Polly Checkland Harding
Image courtesy Bistro 1847.

Unusual ingredients and careful cooking make this place stand out as one of the best places to eat as a vegetarian in Manchester.

1847 isn’t the kind of vegetarian restaurant we’d recommend you take your evangelist meat-eating friends to – but that’s no bad thing. Why? Because eating out as a vegetarian can often become about fitting in (“no, no, it’s ok, the watermelon salad will do fine for me. I wasn’t hungry anyway”), whereas this place does meat-free food so determinedly that you might not recognise all the vegetables on the menu. The plates are seasonal, experimental, sometimes a little bit weird – but they change so regularly that you’re unlikely ever to get bored.

It’s the kind of place where the food really is the centrepiece

Happily, 1847 also manages not to feel puritan; it’s not what you’d call cosy, with a fairly stripped-back aesthetic, all muted greys, whites and greens, with hanging saplings around the high-ceilinged glass entrance – but the atmosphere is laid-back and the light has a good glow to it. It’s the kind of place where the food really is the centrepiece: and, when we last went, it merited this, most of the time. The cucumber gazpacho starter was a slightly bilious thing, and we could have done with less of it, and more of the rice crisps that came on the side. The puy lentil starter, with roasted carrot, spring onion and garlic tofu, was well cooked, if also not the kind of welcoming handshake you want at the start of a meal.

The mains, however, extended the kind of bear hug that made up for it. My companion (not The Beard this time, she’d like to be known as The Bumpkin), was eulogizing about her potato cake with wilted spinach and walnut pesto almost as soon as the fork reached her face – declaring that she’d dearly like the potato cake itself to be sold on street corners in brown paper bags. The bell pepper ragu, meanwhile, put me in mind of this scene in Ratatouille. The deserts were also good, and pleasingly unusual (beetroot jam and passion fruit with Earl Grey cake, anyone?). Perhaps what I said at the start about not taking carnivores is unfair – if you want someone to understand how good eating out as a vegetarian can be, take them here.

This is an independent review, but our writer didn’t pay for her meal. For more info on our editorial policy, read our About page.

Chapel WalksManchesterM2 1HN View map
Telephone: 0161 832 8994 Visit Now

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