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We try to be healthy and fail at this new café/takeaway off Mosley Street

Published on June 2nd 2010.


Sandwich fatigue – it normally hits about Wednesday or Thursday and is identified by a blank, hopeless feeling when planning what to do for lunch. At the Confidential office, it's about this time of week that we get on the phone to one of our curry suppliers. But as this isn't good for waistlines or afternoon productivity rates, it's hardly a long-term solution.

Good food, reasonable prices, and an attention to detail rarely found at this type of establishment. If you want something healthy, fast and fresh (or indulgent, fast and fresh) give it a go.

Damien Davenport, owner of new café/takeaway Detoxretox has another idea. He wanted to give people a lunchtime option that didn't involve two slices of bread and a filling so he took inspiration from two of his favourite eateries in London. The result is a cafe with a duo focus of healthy salads and smoothies, and not-quite-so-healthy cakes, pies and mash.

The name, Detoxretox, could sum up many people's daily routine. Start the day with an energy-boosting juice and porridge for breakfast. Feel all pure and wholesome when you have a salad for lunch. Then when the mid-afternoon sugar cravings hit, watch your willpower slip away and gorge on cakes and hot chocolate.

When we visited, it was the healthy options that initially caught our eye. Damien says these have been winning over the pie and mash (£5.75 including gravy or peas) and the sausage and mash (£4.75 including gravy or peas) on the popularity stakes – knocking those northern stereotypes for six.

In particular, it was the big tub of gazpacho that got us excited. In Spain, you can't walk down the street for Hay Gazpacho! signs. Over here, this chilled tomato-based soup is much harder to find, particularly for £2 a pot. At Detoxretox, it comes with little containers of peppers, tomato, and onion for the garnish. We had a couple of items from the salad counter as well. You can't get much healthier than a bowl of blended raw veg, garnished with raw veg, with raw veg on the side. We could feel those vitamins zinging through our veins as we ate.

The salad/deli bar is full of good stuff, including exciting things like quiche, duck pate, and smoked salmon with different options added each day. For £3.75 you choose one of these 'specials', plus a base of pasta, noodles, couscous or rice (there's wholemeal rice and pasta for the really committed), and then add all the salad items you like. You collect your little tub of home-made salad dressing from the fridge.

Damien's idea seems to stick to a simple concept, but do it well with loads of choice and quality ingredients. It's evident in the 50-plus items in the salad bar and in the variations in the hot meals. Rather than just one type of mash with your sausages or Pieminster pie, you've got five different flavours: classic, cheesy, mustard, horseradish or spring onion.

This comfort food is going to be very tempting on colder days, especially as you can eat-in. Detoxretox's interior is a cut above most nip-in, nip-out lunch places. Flock wallpaper, flowers and complimentary filtered water on the tables, and a decent amount of space between the dining area and the food counter so you don't feel like you're having a sit down meal in the middle of a busy street. The high-end presentation is partly down to the fact that Damien has come from a hotel background – he worked at Malmaison Piccadilly before setting up Detoxretox. He's got the Mal's former executive head chef, Mark Bennett, acting as his consultant chef here.

After spooning up the last of our gazpacho, we went swiftly into retox mode with a delicious blackberry-topped cupcake (£1.20) and a very rich hot chocolate (£1.90). Healthy people could have had a tub of fruit (£1) or a homemade smoothie (£2.50). People who aren't sure whether to detox or retox could have chosen the nutritious-looking banana and walnut bread (£1.20)

It's worth mentioning that Detoxretox also does breakfast with a similar mix of diet-worthy and diet-breaking options, such as natural yoghurt pots with fruit and granola (£1.80) or full breakfasts (£4.50). It does sandwiches and baked potatoes too – not everyone wants their lunch to be an 'experience'.

Catering for business meetings and offices lunches is another string to its bow. Detoxretox delivers a range of menus including a £2.25-per-head breakfast of hot rolls, tea and coffee, and a £4.50-per-head lunch of sandwiches, salad pots, fresh fruit skewers and crisps.

We didn't stay long on our visit but loitering is encouraged with free wifi and newspapers and free refills of tea and coffee when drinking in. If you turn up between 2pm and 4pm, you get half price cupcakes.

All in all, we were impressed with this place. Good food, reasonable prices, and an attention to detail rarely found at this type of establishment. If you want something healthy, fast and fresh (or indulgent, fast and fresh) give it a go. You'll find it just off Mosley Street, on the Booth Street side.

Detoxretox, 58 Mosley Street, Manchester, M2 3HZ, 0161 236 1811, www.detoxretox.co.uk

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round the cornerAugust 28th 2010.

I finally had the opportunity to try the salad bar here the other day and was disappointed. The selection was nothing like in your photos - it was a lot more sparse. I wondered if business has been slow and so they're cutting corners. Some of the salad choices were just plain odd - couscous with massive cucumber matchsticks & no seasoning - ?? The chicken pesto pasta was ok - the chicken at least looked like proper shredded roast chicken and it had a nice flavour. The rest of the salads I sampled were bland. A shame...

Damien DavenportSeptember 28th 2010.

Thanks for your feedback on my eatery, detoxretox. I'm sorry to hear you was disappointed with our salad counter.

After listening to feedback we changed the format slightly and make up various salads for people to add to main meals or enjoy alone.

The one in particular you mention, is our superfood salad of Cous Cous, Brocolli, Cucumber, Peas & Feta. All dressings are seperate so you can add or not if you prefer.

Business is growning and there are lots of developments happening currently plus over the coming weeks.

Feedback helps us improve and although not everyone likes the same things, I hope the majority likes what we offer and are trying to achieve, thats something different from the bog standard jacket potato and sandwich offering you seem to get everywhere.


NortherngeezerSeptember 28th 2010.

Round The Corner - With it being a detox salad, did it give you the 2 bob bits or severe flatulance?.
That much greenery aint no good for man or beast......u ever stood near an elephant or a gorilla after its ate its fill.........EEEWWWWWWW!!!!

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