Ply – The Best Vegetarian Pizza in Manchester’s Northern Quarter

It seems that every week a new place is opening in the ever-expanding Northern Quarter food and bar scene. Whilst few offer genuinely new ideas to the mix, Ply hopes to bring a taste a taste of Napoli to Manchester. We’d heard good things about the place after it’s opening in March and so took the first opportunity we could to try it out. Could Ply deliver the best vegetarian pizza in town?

ply logo outside

For it’s food menu, Ply offered a seductive range of freshly prepared Neapolitan style pizzas. Each of the 13 currently on the menu is created with a sourdough base; surely one of the gourmet fast food trends of 2015. Expect to pay between £8-£12 per pizza, depending on your choice of topping. For the adventurous, Ply also run specials at the weekend, using seasonal veg and speciality ingredients.

Each freshly baked pizza is cooked in a wood fired clay oven – another growing trend in Manchester with two in Altrincham (Market Hall and Pix Pizza) and the recently opened Double 00 in Chorlton – at least that I know of.

ply manchester

Away from their impressive pizza selection, Ply does not offer much else, which is a positive for me. I’d rather frequent a restaurant that specialised in one type of food then one trying to be a jack-of-all-trades eatery. However, if your dinning with guests who are on low-carb/low calorie diets (which I was), or simply do not like pizza, you may get unstuck. The antipasto options (Priced from £2 onwards) have been created to compliment your main meal, and therefore are too small to constitute your main dish. Hopefully this will get rectified by adding a few salad options.

On entering Ply you’ll be hit by it’s styling. It is a vast open space; making other NQ haunts feeling positively claustrophobic after visiting. The bar has been kitted out using locally sourced suppliers, with a mixture of classic and modern European design ideas. For me, it’s one of the best spaces in Manchester city centre.

We arrived around 7.30pm on a Friday evening. The place was packed with after-work drinkers and early weekend revellers cogitating at the bar and on the sofas in the centre of the room. Luckily, we’d had the foresight to pre-book and were seated promptly. I noticed that many couples were getting turned away not long after we arrived so I would recommend you do the same to if possible.

If Ply had one issue for dinners it would have to be the excessive noise– as well as offering pizza, Ply also operate as a bar (food orders stop around 9pm) and probably isn’t the place to go for a quiet conversation. It was loud, with the open plan nature if its’ design not exactly dampening the sound of fellow dinners and drinkers. It did make ordering our drinks when the waitress served us a little tricky. Fortunately, the music choices playing were excellent and added to the Friday evening ambience.

Service was courteous and professional with knowledgeable staff that helped us make our choices. I asked on two occasions for the waitresses opinion on what option to have and on both times she was able to offer suitable suggestions – always a big plus for me. We opted for a dry white wine (Picpoul) that was recommended by our waitress – it did not disappoint.

When you specialise in one type of food, you really do have to nail it – and Ply does with flying colours. I’ve been a few wood fired Neapolitan pizzerias recently and I’m delighted to say that Ply offer the best pizzas available in Manchester. I opted for the Courgette Bianca pizza: a marvellous mix courgette, taleggio, mozzarella, garlic and oil. The taste was simply divine, with the subtlety of the flavours not overwhelming the overall taste.

Ply Manchester Pizza

My partner Lizzie went for the Portabello pizza, a classic mix of tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms and garlic oil, equally delicious!

Ply Manchester Pizza

Fancy a bite to eat in the Northern Quarter? In the space of a few short months Ply has become my go-to place for the best vegetarian Pizza in Manchester.

Ply Manchester Antipasto

Holey Bagels brings gourmet sandwiches to the streets of Manchester

Setting up outside the Post Box Café on Wilbraham Road, Holey Bagels has been serving toasted bagels to the people of Chorlton for just over a month. They’ve already established a reputation of serving quality late night eats for hungry revellers and foodies alike. You’d struggle to miss the distinctive red van, and as I live locally I couldn’t resist the opportunity to try them out.

Holey Bagels Van

We arrived just after they had started serving on Saturday evening. With the sun coming out after a rainy Manchester day, business was brisk. We both decided to go for the Cyprus Hill Bagel – Fried Halloumi cheese, cucumber, peppers, rocket & Chill Jam. Service was quick and served by the welcoming owners, who really added to the street food vibe. Each bagel is priced at a very reasonable £4.50.

Bagel from Holey Bagels

The taste did not disappoint. Generous fillings, great fresh taste and excellent presentation all combine to create probably the best bagel I’ve ever had. The chilli jam was the real star of the show – adding an extra kick to the flavours without overpowering the halloumi.

It wasn’t long before the cat wanted a bite :-)

Cat Approved Bagels

Holey Bagels was a delight and really adds something to the Manchester vegetarian food scene. They are open for business from 8pm till 1am late Friday and Saturday. From this Sunday onwards you can find them at the Beech Inn on Beech Road.

Holey Bagels Van

Skip the late night veggie burgers this weekend and give Holey Bagels a try.

Catch them on Twitter @HoleyBagels

1847 – Manchester

bistro1847
I’d been meaning to go here for ages! I’d always heard amazing reviews and mysterious comments about puddings in bell jars etc etc… so Danny, my other half offered to take me for my birthday I was over the moon.

