Review: Wagamama Spinningfields

Over the Bank Holiday weekend I hopped on the tram into Manchester in search of a good time and some noodles. The Metrolink had just that very weekend re-opened the St Peter’s Square tram stop, meaning visitors from the southside no longer had to schlep across town on foot, hallelujah. I met up with some friends and headed straight to Wagamama Spinningfields (via a cocktail bar) for a fix of noodles. 

We thought we would try a couple of healthy juices before our evening began in earnest. I opted for the “positive juice” containing pineapple, lime, spinach, cucumber and apple and my friend opted for the “repair juice” containing kale, apple, lime and pear. Both were delicious and even though they contained spinach and kale they were both sweet and vibrant. We very much enjoyed them.

Wagamama Spinningfields

At Wagamama you order and it all comes out of the kitchen when it is ready, so you may be given your meal before your companion gets theirs, which is fine. We’d asked for our side dishes to be brought out first as starters and they arrived consecutively. This meant we could enjoy each dish separately as we were sharing them.

wagamama spinningfields

Greedily we ordered three sides to share – Mushroom onigiri, which were balls of sticky rice with mushroom, deep-fried in panko breadcrumbs and served with a spicy chilli and garlic sauce. They were similar to the Italian arancini, but smaller and tastier. They were soft and moist on the inside, slightly crunchy on the outside and bursting with flavour. These were a real winner.

The yasai steamed gyoza were five steamed yasai dumplings, served grilled and with a dipping sauce. I have these almost every time I go to Wagamama and these did not disappoint. Our final side was the crispy fried squid dusted with shichimi and served with a chilli coriander dipping sauce. The squid was soft and well cooked with a fiery hit of chilli, but not enough to make your Gran cry.

Wagamama Spinningfields

Onto the main courses and my friend was keen to try one of the new dishes on the Wagamama Spinningfields menu, the duck donburi. A donburi is a bit like the Korean bibimbap. It’s a big bowl of steamed rice stir-fried with shredded duck and mixed vegetables. Served with a runny fried egg on the top and side of kimchi. It looked absolutely delicious and once the egg had been mixed in it had a beautiful texture. My companion loved it and tried very, very hard to finish it all. 

Wagamama Spinningfields

I opted for the yasai itame, a big fragrant bowl of rice noodles in a spicy green coconut and lemongrass soup with tofu and vegetables, stir-fried beansprouts, red and spring onions, bok choi, peppers, mushrooms and chillies, garnished with coriander and lime.

It was a bit like a Thai green ramen, spicy but with a tolerable level of heat for me. It didn’t skimp on the tofu and it was packed with vegetables. The broth was delicious, just thinking about it has my mouth watering now. If anything it was a perhaps a little heavy on the noodles for me, but I would definitely order it again next time.

Wagamama Spinningfields

For dessert we decided to share a piece of white chocolate ginger cheesecake. I rarely eat cheesecake, I think I’m still scarred from eating terrible frozen cheesecakes in the 80’s, covered in sickly sweet sauce and soggy defrosted strawberries, this was very different.

The base was gingery and crunchy, the cheese smooth and fluffy and it was served with a kick ass chilli toffee ginger sauce (pro tip, don’t dip your finger in the mysterious powder on the plate and lick your finger, it’s powdered ginger and will blow your socks off).

The restaurant was refurbished less than a year ago and is really fresh looking, there’s a large area where you can eat outside if you want. I like that it’s the kind of place I could happily go for a bite to eat by myself, with the small boy and his dad, or with a large group of friends. 

We had a very, very good meal, the staff were excellent; attentive and knowledgeable, recommending we try certain dishes and suggesting great beers to go with our meal. We’ve been Wagamama fans since the first time we visited one over ten years ago, Wagamama Spinningfields does not disappoint. 

Wagamama Spinningfields, 1 Spinningfields Square, Manchester, M3 3AP

We were invited guests of the restaurant, but all images and opinions are our own.

Brunch at Neighbourhood in Manchester

Weekends are made for brunching. After a busy week of work, one of my favourite things is to go out for brunch with my boys, or meet some friends for a catch up over a plate of good eggs, endless coffee and maybe a breakfast cocktail or two. I was invited to a blogger brunch by Neighbourhood in Manchester, to try out their new brunch menu and sample a couple of breakfast mimosas. 

Arriving early on a rainy Saturday morning, my fragrant friend Liz and I were ushered to a table near the bar. Neighbourhood was busy and buzzing, during the week I suspect it’s busy with ladies who lunch, business lunches and people going for after work drinks. It’s known for being a celebrity hang out and whilst we were there I did spy a couple of familiar faces from the TV. 

We ordered drinks, tea and coffee and a couple of breakfast drinkies (rude not to) on offer were Bellinis and mimosas. We were there for a bloggers breakfast where some of the key dishes from the brunch menu were being showcased. 


The first brunch item we tried were the buttermilk pancakes with whipped cream and chocolate sauce. The chocolate sauce was so glossy Mary Berry would have wept with joy. The stack of four buttermilk pancakes were smothered in the sauce and came with a small (too small?)  dollop of whipped cream, the pancakes were sweet and good and I know my son would have gobbled them all up and then wanted to lick the plate clean afterwards.

