Y’all, when I was a weeny baby vegan all those (10-ish) years ago, Manchester city centre’s go-to place for mind-blowingly interesting vegan grub was pretty much Earth Café, a wee eaterie with health food leanings attached to the Buddhist centre. Me and my pals would trek down to London for a day just so we could buy wheat gluten over the counter and nutty chews in bulk from Vx (now closed).
These days, you guys, these days you can’t MOVE for vegan options. Which is GREAT! I mean, it’s great. It’s weird and wonderful, of course, but it is definitely A Good Thing and I’m happy about it. Woohoo! So a little while back when N told me he’d bumped into some dude in some bar in Manchester who said he was opening another vegan café in Manchester I was kinda like “oh” but also kinda like “woah”. Then I forgot about it, because I’m me, but there I was yesterday getting some Uni work done after my actual-job-work and I figured I deserved a couple of shandies and some grub after I’d finished reading that particular paper on conservation biology. I fired up Happy Cow and one street over was FOLK & SOUL, the newly opened all-vegan café just like the random dude in the bar said.
I’d eaten in Odd Bar, the previous residents of Folk & Soul, and my abiding memory was of an incredibly cramped and dank/dark interior, so I was super pleased to see how light, airy, and generally NICE the place looks now. And what of the menu, friends? We were told it’s quite limited at the moment due to their relatively recent opening; it features a number of ‘small plates’ that are akin to tapas, and no desserts yet.
Pals, we couldn’t pass over tempura. So we didn’t. And we also went for the skordalia because I thought it sounded a bit Scandi. And then we felt like maybe some more fried stuff was in order, so we went for the cauliflower popcorn, tempted by the thought of a dipping gravy. Behold:
Accompanied by a couple of beers, this was a most welcome summer-evening dinner. I did have a bit of food envy when the pair at the next table ordered the fries, but there’s always next time ain’t there?
N commented on the borderline ostentation of the menu, but given that Manchester’s only other all-vegan city centre eaterie serves naught but junk food (EDIT sorry and the rice & three curry joint), I felt like the fancy-food vibe was absolutely merited. The flavours were super, the textures were pleasing, the dishes were imaginative, all in all 10/10 lekker for a very nice dinner indeed and I will be back when there’s pudding. It is reminiscent of the early days of Bistro 1847 but with much friendlier price tags, and of course 100% vegan. I sure hope it does good business and sticks around.