Manchester

Eat your greens. And your pinks. And your yellows.

Edible garnishes are in

The view out of the window remains pretty gloomy, so we’re getting our dose of tropical on our food instead. It’s the rise of the edible flower

The Garden in Hale, Cheshire, serves Earth-friendly food and cakes

No planet B

With a menu that champions Earth-friendly food, and some of the most creative uses for a beetroot/lentil/radish, it’s no surprise that The Garden in Hale are whacking edible flowers on everything – including cheesecakes, carrot cakes, açaí bowls, chickpea crêpes, broccoli salads. They’re not just for decoration (although, this is some beautiful food), it’s for flavour, too. They love them so much they even went and wrote a handy beginner’s guide to eating blooms.

New Northern Quarter Manchester restaurant brasserie Fress

Breath of Fress air

It’s only been open for a few weeks, but already Fress is being hailed as one of the prettiest, best put-together establishments in town. It’s down to more than just the marble tables, the Kilner jars and the monochrome tiles – the brasserie is also serving some ah-it’s-almost-too-gorgeous-to-eat food. Take their French toast topped with halva ice-cream, a berry champagne compote, and a tiny viola. They also stick a flower in their incredible lychee and apple margaritas.

Little Window at Altrincham Market Manchester with brunch

Window dressing

Slow-cooked lamb, eggs, harissa, toasted sourdough – this is the dominant brunch dish in Altrincham, served up by the team at Little Window in the market house. It was voted one of the country’s top 50 breakfasts by The Guardian. It’s rich, earthy and savoury – stunning inside the mouth, but leaning a bit towards the brown/beige scale to the eye. So they sprinkled it with tiny pink chive flowers. Et voilà. A winning brunch dish.

Stuffed courgette flowers at TNQ in Manchester's Northern Quarter

Get stuffed

Why have a flower garnish when you could turn it into the star of the show? While we’re all busy spiralising our courgettes (and sometimes our fingertips in the process), TNQ stuff the flowers with a creamy goat’s cheese and serve it with a piperade – a tomato and sweet pepper Basque-style dish. They’ve also been known to pop a pansy on a pâté, which does help to approve the kerb appeal of one of the planet’s least pretty plates.

Sharing cocktails at The Laundrette in Manchester

Floating bar snacks

Cocktail garnishes can get a bit silly these days, but we happen to be quite fond of a silly garnish – especially one that doubles up as a light snack. Winners on the garnish front include The Washhouse (slices of Battenberg as well as the usual viola), Rosso (the refreshing Farfalla in Giardino cocktail is served with a (sadly not edible) pink rose), and The Laundrette (their Mrs McGregor’s Flower Bucket sharing cocktail is presented on a slab of turf and littered with edible blooms).

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