Between pancakes and brunch we were brought a Breakfast Sandwich to sample which consisted of a toasted muffin, sausage, bacon and fried egg. The chef kindly made a vegetarian version for me which contained a nice crispy fried egg, spinach and mushrooms, although I can’t eat mushrooms so I had to take those out and give them to Liz. We both particularly enjoyed our crispy eggs and my spinach was well cooked and seasoned and was not watery.


We ordered our brunch proper, Liz plumped for the Full English which came with bacon, scrambled egg, black pudding, sausages, tomato, baked beans and toast. One of the failings of the brunch menu for me is the lack of vegetarian options, thankfully the kitchen were happy to specially make me my own veggie brunch which consisted of two buttermilk pancakes, scrambled egg, tomato, baked beans, spinach and mushrooms.


There were some very lovely elements to my breakfast. The scrambled egg was among the best I’ve had, I loved the sauteed spinach which was perfectly seasoned. I found the pancakes an unusual addition, but actually they worked well but could have perhaps done with a dab of salty butter on them. The beans were beans but served in a pot to appease the “don’t let my baked beans touch any of my food” crowd. I was slightly less keen on the tomato, which although it was perfectly cooked, had a garlicky aftertaste which seemed to throw off the balance of flavours on my plate a little.

I had to give my mushrooms to Liz because they make me poorly, she was not unhappy with this. There was a really interesting mix of mushrooms on offer, they’d been well cooked and seasoned and smelt so good. Shame I couldn’t eat more than a tiny nibble.


Neighbourhood is a bustling busy place, and the staff were just the right amount of friendly, chatty and helpful. I think the new Neighbourhood brunch menu is solidly interesting, with some crowd pleasers on there. I’m a little disappointed that there isn’t a vegetarian option listed on their menu, I know you can always ask for them to make something for you, but if it’s not on the menu then as a vegetarian I’d probably be put off by that. It’s such a shame, especially as the veggie brunch I had I would happily order again.

Neighbourhood is located on The Avenue North, Spinningfields, Manchester. Their brunch menu is available on weekends 10am to 2pm. Visit their website for more information or to view their menu.

We were invited guests of the restaurant and were not asked to pay for our food or drink. Nevertheless, all images and opinions are my own.

A Bewitching Breakfast at The Alchemist

On Friday I had a quick pint with some friends, which turned into about 80 double bourbons and ended in the wearing of comedy stick on moustaches. It’s fair to say that when I rolled out of bed on Saturday morning I wasn’t full of the joys of spring.

There was nothing else for it, the only cure was hair of the dog and as many poached eggs as I could feasibly manage. So I arranged to go for brunch with the usually gorgeous and effervescent Liz from Things To Do in Manchester, sadly due to the 80 bourbons the night before, she was slightly less effervescent than usual.

Together we stumbled into The Alchemist in Spinningfields like something from the zombie version of Sex and the City (I’m Miranda, natch). We met a couple of friends there and settled down to peruse the menu. The waitress immediately sensed damsels in distress and furnished us with large, icy glasses of tap water, she kept them coming too as we were knocking them back quicker than the bourbons which had got us into that state in the first place.

Liz went for the steak and hash browns which was served with two pretty special looking fried eggs on top. Me being veggie went for their only veggie option the Eggs Florentine (though I am told you can ask them to rustle up a veggie version of the other breakfast items). Our chums ordered the American (waffles, bacon, sausage, eggs and maple syrup) and Eggs Royale.

To drink I opted for a brunch cocktail, the Breakfast at Tiffany’s, a delightful and deceptively boozy tipple made from marmalade, gin, cointreau and lemon juice. Liz, wearing her best sensible face went for the Passionfruit and pineapple smoothie.

My cocktail was a breakfast delight, full on boozy, but tasting like it should be thick cut and spread on toast. The smoothie we both agreed was the most perfect hangover cure ever concocted. I’m not generally keen on smoothies but this hit the spot so perfectly I had to order my own.

Our lovely brunchables arrived. Liz’s massive slab of perfectly cooked steak drew much oohing and aahing from around the table. Served with little hash browns and a couple of fried eggs it did look amazing. It obviously has magical healing powers too as she looked almost human by the time she’d cleared her plate.

As for my Eggs Florentine, it’s no secret I’d happily marry anyone who gave me a perfectly cooked poached egg and I was given two, do I hear wedding bells? Presented on a hot slate, were two perfectly runny poached eggs nestled atop some wilted spinach on a toasted English muffin, all smothered with buttery hollandaise. It was exactly what I needed and could happily have eaten it all again the second I’d finished.

Breakfast at The Alchemist

I liked the laid back brunch vibe at The Alchemist, there was a real mix of people, the staff were busy and attentive and the food was as good a breakfast as I’m ever likely to have. In fact the hollandaise was the best I’ve ever had, pretty darn perfect. It’s probably fair to say that brunch at the Alchemist worked it’s magic on our hangovers.

You can find The Alchemist at 3 Hardman Street, Manchester, M3 3HF Tel: 0161 817 2950

Disclaimer: We dined as guests of The Alchemist and were not asked to pay for any of our food or drink. It was all yummy though.