Modern British restaurant in Northern Quarter
31-33 Spear Street, Manchester, M1 1DF
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This basement eatery has established itself as “the Northern Quarter canteen”. Owned by one of the brains behind The Bay Horse and Cord, Soup Kitchen is an eccentrically decorated space with a great community vibe and a fine line in affordable, healthy soups and bowl food.
The space is dominated by huge red chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, silver candelabras on the tables, the work of local artists on the walls and tall bookcases stacked with magazines and coffee-table books that the arty workers of the Northern Quarter flick through on their lunch breaks. Long, sturdy wooden tables and benches run down the centre of the room, promoting casual chats between customers and on Friday nights the bar against the far wall comes to life as the waiters whip up cocktails.
The menu is presided over by Gareth Phillips, a chef whose credentials include training under Atul Kutcher, the Michelin-starred chef at Benares in London's Mayfair, and local culinary hero Simon Rimmer. The menu changes daily, but there is typically a range of 5 soups, some hearty stews and a delectable range of tarts and cakes on offer.
Soup Kitchen is a great little venue, with plenty going on to complement its daily menu. Friday nights see the place transformed into a quirky cocktail bar, monthly craft nights and fine dining evenings (showcasing Phillip's talents across a set menu for the bargain price of £22.50 for three courses) have their own cult followings and there are even occasional gig nights on offer. If you haven't been there so far, give it a try – it's sure to become a firm favourite.
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