IT has been a frantic summer of openings with the brunch and coffee field particularly congested. How to stand out above the crowd? Well, Seed & Cherry, which opened on Monday, August 5 (you might catch the 50 per cent soft launch food discount until the 9th if you’re quick) ticks a host of terrific boxes. Coffee ✓ Food ✓ Design ✓.
We popped into their 20 Church Street premises, once the home of 63 Degrees, the French restaurant now up on High Street, to sample their coffee and food.
Coffee ✓ Owners and Faizan and Aqsa Zaheer source theirs from acclaimed Leeds roasters North Star with contacts across continents and an ethical, sustainable approach second to none.
Through them Seed & Cherry are able to showcase at the same time coffees from Colombia, Rwanda, Brazil and Kenya, each bean with a different story to tell from seed to cup, through the planting, harvesting, roasting and rigorous tasting process.
On our visit we tried Rwanda Twumba, a juicy, citric profile with a caramel texture and notes of dark chocolate and Brazil Fazenda Rainha da Paz, a heavy, rounded, creamy coffee with flavours predominantly of cacao and stone fruit with mild nutty notes. Both exquisite and at a reasonable price for such exclusive quality.
Faizan, with a background in healthcare, has an equally fastidious approach to promoting it. Seed & Cherry is an ‘experiential coffee shop’, where customers will be encouraged to select a different coffee bean each time they visit.
An interesting approach, akin to specialist craft beer taps, which have introduced styles once barely considered. Or akin to the gradual emergence of natural wines. Still coffee shops are a competitive field with strong customer loyalty to the likes of Takk, Federal, Idle Hands, Grindsmith, Pot Kettle Black and, give it time, new arrival Over Under.
Food ✓ That’s where Seed & Cherry’s brunch and lunch menu may give them the edge – attractive enough to make S&C a restaurant experience. It’s curated by Stephen Midgley, best known in these parts as head chef at Paul Heathcote’s Spanish restaurant ahead of its time, Grado (on the site now occupied by New York Street Grill). He worked with Heathcote on the catering for the recent Manchester International Festival and his NB Catering Consultants has fingers in many Manchester pies.
No pies on the menu. Breakfast dishes include super berry acai bowls, brioche French toast, full English breakfast skewers and vegan pancakes, while lunches and light bites will feature beetroot and feta toasted sourdough, halloumi skewers, truffle fries and a variety of fresh salads.
Halloumi is a stalwart ingredient, not just for those skewers, roasted and served with a coriander chutney, but also as fried, honey-glazed kingpin of an orange and watercress salad (£8.20).
An even better salad is the one featuring cumin roasted cauliflower and chickpeas (£7.90), while two dishes on sourdough toast really stood out. I loved the unusual scattering of broad beans, chilli and parmesan on one and the richness of roasted flat mushrooms, goat cheese and wilted spinach on the other. Both £8.
Decor ✓ These dishes are pretty on the plate and the setting is handsome too. The interior has been designed by local agency NoChintz. It “pays homage to the natural process of coffee making with combined raw materials of hessian and palette stained woods and create a flexible environment to transition from day to night.” We told you the owners were fastidious.
Seed & Cherry, 20 Church Street, Manchester, M4 1PN. 0161 832 0033.