3 April 2018 by Neil Sowerby

URMSTON’S claim to be a foodie destination grows by the month. Already home to a clutch of vibrant indie operations (see below), its resurgence seems confirmed by one further step towards launching M41.

The McGoff Group has submitted a detailed planning application for this £3.5m development, for which outline planning consent has already been received. By June this pioneering, privately invested food-led market hall could get the green light. 

It’s a break from most UK food halls, which are in refurbished old buildings (Altrincham Market Hall, Mackie Mayor). M41 will be a bespoke, flexible new build, albeit reflecting the architecture and form of the existing buildings along Railway Road and Greenfield Avenue, according to the developers.

M41 will offer a diverse blend of 10-12 food and drink operators positioned around an informal central seating area of around 160-180 covers. Operating partners will be carefully selected  and there will be a strong focus on independents from across the region.

Director Chris McGoff told us: “Anticipation is already mounting in Urmston for the new food market hall, with lots of interest from locals in terms of timings and enquiries from potential operators, which is great to see so early on. 

“We want M41 to reflect Urmston’s vibrancy and increasing desirability as a great place to live, work and play, and have worked closely with the local community to establish their views and understand their feedback regarding the concept, building design and product offering.

“The proposed plans for M41 are exceptional with every detail carefully considered, including indoor and outdoor children’s play areas, private dining, a mezzanine level with additional seating, space for pop-up stalls and staging events, as well as a dedicated co-work hub with free wifi to name just a few.”

The McGoff Group hopes to start construction on site in August, with launch scheduled for Spring 2019. The hall will join the existing array of foodie operators n the town (several of whom have converted old buildings) who include:

The Surgery is, you’ve guessed it, an old doctors’ surgery with stripped wood, feature lighting, slick interiors and a custom pizza oven. One fo the quirk’s of this lively family-run Urmston hub is chef/owner Andy Kershaw’s house speciality of steaks served on a 350 degree volcanic black rock stone. Otherwise for pizzas from the wood-fired oven.

Greek restaurant Santorini originally popped up at The Steamhouse but now has its own premises in Higher Road. Share a Santorini Meze for £22.95, which includes a trio of dips, pitta, Greek salad, stuffed vine leaves, gigantes plaki beans, spinach and feta parcels, halloumi and meatballs much more and imagine you’re on the Cyclades island it’s named after.

The Barking Dog alehouse/kitchen created by Mark Rackham, once of the NQ’s Dough and Apotheka, occupies Urmston’s old post office premises and made waves initially with its ‘Sunday Roast Pie’. Indeed home-made pies stand out on the menu alongside various sharing platters. There’s a good cask ale and gin selection, too, and a jolly feel.

In Urmston you’re spoilt for choice for good beer, cask and craft. Check out The Steamhouse in rail station premises dating back to 1872 micropub Prairie Schooner Taphouse at 33 Flixton Road plus bottle (and can) shop Craft Brewtique at 74 Flixton Road, which also stocks snacks, rubs and sauces from Urmston’s own Smokey Carter and hosts regular beer tasting sessions.

Among food shops not to be missed are Howarth’s of Flixton, an ‘artisan butcher’ offering 21 day aged Limousien cross beef and award-winning sausages and What’s the Catch, Station Road fishmongers offering a fresh, interesting range that will convince you never again to submit to the supermarket fish counter

Urmston Artisan Market

The next one’s due on Saturday, April 7, at new site the Golden Hill Car Park. Up to 100 traders in town every first Saturday of the month with a strong food and drink presence. Not to be confused with Urmston New Market Hall on Railway Road, which is open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday and among 11 independent traders has some food stalls.

Let’s hope all these sterling indie businesses benefit from M41’s arrival, rather than suffer from it capturing all the attention.