The Mancunion

Britain's biggest student newspaper

Review: Federal

Two experiences of Manchester’s coolest brunch bar

By and

Millie Nettleton

By Friday morning, I was definitely feeling ready for reading week. The desperate need for the comfort of mother’s cooking and cuddles from my dogs had kicked in. Just to make it through that last day, I needed a pick me up — a quiet brunch, sat by the window, free to read my book and people watch.

I chose Federal, first city centre cafe to come up when typing in “Best Brunch Manchester” into google. The website greeted me with rustic pictures of eggs on sourdough and perfectly foamed coffees — just what I was looking for.

Upon arrival, there were people queuing out the door: turns out Federal also do their drinks and sandwiches to go. The counter near the door caused some confused hustle and bustle, but eventually I got a seat on the end of a high table. It was packed, and there wasn’t much room. I was perched on the remaining bit of a bar type table of four, leaving me undeniably a little uncomfortable. I couldn’t truly unwind in the way that I had hoped.

Nevertheless, the food made up for it. To start with, I wanted absolutely everything on the menu: I couldn’t decide whether to go for the delicious looking Banana bread, or a sandwich, and did I want the delicious smelling coffee, or a good old cup of tea? I finally settled on a tea (I’m slimming, you know), and a rather curious sounding bagel: “Citrus Avo, with dukkah mix and mushrooms”.

Best decision I’ve ever made.

What I’m assuming was the dukkah mix gave the bagel an indian-style spice kind of taste, and the mushrooms must’ve been cooked in it, as they were out of this world.

No wonder the restaurant was so busy then, though I couldn’t help but think that they should definitely invest in an expansion; it would be difficult to seat a party of more than two here.

Since this first experience, I’ve been back for a delicious bowl of porridge, and nicked a bit of my friend’s banana bread which was warm and a definite possibility for comfort food. I plan to keep going back till I’ve tried everything on the menu.

Francesca McClimont

If you have the time and energy to drag yourself out of the student comfort zone that is Fallowfield for a brunch with friends, Federal Café is the place to go.

Only a short walk from Piccadilly Gardens and Arndale, its location is ideal to take a break from shopping (or, in most students’ cases, window shopping).

The staff were genuinely nice and friendly: when we arrived we were received with a warm welcome and despite the fact the café was full we only had to wait a couple of minutes before being shown to a table.

Federal’s all day New Zealand Australian inspired brunches are sure to cure even the worst of hangovers — yes, I’m speaking from personal experience. The menu options vary from French toast to corn fritters, so it’s perfect to satisfy any craving, whether it be sweet or savoury. I had the corn fritters with bacon — which was initially startling as it had some of the brightest colours I had ever seen on a plate, but most importantly its taste exceeded my expectations.

The corn fritters perfectly complemented the crispy bacon and the egg was fried to perfection so the yolk was runny — the dream! The Sriracha hollandaise gave it a pleasant spicy kick, even though I’m not a spice lover, as it was just the right amount, which made it a brunch that stands out in my memory from others I’ve had. My cappuccino was also good, as well as being extremely aesthetically pleasing with the prettiest chocolate stencilling I’ve ever seen. So if you’re keen on instagramming your coffee this is the place for you!

I highly recommend the Federal Café and Bar because it ticked all the boxes for me: great service, great food, pretty and tasty coffee and a relaxed atmosphere.