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The Valentine’s edit: brunch dates

With Valentine’s Day finally here, our inboxes are being bombarded with the best dining deals to be had. Yet, I raise a less conventional alternative to the stuffy 3-course Valentine’s Dinner; don’t discard the power of the brunch date this February 14th.

Either a standalone event or the precursor to a fun-filled date day, my compilation of brunch spots from South Manchester and beyond will leave you and your S.O. spoilt for choice.

Photo: Anneliese Murray

Caramello of Didsbury

Caramello is a new find for me, but one that instantly earned itself a spot in my brunching line-up. Situated just off Wilmslow Road in Didsbury, you could easily make your brunch date stretch into the afternoon if you followed it up with a walk in the Fletcher Moss Botanical Gardens. The interior boasts Instagram-friendly pastel colour schemes and a floral feature wall, but do not fear that this will compromise the quality of your food.

A classic avocado with eggs dish was jazzed up here with feta cheese, beetroot hummus and chilli, packing a flavourful punch for a reasonable price tag. My only complaint here would be that I would have preferred sourdough toast, as the bread was slightly soggy and underwhelming. I didn’t stop at eggs, however. Did you know that brunch dessert was a thing?

If you didn’t know, get to know. The banana bread here might just have been life changing. Moist, warm and beautifully trimmed, it was a showstopping close to a fairly great brunch.

The staff at Caramello were also really friendly and helpful, which always makes the experience more enjoyable. Overall, a lovely spot if you fancy a trip to the more civilised side of South Manchester, and one I fear might be overlooked due to its tucked away location.

Photo: Anneliese Murray

Photo: Anneliese Murray

Ezra & Gil, Northern Quarter

Ezra & Gil is a much more well-known spot whose reputation prevails.

However, it deserves a mention as one of the original brunching spots I discovered in Manchester as a first year. The café has a super welcoming and communal feel, and the food is exceptionally good.

It’s ever so slightly pricier than Caramello, unsurprising when you take into account its city-centre location and popularity, but the quality of their food, cakes and coffee have always left me feeling that my pounds have been well spent. I’ve tried a lot of Ezra’s offerings, but if you’re a fan of pumpkin then I’d recommend their smashed pumpkin on toast served with crumbled feta and a poached egg, it’s a contemporary take on the conventional avocado offerings and it’s very good.

Photo: Anneliese Murray

Photo: Anneliese Murray 

Alabama’s All-American Eatery, Northern Quarter

Another well-known spot that is worth a visit is Alabama’s. Less about fresh, refined flavours and more about carby American goodness, at Alabama’s more is more.

It’s always busy but for good reason: you’ll struggle finding pancakes as good as these anywhere else in Manchester. They were recently kicked out of their building, but you can now find them on Tariff Street. Personal favourites include both the berries ‘n cream and banoffee pancakes, but the savoury options look tasty too if one of your party doesn’t have a sweet tooth.

And a mention for those who didn’t make the cut…

Some other brunching hotspots include; Another Heart to Feed in Didsbury, Federal, which boasts Northern Quarter and Deansgate spots, Dishoom for their breakfast naan, Haus in Fallowfield if you’re feeling lazy, I could go on…regardless of where you brunch, a brunch date never disappoints. Start the celebrations (eating) early, because nothing says I love you quite like a food coma and an early night.

Tags: brunch, brunch dates, food recommendations, Valentines

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