Ellie Gibbs heads to Ancoats’ street food warehouse to try out what’s on offer.
The label ‘hipster’ is thrown around a lot these days, especially in Manchester. The subculture is said to typically involve the likes of plaid shirts, skinny jeans and ‘geek’ glasses.
I confess guilty, guilty and guilty (they are prescription, so it’s completely fine and not pretentious at all).
It must be something about the cobbled streets, the low-hung lighting and the functional/minimal decor of the Northern Quarter that makes people in Manchester want to grow a beard and start wearing vintage knitwear.
As with clothing fashions, food also moves with the times, keeping up with trends to satisfy the clientele’s current palette. ‘Hipster’ style is reflected in the food we are now offered: it is alternative and creatively presented. In my opinion, a great thing.
Halloumi is the plaid shirt of hipster food, brioche buns the oversized jumper. Sweet potato fries, pulled pork and craft beer are the alternative music of the culinary world. Nonsensical parallels aside, my point is not to criticise, but to congratulate the continuity with which Manchester churns out these exciting food innovations.
What better example to illustrate my point than an upcycled warehouse full of independent food vendors: Guerrilla Eats.
Every Saturday from 5pm – 12am, a varying selection of talented street food micro businesses gather to host an evening filled with cutting-edge dishes made fresh before your eyes. This is not an elaborate way of describing a greasy fast food takeaway convention; it is a collection of passionate and genuine foodies creating quality eats.
As I attended as part of a social with The Mancunion, I only bought two dishes of my own and had a sneaky taste of everyone else’s (their reviews are to follow on the site). The first was from trader Mumma Schnitzel, which offered mini brioche burgers for £4 or 2 for £6. Naturally I went for the bargain combo of two, choosing the signature twice fried panko-crumbed chicken with sweet chilli sauce, and a less fiery chicken schnitzel with avocado and something else that I cannot remember. Evidently, the former was the winner as the tangy taste stayed in my mouth and my memory. Crispy fried chicken on soft bread is not a bite one forgets. Not to say that the avo-chicken was not good; my companion preferred this due to the lack of spice, thus proving that varying tastes were well catered for. Further proof of the mini-burger’s success is my lack of photograph.
My second choice was the delightfully monstrous toastie from Big Grillie Style. ‘The Fresh Prince’ was stuffed with pulled pork, mac and cheese (yes, pasta on bread) and extra grilled cheese. It is exactly this kind of diet-ridiculing fusion that gives the event its warfare-inspired name. These guys sabotage the fundamental rules of food combinations, and I mean that in a completely positive way. This IS a treat; it is not a waste of calories like eating a big mac and immediately wanting another one. It’s filling, packed with quality ingredients and deliciously satisfying.
Complemented by one of the bar’s German swing-topped bottled lagers, this not-just-a-sandwich really hit the spot.
As well as serving great food, the atmosphere of the warehouse is something in itself. The long wooden tables, live DJ and fully stocked bar mean that this is a great place to spend an evening with friends. We made full use of the £4 cocktails mixed with scrumpy, rum and juice while others celebrated our outing with copious bottles of Prosecco on offer for the reasonable price of £16.
As there were traders there whose food I did not sample and as there is more to come each week, this is definitely an event I shall be returning to. Hipster food: keep it coming.
Free Entry, Every Sat 5pm – 12am