I’m not usually a fan; preferring instead to stay away from crowds at the weekend, but I must say that my mind was changed when I visited Cottonopolis this Sunday past.
I would say that Cottonopolis has pretty much become the Manchester’s Finest local, with it being only round the corner from the office and always with Big Wave on tap. The atmosphere is always great too, especially on a Friday night – packed but not too busy and with constant lovely smells emanating from the kitchen.
At the weekend they operate a Bottomless Brunch option, where once you buy either a waffle dish or a special off their Brunch Menu, you can then add bottomless Prosecco, Bloody Marys or Bellini’s for only £12.50. Depending on what you order off the menu this can bring the total to anywhere between £20 and £30.
It was around 1pm on Sunday and it’s safe to say that Cottonopolis was a bit quiet. Not that it was dead – there were quite a few people in there – but it was in stark contrast with the likes of Fress and Federal that we could easily find a table straight away and I didn’t feel bad for taking my time and depriving a constant stream of people the chance to sit down and eat. It was perfect.
We settled for giving one of each of the Waffles and the Specials a try, as well as one of the Snacks which stick rather close to the Japanese inspiration you would find on Cottonopolis’ typical, normal menu.
Opting for Bottomless Bloody Marys, the drink arrived within minutes and was probably one of the best I’ve had in the city, or anywhere else for that matter. Perfectly spiced – it had that characteristic kick to it that you’d expect from vodka laced with Tobasco and pepper, but it was also very refreshing. Adorned with enough foliage for Tarzan to swing it, it looked great and I drank it a little too quickly. Ah well – bottomless.
We started with The Beef and Quail Egg Nigiri (£5), with each sticky rice ball coming perfectly balanced beneath thin, seared beef and adorned with a tiny but perfectly cooked quail egg. Coming with all the assortments you’d expect with sushi, it was wolfed down straight away – the soft egg acting as the perfect lubricant to the rice and meaty beef.
On top of this, we also tried the Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Maki Rolls (£5) which managed to combine both the kind of brunch you’d get on the go in New York, with Japanese sushi. The fact that salmon, or lox as they strangely call it in America, is probably best eaten raw – makes it a perfect, and obvious addition to the menu.
The main event arrived and we had ordered the Pork, Kimchi, Sweet Potato Hash with a Crispy Ducks Egg (£9) from the Specials Menu and Banana and Caramel (£8) from the waffle menu.
Starting on the Pork & Sweet Potato, this dish was so far removed from what I’d usually expect a brunch dish to be that I didn’t know what to think when it was carefully placed in front of my big fat face. Sure, the addition of the duck egg on the top helps, but I didn’t know what to expect underneath – and considering it wasn’t a Full English or a Benedict, I was a little apprehensive.
As soon as I tucked into the soft, slight spicy Sweet Potato though, my fears were quickly gone – almost as fast as the dish itself. Like when I eat Pringles on a Friday night, once I’d started I just couldn’t stop. Each cube of pork coming adorned with plenty of succulent fat, keeping it moist and flavoursome, while the duck egg was rich and provided the perfect accompaniment to every mouthful.
The waffles were a whole different story. Everyone knows where you are with a waffle. The only confusion could come from whether you’re getting an American waffle, a Belgian waffle or a Bird’s Eye Potato one – but in this case, it was of the American variety.
The dish was massive, piled high with bananas, waffles and lashing of caramel sauce, as well as some mysterious mousse underneath which tasted like a fluffy, delicious cloud. I suspect it was some sort of vanilla mousse but I’m unsure. Whatever it was – I would like to have more sometime please everyone.
The bananas were expertly blow-torched up with some sugar, giving them a sharp, brown sugary snap in places, which went perfectly well with the soft mousse and the waffles. For anyone with a sweet tooth, it’s an excellent option.
Overall I was very impressed with the offering at Cottonopolis, and my only regret was that I didn’t order more. I should have also tried the Crispy Duck Leg and Fried Duck Egg Waffles (£14) as well as the Wagyu Brisket and Poached Egg Crumpet (£14.50) – but alas, I didn’t. Next weekend it is then.
The Cottonopolis Brunch Menu is available Saturday and Sunday from 10am – 2pm.
Cottonopolis, 16 Newton St, Manchester M1 2AE
0161 236 5144