In terms of coffee I'm probably the least likely person in Manchester to ever want to drink the stuff or even sit in a coffee shop. I've just never got into it - it tastes too bitter, and it's one of my guilty pleasures to loudly glug my drink - it spilling all over my chin - something I just can’t do with coffee. In terms of coffee shops, the whole 90's revolution passed me by, and I'm much more likely to head to the Rovers Return than Central Perk when I have a couple of hours to waste. This may change however, because today I went down to Melbourne-inspired coffee shop, Another Heart to Feed…
From the outside, the brightly coloured graffiti exterior of Another Heart to Feed manages to shine like a beacon on an otherwise dreary Manchester morning. Upon entering customers are greeted by owners Alex Hill and Nicola Bell who will kindly sit you down with a huge grin, a menu, a bit of banter and a big bottle of water.
If I had to describe the interior it would be ‘minimal’. Perhaps it's because the place has only just opened, but it looked like something straight out of a Swedish furniture catalogue, but with a few neat Manchester touches. The most prominent of these was Manchester itself - the large windows not only brighten up the place no end - but you can also take in the sights and sounds of this brilliant city from the comfort of your seat. Either that or they’ve just decided to let the food and drinks do the talking.
Like all the best things in life, we started with something wet. I indulged in one of their Australian craft beers - a Prancing Pony Sunshine Ale (£4.70) - a slightly citrusy number from near Adelaide. With all the alcohol on offer originating from the land of Harold Bishop, you'd be hard pressed to find a lot of it on offer elsewhere, and with a decent selection of wines and cider as well as the ales, there's plenty for you budding Phil Mitchells out there.
Other drinks mainly revolve around boiling hot water, and considering I don't partake, it was the responsibility of my mate Jamie to check them out. The coffee is Union Direct Trade coffee meaning it’s sourced directly through farmers who are paid a fair price so they can invest in their farm, families, and workers. He described his cappuccino (£2.60) as "proper fit" and considering he swiftly ordered another one – I suppose that’s good enough for anyone. Add a wide range of loose leaf teas supplied from Bohea Tea down the road in Castlefield and you're all set.
After an extensive chat about the finer intricacies of Jennifer Lawrence, we noticed the place getting busy and so we took the opportunity to grab some food from the menu. Served every day until 3pm, and also available for takeout, the food takes inspiration from Alex and Nicola’s extensive experiences living in Melbourne and travelling through Australia over the last 5 years.
A clear favourite is the smashed avocado with feta, poached egg and beetroot hummus nestled on Trove sourdough (£6.70) and it's safe to say that it was fantastic. The avocado was perfectly ripe and seasoned, and the contrast with the sharp feta provided a welcome change from the sometimes soggy, bland avocado you find elsewhere (or at home!). I was consistently annoying Jamie by dipping my finger in his beetroot hummus; which as a fan of beetroot since my mum put half a jar on my potato hash as a kid - was heavenly. Oh and the poached egg was a work of art – it is to my eternal shame that I couldn’t poach an egg to save my life, so well done.
In contrast with the avocado, I went for the Acai bowl with banana, kiwi, berries, honey and granola (£7), mostly because I wanted a bit of sweet-sweet and also because I was rather intrigued as to what is actually was. When it arrived I was still none the wiser - don't get me wrong, it was absolutely delicious, but it was not what I was expecting when I stabbed my spoon under the fruit and into the acai. Hailing from the mighty Brazil, Alex kindly explained to me that the acai berry is mixed with ice and almond milk – creating something not unlike an ice cream, and not unlike a smoothie. It was delightful and apparently it's also a Superfood, so Gillian McKeith won't be knocking on my door with some empty Tupperware anytime soon.
We finished up with a brownie and a salted caramel shortbread which was quite possibly one of the greatest things I've ever put in my mouth. I was proper full by now, and indeed so was the shop. Not only did this add to the atmosphere of the place; it's also great to see an independent local business doing well, one that focuses on good, honest food in a friendly setting. I could definitely see it as a perfect place for a quick bite in the morning or on your lunch, or just to chill out, listen to some Prince and talk for hours about how JLaw didn’t get nearly enough screen time in Passengers. Oh and I got to glug my drink too, which was brilliant.
Another Heart To Feed, 77-79 Chapel Street, Manchester, M3 5BZ