Lunch is a funny meal. During the week, it’s usually something squeezed into a working day, which means it needs to be quick, or portable. At the weekend, you can enjoy a more leisurely affair, but it’s still not the more ceremonial sitting that dinner tends to be. And, of course, it often gets nixed by the great pretender, brunch. So, to celebrate the culinary middle child, we’ve put together a roundup of our favourite lunches in Manchester.
Here are our picks
Whether you’re eating on the hoof, easing a hangover – or tanking up for the night ahead, Panchos is a small restaurant with a big welcome. Another Arndale Market original, there’s now a proper restaurant on Chester Street just off Oxford Road. The menu is refreshingly simple; burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas and nachos, to eat in or take away – this is Mexican done properly. Portion sizes come in two options, large or extra-large, with prices ranging from £5-£7. There’s none of this ‘50p extra for guacamole’ business.
This sushi bar is ideal for the al-desko crowd looking for something more exciting than a sandwich (you can also eat in). The salmon sakura box is a must-try, while the seaweed rice crackers are a handy way to combat any mid-afternoon cravings. Open from 8am, it’s perfect for grabbing something en route to work. If you want to impress at the next team meeting, pre-order one of their ‘party box sets.’ There are two branches – one on Oxford Road, the other just off Piccadilly Gardens.
Soup Kitchen does what it says on the tin – although nothing here comes out of one. Bubbling vats of soup are the order of the day here, with flavours erring towards the unusual, alongside old favourites. Jerk chicken, goat curry and hearty stews are just a couple of the regulars on the menu, alongside the daily specials. The cauliflower cheese soup shouldn’t work (but does); stop in and perch on one of the long wooden benches inside or take-away. The soup and sandwich deal is a steal for £6.
Nestled in the Midland Hotel, Mr Cooper’s House & Garden is one of Manchester’s most swish lunchtime spots – and not as expensive as you’d think. Taking inspiration from the 19th century garden that once occupied the same site, a giant tree acts as the restaurant’s centrepiece. The produce is always seasonal, with some intriguing items on the menu that you’ll want to ask more about. This may seem like a more decadent choice but the lunch menu is very reasonably priced; two courses for £16 or three for £20, it’s available from 12pm-2pm on weekdays (2.30pm on Fridays).
You may know Takk as a coffee hang-out, but this Icelandic-inspired spot is also a great place to enjoy a working lunch. Their range of Mediterranean sandwiches is simple but hearty, with flaky pastries and chunks of cake on offer throughout the day if you’re in the mood for brunch. Lingering is encouraged so grab a laptop and perch at one of the window seats.