The blustering winds chased our furrowed brows, frozen toes and rather dampened spirits over the threshold of the cosy Northern Quarter gem Home Sweet Home. True to its name, the American-style kitchen offered a homely haven away from the depressingly dark and dreary weather that whistled and whirred outside. Closing the door against the cold, the instantly-felt warmth of the charming diner brought some colour back to our cheeks and a quick glance at the indulgently iced slices of colourful cake on display brought rumbles to our bellies.
Although the cake looked utterly scrumptious, having trawled through Black Friday sales with swathes of fellow shoppers, my friend and I had moved beyond afternoon tea temptations. Our efforts certainly deserved the reward of hot comfort food.
Handed our table number on a wooden spoon, and politely asked to sit on the rosy red bar stools until an available table, it was clear how popular this quirky spot was. Completely booked up with young families, groups of friends and couples—the sound of chatter and laughter against upbeat disco records made for a bustling yet personal atmosphere. Our wait was short but dangerously long enough to witness extravagant chocolate, peanut-caramel milkshakes and stacks of pancakes drenched in maple syrup, blueberries and bacon waft by, awakening our numb nostrils to the variety of salty and sweet dishes we could devour.
Luckily a table for two materialised quickly, so our full attention could now be granted to the tempting menu. Plates range from classic beef, veggie and ‘hash-a-go-go’ burgers to smaller plates of sticky chicken wraps and fish tacos. Delicious goats cheese, vegetable and salmon salads were also available but we were here for the famous ‘Home Sweet Home’ comfort food, which they aptly claim ‘Speaks to everyone!’ My friend, as a vegetarian, went for the ‘House Hummous’ with crunchy corn and taco crisps, accompanied with sweet potato fries, whilst I decided on one of their classics: ‘Chicken in a Basket’.
Our smiley and friendly waitress made us feel very at home and recommended the house rosé alongside our beautifully bottled tap water in an old glass milk bottle. With feeling slowly returning to our chilled bones, aided by the refreshingly sweet wine, around us the relaxed ambience unfolded. Our food arrived in good time but was definitely more than just fast food.
Like an autumnal firework, the house houmous was a beautifully presented explosion of pink beet circular swirls across the plate, dotted with mixed seeds, juicy pomegranate and slices of radishes to finish. This was accompanied by crunchy fried corn and taco chips in a little white and blue enamel mug, complimenting the homely kitchen style and decor. Generous helpings of fries and my chicken joined the succulent scene, which just like its label said, was presented in a thatched red basket.
Fried in buttermilk, the chicken was deliciously crunchy yet tender, each soft bite encased in its crispy coating with the little pot of hickory BBQ sauce adding a rich flavoursome kick. Homemade creamy coleslaw, with the ingenious addition of apple, was the perfect touch to the already mouthwatering meal. At a reasonable £10 per dish, with nothing to fault, other than the chef’s overly generous portion control of fries (but can one really ever complain about having too many of these salty delights?!) it was safe to say ‘Home Sweet Home’ does what it says on the tin.
Sadly there was no room for the American pancake stacks covered in maple syrup and blueberries or the colourful cakes we had spied earlier. Like a family meal at home, we were satisfyingly nourished and restored with the perfect excuse to make a second visit for afternoon tea. Gathering ourselves to fight the elements once more, our coats may still have been damp but our spirits were no longer. Thank you for having us ‘Home Sweet Home’, you were a delicious delight.
A PHD student at the University of Manchester has recently come under fire and faced a severe online backlash after a research paper he wrote about masturbating to erotic comics of young boys went viral.