Liverpool & Manchester's best cafes

Introducing some of Manchester and Liverpool's best cafes, those familiar go-to destinations for hangovers, life crises and a stonkingly good fry-up

Feature by Lauren Phillips | 06 Jan 2016

There's a bizarre kind of psychology behind a favourite cafe. It's that go-to place everyone has for dealing with life’s little quandaries: hangovers, break-up negotiations, unannounced parental visits. A favourite cafe has all the familiarities and comforts of home, with the added bonus of a meal you don’t have to cook yourself.

We spoke to some of the Northwest's most popular casual dining spots about the tips and tricks behind their best-selling breakfast items. Breakfast is, after all, the most important meal of the day, and when you get it right, you can literally change lives.

Trove, Manchester

What? Black Pudding Pikelet
How? "We first came up with the idea of making our own pikelets as a way of using up our leftover sourdough starter. Seasonal food is very important to our menu-writing process, and it’s a very autumnal dish with earthy flavours. We’re lucky enough to get some beautiful organic vegetables from Manchester Veg People, and we use them as much as possible in our dishes and chutneys.
"Salt-baking the rainbow beetroot draws out moisture and gives it a depth of seasoning that can’t be achieved by adding salt at the end. To make the pikelets, we whisk in a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda to 270 grams of sourdough starter, a pinch of salt, sugar and pepper. Wait a few minutes while it froths up, add butter and a splash of oil in a pan, then ladle in the mixture. When bubbles have formed, flip it to cook both sides evenly; it should be golden and crispy on both sides. Top with two slices of crispy black pudding, Trove beetroot and ginger chutney, some slices of salt-baked beetroot, a poached organic egg and horseradish yoghurt to cut through the richness."

East Avenue Bakehouse, Liverpool

What? The Bakehouse Benny
How? "For us, breakfast is all about classic dishes done well. All the ingredients in our version of eggs Benedict are made from scratch and served simply. We bake our own muffins every morning in our bakery downstairs and poach the eggs to order. The thick-cut gammon comes from locally bred pigs, and we slow-cook it overnight for the best flavour. We offer it with smoked salmon, too, which comes from Wards Fish on the Wirral. Saturday’s are the busiest, and we use 40 eggs to make one day’s worth of hollandaise!"

Koffee Pot, Manchester

What? Smoked haddock rarebit
How? "Our smoked haddock rarebit is the ultimate comfort food. Owner/chef Chris worked under Gary Rhodes, and it’s a take on the rarebit they served. The smokey, fishy, cheesy combo shouldn't work but it does. We use Tabasco to cut through the fats and clear the hangover head, and top it off with a runny egg – it’s the ultimate cheese on toast. We try and use local producers where we can: we source our fish from Manchester Fish Market, our cheese is from a small independent, Pennine Wine & Cheese, and our coffee is from Ancoats Coffee."

You also cast your votes for Manchester duo Tea Hive and Fallow Cafe – learn more about them in our What's On guide.