Home Sweet Home, Manchester, 49-51 Edge Street, Manchester, M4 1HW – Visit Now
It may call itself a milk-bar-stroke-kitchen, but let’s not beat about the bush: everybody knows Home Sweet Home for its cake. Glance at this Northern Quarter café’s Twitter feed and you’ll be overwhelmed by impressive uploads of fresh-baked goods.
So much so, that while showing some café-owning friends around the city recently, a stop-off at this ode to butter icing felt just as obligatory as some of the better-known Manchester landmarks. “Look!” I said, pointing at the hulking candied monsters on the counter, with levels of awe normally reserved for the city’s architectural highlights. In all honesty, we lingered before heading around the corner for something a little more refined.
So the question is this: is Home Sweet Home’s reputation as the sugary kingdom of cake deserved? And how does it fare in the savoury stakes?
While there was once a fantastic club sandwich on offer at Home Sweet Home, its new menu hasn’t escaped the unofficial Americana policy that pervades the Northern Quarter food scene these days. The idling presence of the A-word is rather tiresome, but it’s worth noting that this place plays the sweet potato card with ease.
I ordered the Pulled Pork Pile Up – and subsequently realised that apparently everyone else had, too. Mouthwatering plates weaved their way through tightly packed tables, and when mine arrived (promptly too, for lunchtime) I could see why. Less a pile, more of a copious heap: there was so much pork that I briefly considered a doggy bag to prolong enjoyment to the next day. Juicy jalapenos peppered (haw) the lashings of BBQ sauce and salad leaves atop a bed of well-spiced sweet potatoes. A satisfied food silence ensued.
My vegetarian dining companion found the menu somewhat harder to navigate, what with all the ribs and buttermilk fried chicken. She went for a falafel halloumi wrap, which was tasty but a bit tepid. A notable mention, however, should go to the sides of guac-mayonnaise and sweet chilli dipping sauce, which did their best to give the wrap a moment of true glory.
With guacamole debris and plates cleared, we tested Home Sweet Home’s milk bar status. “Milk Bar” seems to be one of those much bandied around food-trend terms that conjures up images of soda fountain counters, noisy straw-schlurpin’ punters and little Jimmy Stewart serving choc-coconut ice-cream at Gower’s Drugstore in It’s A Wonderful Life. In essence, a milk bar says mid-century America; so too did the Nutella and marshmallow milkshake we ordered. This glorious treat came speckled with sprinkles and a perfect oozing ‘mallow. Though I’m not convinced that shakes alone maketh a milk bar, there was no faulting ours.
And so to the crème de la crème – to the cake that was hoisted from an apple frosted, Pop Tart-smattered cabinet like a puppy from a pet shop window. A moist slice of carrot and caramel popcorn sponge, handed to us with two forks. With a hefty 50:50 ratio of sponge to icing, and toffee chunks and glitter just for good measure we realised that Home Sweet Home isn’t where you come simply for an exquisite slice.
This is where you come for sugar and show and to Instagram the contents of your plate. True to form, just as an E number-induced slump kicked in, I spotted the couple at the next table doing just that, selecting candy-hued filters to match their candy-hued food coma.
Admission ChargesFree entry
Services and FacilitiesCafe, restaurant, bar