Manchester has never been a destination that I particularly wanted to go to; the handful of times I did visit, it would be wet and grey, and my visit always rushed, so I didn’t really take away particularly fond memories of the place. However, when I was invited to attend a charity ball in the city with an old friend, I didn’t think twice: a ball? Of course!
Thankfully, I had another friend living in Manchester who kindly let me stay at his, helping out greatly in the face of shockingly expensive flights from Aberdeen. What was even better, was that the friend was also a coffee enthusiast… and had a list of “must-visits” for me to explore.
The one we decided to go for was the Pot Kettle Black. Located within the Barton Arcade in Deansgate, the cafe gives away its cool character early, with cheeky A-boards leading the way to the high-ceiling, hip venue. The decor is right up my street, with plenty of wood, funky lighting, and a mix and match of seats and tables offering lots of room for all types of drinkers, and eaters. Indeed, not only coffee is served at the Pot, but also sandwiches, cakes and even cocktails at evening functions.
The laid-back atmosphere, tangible from the onset, set me up for a good experience; and when I saw a set of wee trays with glasses of water and chocolate wafer straws waiting to be served along the next coffee order, I was sold – it was obvious the place took the majestic brew seriously.
Without fear I ordered my mocha, while my friend got a flat white, and we took a wee low table near the entrance, overlooking some of the Arcades. The coffee arrived soon after, each on their own silver tray – and both looking magnificent (I wasn’t expecting anything else at this point). The conversation we were having had to stop, for me to savour the first sip.
“Now THIS is a proper coffee!” I said, although the statement simply didn’t give the brew justice; it was perfectly balanced, both in terms of texture – smooth and lingering on the tongue – as well as taste, which was punchy, but with a decent whack of cocoa throughout.
It was gone all too soon, and I would have ordered another one, if it hadn’t been our second coffee within that last hour… plus, I was planning on doing some comparison work later on.
Sadly, that never came to fruition as a tight schedule (having to get back to get made up and dressed, and off to the ball…!) only gave us enough time for this one coffee shop stop, on top of some sightseeing – for once, the weather was generous for my stay. And even though look-wise I still prefer Aberdeen (recently voted the second cleanest city in the UK, mind you!), I do have a feeling Manchester’s coffee scene might have no equals in the country… And a revisit might ought to be on the cards soon!
Verdict justification: Simple: amazing coffee and great venue. Coffee perfection!