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8th February 2022

The Allotment: Beyond a Veganuary treat

Fancy trying a new city centre restaurant? The Allotment is a great place to give a fully plant-based menu a chance!
The Allotment: Beyond a Veganuary treat

The Allotment is the perfect place for foodies attempting to continue Veganuary, ‘do what you canuary’ , or who simply want to cut down on meat. Based in Manchester’s city centre, the Allotment offers an array of small and large plates, all plant-based and bursting with flavour,  along with a selection of vegan wines, cocktails and beers.  Having moved three years ago from Stockport to Deansgate, the kitchen continue to source their ingredients from a local delivery service named ‘Ametto’, in an attempt to actively maintain a low carbon footprint. Liam, our lovely waiter for the night, informed us that the opening times are designed to fit around bus timetables, so as to enable the staff to take public transport to work, keeping at least a few more cars off of Manchester’s roads.

Upon first entry the ambience is set, with candles lighting up the wooden floor and scattered greenery of the dining area. Lining the walls, gorgeous artwork vegetables painted by the owner’s wife add a burst of colour to the restaurant, and are also for sale at for around £100 a piece.

The menu itself is split into two sections – smaller and larger plates. The smaller plates can be ordered individually as a starter or side, or together to be nibbled on tapas-style. We opted to share two small plates as a starter: the Cauliflower Wings (for £6), and one of their best sellers, the Miso Maple Mushrooms (again for £6). The wings were extremely crispy, and the cauliflower had a dry spice. I couldn’t manage the sriracha mayo which they were paired with, so if you aren’t good with spice I would recommend asking for normal mayo. The mushrooms were dotted around the plate with aioli, allowing the balance between taste of salty miso mushrooms and sharp garlic to shine through, with crispy onions adding texture. I  found myself tempted by the Tofu Satay Skewers (for £5.25) and the Roasted Butternut Squash with pomegranate and spinach (for £6.50), but had to be sure to leave room for the main course.

We ordered three mains and decided to share them all.  The wild mushrooms of the Mushroom Ramen were cooked beautifully, each bite bursting with sweet juice. The portion size was large for £13.50, and I enjoyed the pak choi and kale hidden beneath the noodles in the broth. The broth itself was extremely moreish and despite being full, I managed to almost lick the bowl clean. The Jackfruit Tacos (£12.50) arrived with with guacamole and fresh salsa, and quickly became my favourite dish of the night. Unlike Quorn or beef tacos, the texture of jackfruit held the sweet barbecue taste with every bite, contrasted against a kick from the sriracha mayo. Having small dishes of sauce allows you to add as much or as little guacamole as you like  – for me it was piled on top! The Chestnut Bourguignon (£14) served with mashed potatoes had a soft, surprisingly grainy texture, but made for a tasty dish and again, the portion size was large. Polenta Fries (£4.50) were crisped to perfection and generously salted on the outside, yet melted in the mouth past that initial barrier. I could’ve eaten three more portions of that deep-fried goodness.

Then came my personal highlight of the experience – dessert. The Hazelnut Slice (£6.50) served with Belgian chocolate ganache, salted caramel praline and ice cream could easily have been mistaken for a non-plant-based pudding. The ganache was sweet and smooth, with a sour raspberry garnish breaking through the richness.   Sticky toffee and mulled wine poached pear caught my eye as another option to finish the meal with.

The relaxed atmosphere, delicious and ethically sourced food, and friendly staff made for one of the most enjoyable dining experiences I’ve had.  Vegan or not, be sure to head to The Allotment. Better still, head between 12-3pm Monday to Friday, to make the most of the the year round lunch deal of two small plates and a hot drink for only £10.

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