Award-winning chef Mary-Ellen McTague is helping to develop a new and exciting concept for Manchester Art Gallery’s café.
The Gallery Café will be a space to enjoy great quality British food in its glorious setting. The menu will feature updated traditional and classic café dishes, with a focus on Manchester’s culinary heritage.
Cakes, pastries, homemade sourdough, soups, sandwiches, salads, cheese boards and braises will feature on the menu.
“The café is in one of the most beautiful and iconic buildings in Manchester, right at the heart of the city,” says Mary-Ellen, who is best known for her restaurant Aumbry as well as working in Michelin-starred kitchens and on collaborations such as The Real Junk Food Project.
“Our aim is to create something for all to enjoy. We want to see people coming into our cafe whether or not they are visiting the gallery, because they can count on the quality of the food and drink and a warm welcome.
“We’ll be cooking classic dishes such as quiche and Welsh Rarebit, griddle scones, Chelsea buns, lardy cake and crumpets and reviving the Breville toastie”
Everything will be made in-house, with much of the produce provided by its own Victorian kitchen garden at the front of the gallery.
The rest of the produce will be locally sourced where possible – milk, eggs and butter from nearby farms in Cheshire and Lancashire and the flour from Yorkshire.
The drinks menu will include wine, beer, tea, coffee and soft drinks, also thoughtfully put together using local producers and suppliers, offering the same quality, interest and emphasis on sustainability as the rest of the menu.
A new children’s menu will be created in partnership with Real Junk Food Manchester, the not-for-profit company which uses perfectly good food that would otherwise go to waste and turns it into nutritious and delicious meals, for which it charges on a pay as you feel basis.
Dating back to 1835, Manchester Art Gallery showcases a mix of old and new art, craft, design, fashion, photography and more, all designed to inspire, educate and entertain, whilst remaining open, accessible and relevant to all visitors. The Grade I listed gallery is one of the most popular in the country, with over 600,000 visitors every year.
Thom Hetherington, who has recently been appointed a trustee of Manchester Art Gallery, said: “The gallery has nourished the souls of Mancunians and tourists for generations, but it is important that it also fills their bellies. Mary-Ellen delivers clever, crowd-pleasing and ethical food which will match the ambitions of the gallery and undoubtedly attract a new audience to one of the city’s most delightful dining spaces.”
The new space offers 100 covers, table service, and outside seating in front of the gallery will also be available. The Gallery Café opens on June 16 and will be open from 10am to 5pm daily, and Thursdays until 9pm.