One of the many reasons we love Manchester is its diversity and f&b scene. The food and beverage scene (f&b) is constantly developing and we find ourselves always uncovering new streets, bars and hidden gems, whenever we visit. Mackie Mayor was recommended to us by a friend, so when we had an afternoon spare we couldn’t resist exploring but did the food match the unique building and atmosphere?
Located in the Northern Quarter(NQ) in Manchester, one of our favourite neighbourhoods, and known by the locals as the NQ. The NQ is known for its old architecture, independent stores, cute coffee houses, hipster vibes, fantastic food and so we’ve heard, ‘one hell of a good night out’.
Mackie Mayors is housed in a Grade II listed former Smithfield market building, with 550 covers, 900 in total and an urban space that relies on beautiful, functional pieces to make an impression. The Mackie repeats the food hall, canteen-style dining of Europe. You place an order and it will be brought to your long table, where you eat next to other diners, couples, groups, families, we love this cosmopolitan way of eating and love the chance to chat to others, whilst relishing the buzz of this spectacular destination!
Theatre kitchens surround the edges of the building, with reclaimed cream subway tiles on the counter fronts. There is a stunning, pared-back mix of colour and texture in the Mackie Mayor building: long, dark timber tables; a reclaimed gymnasium flooring, and sleek stainless steel behind the bars. Communal timber tables, folding chairs and a grid of low-hanging pendant lights make the Mackie Mayor a great functional space.
There is a feeling of warmth and community with the industrial, stripped-back surroundings. The place oozes atmosphere and energy. We arrived for lunch on Friday, we’ve not yet been at the weekend so can’t speak for how busy it gets, but during the week it was busy and inviting enough to get a real feel for its unique atmosphere.
To be honest, it was hard to pick what to have here, the space is surrounded by incredible eateries, selling everything from Taiwanese steamed buns, to fresh fish, salads and incredible Italian pizza! We couldn’t resist the first stop ‘Salsiccia e Friarielli’, the pizza’s here were to die for, the sourdough is incredible and tastes so good!
The rest of Grey Coffee decided on the Bao bun’s – apparently they say that you haven’t truly lived until you have tried them! It’s Asia’s answer to a sandwich with a meaty filling (traditionally Char Sui BBQ pork), together with salad or thin slices of spring onion and a bit of sauce all wrapped up in a fluffy bun and folded over. We tried the cornmeal fried hake… It’s like the best fish finger sandwich you have ever had!!
Mackie Mayor lay vacant for years but luckily it was never forgotten and it now has definitely been brought back to former glories. Having undertaken a total facelift, turning it into a glass-roofed marketplace, packed with the city’s finest food and drink merchants, with room enough for hundreds of diners and drinkers.
We were delighted to experience a symbol of the city’s illustrious past and can not wait for round two!!!