Husband and wife team David Cook and Alyson Doocey opened Bakerie, their bread and wine bar, over five years ago in the Northern Quarter and in that time have established the venue as a go-to for their hearty food and warm welcome.
Last November, they expanded their offer and introduced their new wine cellar, more than doubling the capacity and introducing a much more sophisticated and night-time vibe in the basement – perfect for evening events with larger parties also catered for in their own private dining area.
Upstairs remains earthy and warm, and it’s here we got comfortable for our recent visit to try the new lunch menu.
It’s a given we need to talk about the bread, David’s passion. Baked fresh on the premises every day, the beautiful aromas hit your nose the minute you walk through the door, and when it arrived at the table we weren’t disappointed.
A great selection including walnut granary, sour dough, sunblushed tomato & chilli, and some of the most fragrant and light focaccia we’ve ever eaten. We could have happily eaten this alone for our lunch – with a little wine, obviously.
Their other partner, Dale Meakin, has a background training at Oddbins so I knew the wine offer would be good as that’s where Kate Goodman of Reserve Wines started and she couldn’t praise them enough when I interviewed her last year.
It’s a very comprehensive list with nearly every wine served by the glass, with vegan wines on offer too, and all competitively priced. We tried two today – a white Torrontes Amalaya from Argentina (£5.70 175ml), exotic and fragrant and a fantastic match for our seafood, and a very unusual red Aglianico Feuso Di San Gregoria from Italy (£5.25 175ml.). Next time I’m in I want to try some more off their wine jukebox, now located in the cellar. But back to the food…
The menu is a mix of hearty sandwiches, lunchtime stews, salads and light bites, all priced around £4 to £6, so great value for the area. There are also their renowned Bakerie boards, one of which we shared to start – the seafood board. All freshly prepped, cured, smoked and pickled in-house, you choose from three out of smoked Scottish salmon, marinated monkfish cheeks, pickled whitebait, fish goujons, king prawns and sea trout.
We chose the smoked Scottish salmon (which has the most fantastic red and purple colouring as it has been cured in beetroot), the sharp and tangy balsamic and grapefruit pickled whitebait, and the delicate smoked sea trout with dill and lime. The board was stunning and very elegant with a fresh Scandinavian feel. We loved it with the gorgeous and floral white wine.
Moving on to more hearty fare, we tried the eggybread ‘n cheese, topped with mac ‘n cheese and smoked streaky bacon, gorgeously oven baked and crispy! It might sound a bit too much but it really works, and if you’re after a big warming sandwich on a cold day you can’t go wrong with this one. The fresh-baked spongey bloomer bread is particularly effective for the eggybread itself.
The salt beef sandwich is more of a classic sarni but no less filling and you can choose which of their breads you like with the salt beef, vine ripe tomato, mini pickles and wholegrain mustard mayo.
Lastly, we shared the old skool rabbit one pot stew. It’s so refreshing to see rabbit on the menu as it’s quite hard to find normally, and this is definitely one for an icy day. Warming broth with tender chunks of rabbit slowly cooked with root veg and bacon, it took me right back home to my mum’s daily servings of Polish soups and stews. Delicious.
Bakerie can be whatever you want at lunch. A quick salad or sandwich or a much more pondered sharing affair with friends and wine. Either way you won’t go wrong. With both quality and quantity spot on, who says you can’t have both?
To see the lunch menu and all events go to www.bakeriemcr.com