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North Star Delicatessen

Sarah Tierney goes crazy for the cakes at this Chorlton café-deli

Published on April 27th 2009.

North Star Delicatessen

North Star Delicatessen is a microcosm of everything Chorlton. It's organic, foodie, yummy-mummy heaven. It fully conforms to the over-used clichés applied to the suburb and often used as terms of derision. But since relocating to the café wasteland of Prestwich, I miss having a deli that sells posh sarnies and lattés within stumbling distance of home.

At North Star, they've got a fine selection of fancy sandwiches on their new summer menu, but it's the salads and tartlets displayed in the counter cabinet that tempt us on our midweek, lunchtime visit. There's a table by the window that's not boxed in by three-wheeler buggies so we grab it after selecting drinks from the shelves in the delicatessen.

Established in 2003, North Star has proved to be a constant in this somewhat shaky part of Chorlton where many a bar and café has shone bright only to burn out a few seasons later. It taps into the foodie market well with a light, stylish deli stocked with fresh cheeses and meats and culinary treats such as organic cider, organic chocolate, and artisan biscuits. In an admirable attempt to cover the basics they also do organic eggs and organic milk, but it's never going to be the type of place where you'd do your weekly shop: the wines are all over £8.95 for a start.

We ignore the alcohol (you can order wine and beer to have with your food) in favour of some odd-looking soft drinks; a murky bottle of mango tea (£1.35), and an alarmingly orange concoction called La Mortuacienne Mandarine (£1.25). It's mandarine-ade which actually tastes and smells like mandarins, despite being the colour of Irn Bru on steroids.

Food-wise, I go for mackerel tortilla (£6.95) because the tartlets I'd had my eye on have all been snaffled by other customers. I don't look forward to it, imagining a strong-flavoured fish like mackerel might be too much for lunch. But it turns out to be far from overpowering: a thin layer of mackerel balanced out by new potatoes, garden peas, and a delicate covering of cheese. Very restrained and very good. The lentil side is the colour of mud but has a zesty, lively taste thanks to the red onion, tomato and big chunks of feta.

My friend has a more conventional salad: goats cheese and roast Mediterranean vegetables (£6.95) with pine nuts, balsamic dressing, and gooey-looking warm bread on the side. She orders it because she's trying to be healthy, then later says she likes it because it's really big. A reluctant dieter if ever I saw one.

Abandoning the health kick completely, we finish off with cakes, and these are where North Star really shows its strength. I have a chocolate orange and cheesecake brownie (£2.85) which sounds like they made a list of everything good in the world and mixed it all together in one bowl.

'Blimey. It's amazing, isn't it?' says my green-eyed friend.

Dense, moist and almost caving in under its own deliciousness, it might make it worthwhile moving back to Chorlton. The rhubarb and yoghurt cake (£2.85) doesn't have such a mouth-watering name but is just as successful with real pieces of rhubarb and a light texture.

Alongside the coffees (£1.55), which North Star blends on site, these dishes are a lovely way to finish Wednesday lunchtime, and shows why this establishment is as popular as ever.

The food is imaginative, even adventurous at times, but it works. Surely the city could sustain another place like this – with a name like North Star, you'd think they might consider opening up a sister operation north of the city centre. In Prestwich. Just for me.

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

AnonymousApril 27th 2009.

I've never been back since being over charged & then made to stand by the till & wait for my money for ten minutes & then gave up, only for the NSD person to come to my table & slam in down with no apology. We all have bad days but this ws car crash.

jayneApril 27th 2009.

ok, but everyone knows that the enjoyment of sweet stuff is proporational to its cost. it works like this; green and blacks 50g bar (£loads) appears to be much larger, sweeter and more satisfying than its cadbury's equivalent at summat like 60p. this is why i buy kinder eggs. they're one of the most expensive ways to get a chocolate fix, and I love them for it.

LRCApril 27th 2009.

Try the Rhubarb and Custard cake at MooCow - just off John Dalton Street. Every bit as delicious (I've tried both) and MUCH better value at only £1 a slice. Cakes at Northern Star may be good, but way too expensive at almost £3 a slice ( & not a very big one at that!!!)

FoodDeeApril 27th 2009.

not sure about that 'Anonymous', I've been a customer since it opened 5 yrs ago and always found the service to be great. I think people should be supporting independant businesses like North Star, esp with the credit crunch - otherwise all our towns are going to be 'Starbucks central'. Get over it and give them another go!

AnonymousMay 19th 2012.

I live round the corner and go every so often usually after the memory of my last trip has faded. The food is good, it's the owner and attitude of the staff that really puts me off along with the fact that it is overpriced. There is a real sod you attitude about the place, however that rudeness does not appear to put people off as it is frequently very busy. So there you go good food, arsey service, I suspect they are the latter due to the former etc

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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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Another Tim

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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