In the Northern Quarter, (the ‘arts hub’ of Manchester), tucked behind rows of artisan coffee shops and jewellers, two friends are making a craft out of something more unexpected: fried chicken.
Situated on Edge Street, just a short hop from the Manchester Craft Centre, is Manchester’s first speciality fried chicken restaurant. Yard and Coop is a quirky yet modern, minimal yet imaginative new restaurant.
Diners can sit in wooden huts, while caged lights illuminate the stripped concrete floor, their rays fluttering down through the copper bars.
Yard and Coop is the kind of place where even the plastic chairs have a story—they were originally used in a church down South; the kind of place where diners eat at tables made by the co-owner’s father.
The menu is simple, offering a host of filled baskets. Salads, wraps, and burgers; all with a choice of deep fried chicken breast, chicken thigh or halloumi. Each comes with options of the spiced honey dip, a bourbon BBQ relish, or Blue Cheese sauce.
We chose a chicken breast with a Moroccan-spiced crumb, accompanied by bourbon BBQ sauce; we also selected the original crumbed chicken thigh in the Bees Knees Sauce. Although perhaps too sweet for some palates, this was a stand-out sauce, uniquely comprising cayenne pepper, honey and lime.
When our buttermilk chicken arrived—resting on a bed of well-seasoned chips—it was so tender that, underneath the deep sienna-brown crumb, it had relaxed into strands of deep fried ambrosia.Photo: The Mancunion
We were told that the secret to succulent chicken was to take good care of the fillets before crumbing them. Our chicken fillets had been well-pampered indeed. The Cleopatras of the chicken world, they had been given a salt scrub before being left to soak in a buttermilk bath. On emerging, they were plump and juicy and, of course, the perfect pair for a Caesar, whether that be the Yard and Coop salad or a Roman Emperor.
Fried chicken is one thing, but fried chicken with a side of battered, salty jalapeños and a couple of pints of Yard Pilsner and Coop Wheat Beer is another entirely. The jalapeños were just the right side of greasy, and as pungent and sweet as a jalapeño should be. Of their draught beers, the Coop Wheat Beer was the real winner; its fruity, tangy liquid really cut through the richness of the fried chicken.
To finish, we indulged in a warm Bailey’s-flavoured brownie topped with vanilla ice cream. The Bailey’s brownie was standard comfort food. It was perfectly warmed, indeed, it was practically molten. However, it was hard to identify the Bailey’s in the brownie. Luckily with Yard and Coop’s extensive range of beers and cocktails, no guest will be left craving alcohol.
This restaurant has successfully revamped fried chicken to posh nosh level. And if, as students, we have become all-too-familiar with takeout chicken in styrofoam boxes, well, Yard and Coop is here to provide us with an alternative.
The combination of home-brewed beer and gourmet-esque chicken is really not to be missed. And thanks to Yard and Coop’s ‘Big Student C(H)ook Off’ on October 14th, you can enjoy their buttermilk chicken for free.
Yard and Coop
37 Edge St,
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0161 275 2930 University of Manchester’s Students’ Union, Oxford Rd, Manchester M13 9PR