It’s easy to get too, a two minute walk from St Peters Square so ideal if you’re getting the tram in to town. We rocked up at about 7pm and had booked a table. The restaurant was still relatively quiet at this point so we got to pick where we sat. A nice little table in the window…although the trees hanging over our heads were slightly disconcerting.

 

For the starter I had the Mushroom & garlic, polenta,tomato relish and a poached egg [v]. I think this is the first time I’d had mushroom palenta but it was to die for. The texture was so smooth with some delightfully rich flavours running through it. The combination of this with the tang of the tomato relish worked a dream. Egg wise – it was cooked to perfection.

 

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For my main I decided to go with the Beer-Battered Beer-battered halloumi, mushy pea emulsion lemon curd, sea herbs [vo] [gfo] and I wasn’t disappointed. I mean…It’s cheese battered? What’s not to love!

 

Halloumi Fish and Chips

 

The halloumi came in 3 small portions which was great as it meant that the cheese was lovely and gooey all the way through. The batter was light and crispy and made that satisfying crunch sound when cutting into it and the sauces complimented it perfectly.

 

1847 did not disappoint as a birthday treat and I would definitely go again for a special occasion. The prices make it somewhere that you wouldn’t make it a regular eatery but it definitely somewhere to take your friends and family when wanting to impress.

Pi Chorlton Food Review – The Best Veggie Pie in Manchester?

Now firmly established in Chorlton, the award winning Pi should be on ‘must-visit’ of any Vegetarian pie lover. For over five years, Pi’s simple offering of delicious pies and beers have won praise from both customers and critics alike.

Pi Chorlton

If you’re a fan of world beers, Pi is an absolute must. Pi stocks a simply huge selection of beers, sourced from around the world. If you are unsure of what to have from such an extensive collection, Pi also have a Beer guide detailing each beer along with tasting tips. If you prefer draft beer over bottled, I’d recommend trying the Lindeboom Pilsner to go with your pie. As a added bonus, the staff serve a selection of free nuts when you buy a drink, which is a great treat as you decide what pie to go for.

The only downside to there focus on world beers is that the wine options are not the greatest – I bought a bottle of Shiraz a few weeks ago and lets just say ill stick to the beer next time.

The food menu at Pi follows one simple rule: you can have whatever you want as long as it’s Pie. In total, Pi offers four varieties, two of which are veggie friendly. All the pies are sourced from Pieminister, an award winning Pie maker, who focus on fresh, free-range British produce.

My favourite of the two is the Heidi Pie, a scrumptious Goat’s cheese, sweet potato and spinach pie (surely it counts as one of your 5 a day right?!) finished off with red onion and roasted garlic. Whilst the flavours may be a little busy for some, it’s a sure fire winner for me, especially with the goats cheese and potato flavours really taking the limelight.

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My partner Lizzie went for the Wild Mushroom and Asparagus pie – a wild flat and oyster mushrooms with asparagus and shallots, finished off with a white wine and cracked black pepper.

To go with your main, Pi offers creamy mash potato flavoured with cracked black pepper, Mush Pees with a subtle mint flavour and a red wine gravy – easily enough for 2-3 to share per serving. Each extra costs just £1, making this one of the most affordable eateries in Chorlton. Served with a pint of Lindeboom, or a Gin & Tonic, and you are looking at around £10 per person – a bargain in my book.

If you are after a delightful veggie pie and a pint in Manchester Pi is a must visit. Fantastic pies, enough beers to keep even a beer aficionado happy, all served by attentive, knowledgeable staff. What more could a veggie ask for?

Urban Burger Altrincham – Food Review

Opening it’s door in November, Urban Burger has established itself amongst a growing number of eateries and bars in the heart of Altrincham Town Centre.

Piggy Backing off the success from the newly opened Market Hall, Urban Burger offers gourmet Burgers in a modern, sleek environment. Whilst they may of struggled to differentiate themselves in the city centre, away from the hustle and bustle of Manchester, Urban Burger offers a slice of city dining to the locals of Altrincham.

Urban Burger Bar

I went to try Urban Burger just after it opened with a group of friends. They offer a wide selection of burgers, hot dogs and pizzas, although veggie options are quite limited. Hopefully the menu will expand as the business grows.

urban-burger-bar

After checking out the drinks menu, we went for a frozen Strawberry Daiquiri – a firm favourite within our group.

Drink Time at Urban Burger

Once drinks arrived promptly our food order was taken and the service was courteous and professional. After checking out the options I decided to go for the Allotment burger: Grilled red pepper, mushrooms, spinach, the ‘secret urban sauce’, jack cheese, Ubb ketchup, maple mustard and salad.

Although Urban Burger don’t offer any lunch menu discounts or deals, it’s worth pointing out that they do offer excellent value for money. Expect to pay £7-£8 for your burger. Fries are offered as a side free of charge. When places in town are charging upwards of £15 for a similar experience this really does make a difference when it comes to paying the bill.

The Allotment Veggie Burger

When the food arrived it didn’t disappointed – the flavour was well balanced allowing the mushrooms and peppers to really come to the fore. Sauces were not overdone, allowing the ingredients to take centre stage.  They didn’t overstack the burger either, allowing you to eat it without having to resort to a knife and fork.

Overall – I’d heartily recommend Urban Burger to Veggies looking for a bite in Altrincham. One caveat: I have been back since and the veggie hot dogs do let them down. Hopefully they will improve as UB expands.

Burger lovers in Altrincham should check it out ASAP.