Yes more pies. In a nod of respect to British Pie Week
which has just concluded, I’ve written another pie-based blog post.
And after that I will stop eating pies because I can’t afford all this
food blogging AND a larger pair of jeans.
Whatever anyone says about British cuisine, you really can’t beat a
large creamy chicken pie or tender steak pie with thick gravy on a
wintery day. It’s comfort food at its best, and if made from scratch it
isn’t as unhealthy as a store-bought second rate effort.
Nexus on Dale Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter serves Pieminister’s
offering, as does Cup round the corner, which is not a bad thing but if
more places in the Northern Quarter hop aboard this pie train there
won’t be much variation. There is a really good article from the Telegraph
from January 2008, charting the success of this small company from
touting their wares at Glastonbury to supplying pubs and cafes all over
the UK. Like any forward-thinking food company, they use only quality
ingredients such as free-range meat and no hydrogenated fats.
Their combination of a caring approach to their food, good marketing and branding and gastro pub-style fillings have made a great company. The thick flaky pastry tastes homemade (mainly because it is) and goes hand in hand with unique fillings such as Thai chook pie, Wild mushroom and asparagus pie, Matador pie and Mr Porky pie.
The Thai chook pie (£4) I scoffed at Nexus was a lovely creamy blend of free range British chicken, green Thai curry, sweet potato and lime and a perfect filling for a good stout pastry receptacle. All the unusual fillings just bring the good solid pie up to date with our modern eating tastes. A side order of mash is £1, and gravy 50p in Nexus. Shame it brings it up to £5.50 for all three, I’d chuck the gravy in for free, I think.
Nexus is a basement cafe is on Dale Street right next to a shop called Junk. It is funded by the Methodist Church and works with Sanctus1 which is a city centre church funded by the Church of England – but do not let that put you off, non-religious people. The art cafe is a not-for-profit organisation serving fair trade goods and says it works towards “building community and celebrating creativity in the Northern Quarter’ which should, of course, be applauded.
The whole menu looks great, and is enough to induce changing of mind several times. My friend ordered the sausage sandwich, which came with feta cheese, sunny dried tomatoes, wholegrain mustard, served on granary for £3.60. This is a seriously pimped-up sausage buttie.
On another visit, I tried the Tuna mix up (£3.40), which was another genuis sandwich combination where the tuna was mixed up with feta cheese, chunky olives, onion and mayo, and served on warm granary bread.
They also offer free wi-fi, a selection of newspapers as well as home baked cakes and TeaPigs tea, so pay them a visit. Oh and last time I popped in there was an art event called 40 days of Public Solitude where a bloke was sitting in the window bit when you walk down the stairs. Quite odd, but interesting all the same.
See also the Mancubist blog for more information on Nexus.
Nexus Art Cafe, Dale Street, Northern Quarter, Manchester, M1 1JW.
Open 10am to 7pm every day of the week.