I’ve recently been on a roll with reviewing all types of foodie places in and around Manchester, which has made me revisit some favourites this morning.
I was scrolling through my phone and noticed my photographs from a recent review of Pen and Pencil, in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, that I shared as an Instagram review the other month.
Just looking at the photos made me realise this is one for the blog, so here it is: the everyday brunch menu from Pen and Pencil, available from 10am-4pm, which genuinely sticks out in my head for being a real gooden’!
If you’re wondering what I class as a good brunch, then for me it’s what falls under a number of things. First of all, an excellent brunch menu in my opinion should offer a variety of dishes that don’t look like a 100% breakfast or a 100% lunch menu. It has to give variation, an if the two cross over and combine a little, then brilliant.
Secondly, the plates have to be decent sizes. Especially if I’ve skipped breakfast (which is rare for me in all honesty) and I want to have a filling meal at 11am with a coffee.
Thirdly, I want to see more than just avocado on toast. More than often, I’ll order avocado on toast with poached eggs as it’s my favourite dish. But surprise me, eateries! Make me feel nervous about switching up my favourite brunch dish. I dare you. This to me makes me believe it’s a bloomin’ good brunch menu.
Pen and Pencil’s menu was spot on for me. It combines your classics, such as a full plated breakfast, with eggs, sourdough, sausage, tomatoes, mushrooms and hash browns, and then throws in some delightful dishes which can be quite healthy, and others, fairly naughty.
The healthy one’s that stood out included the Smoked Mackerel and Asparagus, which comes with a pot of hollandaise sauce, salad garnish and poached egg. For £9, it’s pretty reasonable and a price you can’t grumble at, therefore it made the cut as the dish I went with. The mackerel was so tasty and worked really well with the asparagus and generous portion of hollandaise which I could pour over as desired.
The Chickpea & Feta Hash was also a contender, except sometimes dairy can give me bad skin so I skipped on this due to the feta. Such a shame, I genuinely adore cheese and could eat feta, goats cheese and mozzarella by the bucket load. My friend went for it instead, so at least I could snap a few photos of it, which are below!
The Smokey Beans on Toast was also another one I toyed with, as it uses healthier cannelloni and butter beans on grilled sourdough with smoked paprika sauce. As you can guess, the decision became quite hard for me, although I was overly happy with the Mackerel dish.
For naughtier brunches, The Elvis and the French Toast sound seriously mouth watering. The Elvis is toasted bread with smooth peanut butter, banana slices, crispy bacon and maple syrup, while the French Toast needs no further explanation!
I always enjoy Pen & Pencil and recommend it to many people when they ask me for brunch or lunch recommendations in Manchester. It’s situated perfectly around a few quirky little independent bars and boutiques, so it always feels like a bit of a hidden gem in an area away from all your chain bars, etc. Plus, they do brilliant cocktails!