Food: Brunch at 19 Cafe Bar, Manchester

As a Manchester food blogger, I love nothing more than discovering new places to brunch and lunch on my weekends. As much as I love a good old trusty chain place, like Starbucks and Pret (Starbucks latte’s will always have a piece of my heart, and I love nothing more than the avocado wrap offerings at Pret), I try to seek independently ran eateries when meeting friends out for brunch.

There’s just something about the whole independent, small business, cutesy set-up of a cafe and bar in the heart of Manchester. The latest one I’ve discovered is 19 Cafe Bar, situated on Lever Street, right in the center of the vibrant and quirky Northern Quarter.

Just a stones throw from Piccadilly gardens, this Lever Street venture acts as a cafe by day serving a fantastic offering of breakfast and brunch foods, from pancake stacks and open bagels, to classic eggs benedict and full English/veggie breakfasts.

By night, the place turns into a bar setting, perfect for enjoying an interesting cocktail. I visited for brunch on a Saturday morning, so I can’t vouch for the cocktails or say I tried them, but from looking at the menu, I spied two of my favourites – Espresso Martini and French Martini – so I’d be pretty happy heading here for an evening tipple.

As soon as you step inside 19 Cafe Bar, that traditional open-brick urban style of Northern Quarter coffee shops is instantly recognisable in this red brick decor cafe. With a cosy and modern feel, tables and chairs are a combination of light and dark woods with simplistic silver metal beams, finished off with Scandi style drop light bulbs providing light and minimalist decor from the ceilings.

The place has a mixture of that open, modern, contemporary feel, yet the place also gave me a bit of a cosy, homely feeling, with its heavily framed wall art gallery walls, chalk boards and glass jars situated on the counters.

Although I’m a huge coffee fan, I opted for a Gunpowder Green Tea, as when I spy a cafe offering this Chinese style loose leaf tea, I usually snap it up. My friend who joined me for brunch chose the Dirty Chai, which is a take on the Chai coffee, but with an extra shot of coffee. I’ve actually never heard of  Dirty Chai before, so I’m not sure if this twist is unique to 19 Cafe Bar, but it looked delicious and my friend overly enjoyed it!

Coffee’s and hot chocolates averaged at around £2.95- £3.50, which is decent for a large hot beverage when ‘drinking in’. I spied a White Chocolate Mocha on the drinks menu actually, which totally jumped out at me. I declined this time, sticking with my healthier option. But next time, that bad boy is mine…

The menu offerings are more breakfast and brunch orientated, with a few key lunch options too, but I’d definitely recommend popping into this place more so for a hearty breakfast or brunch with the girls. The items which jumped out at me the most was the Pancake Stacks, served with bacon and syrup, or with fresh fruit and syrup, which literally made my mouth drool. BUT, you may have noticed from my hot drinks choice that I wanted to try and be a little healthy this particular day, so I skipped passed the pancakes…

So with Pancakes, Bacon and Syrup along with the White Chocolate Mocha waiting patiently for my next visit, I browsed the open bagels for a more filling, ‘meal’ type brunch. They have open bagels with pretty much all the hero favourites, like cream cheese, smoked salmon, poached eggs, sun-dried tomatoes, smashed avocado, halloumi… if I could have all of these piled high together on a bagel, then trust me I would!

But I didn’t, as you can see. I chose the cream cheese, smoked salmon and poached eggs topped bagel, and my friend went for the veggie breakfast which was a real good size, with a huge slice of grilled halloumi on the side too. Yum yum!

Couldn’t fault my food choice, and nor could my friend. £9 could be seen as pricey for a breakfast/brunch, but with lashings of smoked salmon and a good sized portion, I felt it was pretty reasonable.

Service was efficient, atmosphere was warm and friendly, prices reasonable (reflective of the Northern Quarter) and overall, a lovely place to head for breakfast or brunch. Although some of the lunches sound tempting, like the Giant Homemade Sausage Roll, Toasted Pannini’s and Veggie Burger, I’d say its got the wow factor with its brekkie and brunch offerings in my opinion…

Perfect little chilled out place for a quiet Saturday morning late breakfast and catch up with a friend…

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