Alvarium (a Latin word that loosely translates as beehive in English) can be found tucked away in a corner of the Northern Quarter. This dog friendly venue is a garden themed cocktail bar and kitchen with a meat free menu for food and drinks.
In the basement is Black Leaf, one of Manchester vegan community’s best kept secrets. Although the city isn’t short of fantastic plant-based places to eat, the subterranean kitchen underneath Northern Quarter neighbourhood hangout Alvarium is one of a kind.
Black Leaf is a cross between up-market plant based fine dining with an element of home cooking.
Head chef Grace Stubbs and her team create delicious tasting menus and meat free a la carte dishes. ‘Seared scallops’ remain on the current menu as one of Black Leaf’s most popular starters. It’s a clever dish made using the fat stalks of king oyster mushrooms which are crisscrossed and seared. They’re served with a smear of ‘black mud’, a paste made with tofu, black beans, herbs and spices, and a vibrant garden pea puree.
If it’s on the menu, try the spanakopita with layers of golden and purple beetroot and homemade ‘feta’ flavoured with red onion, garlic and thyme, a simple dish with vibrant colours.
“The junk food game for veganism in Manchester has absolutely hit the roof,” Grace admits. “But I don’t feel like there’s anywhere else doing a really nice a la carte menu with nutritious enjoyable food that hasn’t all been deep fried.”
Black Leaf offers a six course tasting menu for £45 per head with unlimited house wine, and each table is allocated a two-hour slot. Alvarium also offers a highly recommended meat free Sunday roast.
Alvarium is open seven days a week from 12 until last orders at 9.30pm.
Black Leaf downstairs opens from 5pm until 9.30pm