FoodWell has become a firm favourite on the Manchester dining scene since launching in February.
The LA-inspired restaurant on the banks of the Irwell is a fantastic addition not just to the Manchester dining scene but its rapidly growing, luxury, wellness scene too.
The 9,000 sq ft space on the ground floor of flagship office development One New Bailey isn’t just a restaurant. It’s a coffee shop by day, as well as a 120-cover restaurant.
At night, the whole place turns into Firefly, a luxurious bar serving ‘Cali-inspired’ tapas where you can enjoy a diverse offering from healthy but indulgent food to superfood cocktails. You can even leave clutching a bag of delicious goodies from the deli counter.
It’s also a multi-purpose healthy haven where you can take a yoga class, meet for coffee or sit outdoors on the heated terrace.
The light-filled space is beautiful, filled with plants and very contemporary. Seating ranges from intimate booths to sharing tables to tall terracotta leather bar stools. There’s also 60 seats outside. It’s definitely roomy.
Founder Christian Coates has tapped into a contemporary appetite for food that is healthy with a generous portion of hedonism thrown in for good measure.
The menu is varied and changes throughout the day, serving up breakfast, brunch, lunch and delicious Sunday roasts. There is also a generous offering of Plannt, the restaurant’s special vegan dishes.
So despite the burgers, steak, fish, and halloumi on offer, Plannt ensures that herbivores are covered too.
We popped down to scope out the venue and try out the much discussed FoodWell Sunday roast which, of course, we teamed with a healthy(ish) Bloody Mary. It was Sunday after all.
A traditional roast with sirloin of beef (£15) was the obvious choice. The beef is served pink, just how it should be, with golden roast potatoes, black carrot, broccoli, pak choi topped with a giant Yorkshire pudding. And there’s plenty of gravy to go round.
Potatoes often let the side down when it comes to a well cooked Sunday roast and are either overcooked or slightly anaemic. Not here. Everything on my nicely designed ceramic plate was cooked to perfection.
Alternatives to the beef include wild garlic roast chicken (£13) or roast cauliflower shawarma (£12).
As someone who gets food envy, I ordered the cauliflower roast so that me and my date could do a swap half way through. That way we get the best of both worlds. It was a very good decision for both of us.
It’s served with the same, perfectly cooked veggies as the beef, and topped with another giant Yorkshire drizzled in gravy.
As a meat-lover I was dubious about just how satisfying the cauliflower would be but I hold my hands up. I underestimated the cauli. It was fantastic and more than did the job.
After polishing off our plates and instantly regretting not leaving any room for dessert, we sat and listened to the live music in the bar area whilst finishing off our ridiculously tasty Bloody Marys.
Half an hour later, we were ready for dessert. They range from a selection of seasonal fruits with sorbet, to black rice pudding or ricotta hotcakes. There are healthy options and damn right naughty ones. We opted for the latter.
The FoodWell sticky toffee pudding (£7) is made with miso and kaffir lime caramel and served with a generous dollop of vanilla ice cream. It’s very salty but very moreish too.
The chocolate truffle torte, with black cherry and creme chantilly (£7) was my favourite. It looked divine and tasted even better.
When FoodWell opened, Christian said he wanted to create a concept that disrupts the market – “something people didn’t realise that they needed but once they’ve experienced it, they can’t live without it.” He has definitely done that.
Manchester isn’t short on places to get a decent Sunday roast, that’s no secret. But FoodWell served up a cracker of a meal. We can’t wait to go back. I never realised how much I needed a cauliflower roast accompanied with a Bloody Mary in my life.
FoodWell is open every day from 10am -10pm weekdays and 11pm on Fridays and Saturdays.
One New Bailey, Stanley Street, Salford M3 5JL