes store overlooking Exchange Square and the little folk below. It’s the sort of feeling, I suppose, one would get from being a voyeur. Everyone is oblivious to you. In fact very few people know that Jigsaw has a café at all.

There was only one table left available at Jigsaw Kitchen when we popped in for lunch last Saturday. It was frequented by a magic circle of people in the know. Middle-aged ladies catching up on the latest scandal at bridge evening (bridge clubs being a breeding ground for affairs according to the next table). But the most obvious social group were fathers. Jigsaw Kitchen is the savior of family shopping outings. Dads can loose themselves in The Guardian Weekender or one of the other many publications scattered about while the wife and kids spend freely in Jigsaw Junior. Everyone’s a winner. Apart from me it seemed.

I desperately wanted to love this cafe in the way that I’d wanted the dress in the window to lend me a pair of pert breasts just like it did on the mannequin. I’d fallen for it on appearances alone (always foolish) until the inevitable happened - the stitching started to unravel rather quickly.

First off, I had to ask for my table to be cleaned, followed by my latté arriving late and way below acceptable temperature. If I wanted a cold coffee I would have ordered a frappucino. When ordering our chicken caesar salad with bacon, anchovies, croutons and parmesan shavings (£7.55) and tuna steak with new potatoes, red onions and dill (£7.55), we were told that there would be a 20 minute wait. Now Jigsaw Kitchen isn’t exactly swamped with covers, I’ve held dinner parties for more guests. This is just another example of eateries malfunctioning on a Saturday. Turns out it was actually a half hour wait. Ten minutes is an eternity when your stomach is concave.

We decided to order a bread selection (£1.95) to have before the food while we waited. Technically it did arrive earlier but only just pipped the mains to the table by two minutes.

The caesar salad presented itself as something an ape might create when armed with a paint brush. Busy. However the beauty with an action-packed plate is there is more to eat and in this case the components worked deliciously. The intensity of the anchovies tarted up the plump and juicy pieces of roasted chicken which sailed on yacht-sized Romaine lettuce leaves.

The tuna was a more modest affair on a pretty bed of mixed salad and cheeky cherry tomatoes but equally as delectable. A delicate pink line ran through the chargrilled and well seasoned tuna so that it just crumbles with barely any encouragement. Scrumptious.

So delighted by the food and the menu variety (they serve breakfast till 12.30pm with cosmopolitan delights such as sausage baguette with French mustard and caramelised onion £3.25) I decided I would allow the restaurant the chance to redeem itself in other areas on a mid week visit. The result? Piping hot latté and astonishingly swift service. An all-round hit.

Jigsaw Kitchen is a brilliant concept with fabulous food, they just need to shut up shop on a Saturday.

Rating: 12/20
Breakdown: 7/10 Food
2/5 Service
3/5 Ambience
Address: Jigsaw Kitchen
The Triangle,
Exchange Square,
M4 3TR
0161 833 3304

Wed 10am-6pm,
Thurs-Sat 10am-7pm,
Sun 11am-5pm

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Frank's TrousersOctober 18th 2007.

Couldn't agree more about the service. Food is fab but EVERY time i have been I have had to wait at least half an hour for food. I persisted in going as like you say, great location and view - but have now admitted defeat. I won't be going back.

ThighrubberOctober 18th 2007.

'I desperately wanted to love this cafe in the way that I’d wanted the dress in the window to lend me a pair of pert breasts just like it did on the mannequin.' Vanessa, could you ask one of those pert mannikins out for me? I think I'm in love.

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Latest Rants


The staff should wear clothes made out of corn flakes.

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Dress the staff as Tony the Tiger and the honey monster, otherwise i'm just not interested. ;)

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Actually, it seems like this pricing model is designed to encourage eating fast and getting out of…

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I don't think it's a silly question at all. Possibly not in keeping with the spirit of the place.…

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