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Fruit Exchange, Deansgate, Reviewed

Niamh Spence ignores carbs and grease for a healthy independent eat

Written by . Published on July 17th 2014.

Fruit Exchange, Deansgate, Reviewed

HEALTHY eating isn’t fun. No amount of '#cleaneating' across your Instagram meal pictures or on Twitter will convince me that I’m happier eating my salad than I am a slice of pizza or a hefty cheese smothered burger.

Known for its juices, salads, freshly made sandwiches and for being healthy, it seems my diet was in luck.

Yet choosing the healthy option and anything labelled 'low fat' has become part of my daily routine, right down to avoiding as many carbs as possible. My culinary habits are dictated by trying to pour myself into my skinny jeans.

Screen Shot 2014-07-17 At 09.49.32Squeezing into skinny jeans chooses my diet choices

So with the rest of the Confidential team compiling cheap eats articles I kept my head down, much like a child at school attempting to not be picked on by the bullies. Watching your figure and fighting a battle with the scales never seems to be a good match for the food and drink reviews we write. It’s usually trying burgers, cocktails and carbohydrates covered in calorie-laden sauces rather than salads, detoxes and fruit.

But then it happened. Our editor, Jonathan Schofield, eyeballed me and pointed saying, "It’s your turn tomorrow."

I crossed my fingers under the desk and prayed for the healthiest option going. I do have my lapses but for the most part I pray that I can have a diet that will eventually give me a Victoria Secret model body. One can dream, even when that dream is unattainable for someone who begrudges every gym session they go to.

Luckily for me and my skinny jeans I managed to snag one of the healthier options in the form of Deansgate's Fruit Exchange.

Fruit ExchangeFruit Exchange can be found on Deansgate, opposite Forsyths music shop.

Known for its juices, salads, freshly made sandwiches and for being healthy, it seems my diet was in luck. I headed off at lunch to see what I could find.

I found Fruit Exchange deserted except for the woman behind the counter. "Is it usually this quiet?" I asked.

"This is the calm before the storm," she smiled. A hidden gem this is not. Sitting on Deansgate, this deli-style eaterie is usually rammed with customers queuing and eating in, and routinely sells out of sandwiches and salads - shes tells me.

Perusing the food on offer I spy the juices on the board, ranging from simple fresh juices to things promising to cure hangovers, give energy and kickstart detoxes. Curing a hangover is a lot to ask of some fruit.

I chose a Greek salad (£3.25) from their readymade selection and also opted for one of their fruit blended juices (£3.15). My lunch came in at £6.40, not the cheapest of course but if you choose a regular drink or bottle of water with your meal instead of a juice it will be under a fiver. 

Img_2303Greek salad; good ratio of cheese, olives, tomatoes and leaves

The salad was a large size portion, not one of the skimpy options in so many lunchtime vendors. With dressing on the side, rather than lashed on by a heavy handed worker, I found the salad had a good portion of feta cheese, olives, red onion and tomatoes. Too often I've chosen a Greek salad and found a miserable few cubes lurking under too many salad leaves and one cowering tomato at the bottom of the bowl.

The juice I chose blended strawberries and banana and was light and had no bits. It was so refreshing in fact that I've been back already to try another. I'm determined to work my way through the menu and see if a hangover really can be cured by fruit juice alone.

Img_2366Juices, juices and more juices

Healthy options in the city centre are not always evident but Manchester independent Fruit Exchange is my new choice. It's only been going for two years, yet the café has built up a loyal following with many regulars coming in for their daily juice. "Lots of people use us for a juice diet and order our three-day detoxes," my server tells me.

So healthy eating might not be as fun as eating a burger as big as your head, but it doesn't have to be the sorry looking meal deal that we see on the supermarket shelves either. Plus if juices and salads from Fruit Exchange are what it takes to make my skinny jeans struggle a little less of a battle then I'll be found on Deansgate every lunchtime.

Follow Niamh Spence on Twitter at @missnspence


Fruit Exchange, 103 Deansgate, Manchester, M3 2BQ. 

Rating: 12/20 (Remember venues are rated against the best examples of their kind; fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes)
Food: 7/10 (Healthy food and healthy portion)
Service: 3/5 (Friendly and quick)
Ambience: 2/5 (Deserted or rammed, it's more one to grab and go)

PLEASE NOTE: 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, 18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away

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

PryonicJuly 17th 2014.

Why's it an "Exchange" rather than a take away or a cafe? Can I bring my old fruit and exchange it for new? Don't take this as a rant - more a mild observation ;-)

AnonymousJuly 17th 2014.

Proper Greek salads don't have leaves.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 17th 2014.


FoodieJuly 17th 2014.

The pictures are very amateurish

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 17th 2014.

I won't go then.

AnonymousJuly 18th 2014.

Never seen this place 'rammed' in the entire time its been there.

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2014.

The food looks nice.

AnonymousFebruary 25th 2015.

Well...that concept didnt last long did it?

AnonymousFebruary 26th 2015.

Here today and gone......

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