Folk & Soul
30-32, Thomas St, Manchester M4 1ER
Last weekend I visited a new spot in the quirky and bohemian Northern Quarter. Adding a restaurant like Folk & Soul is a great addition to Manchester’s vegan portfolio and overall laid back vibe. Normally I wouldn’t review somewhere so quickly, if you haven’t noticed I haven’t actually posted a blog since December! So for me to review this place so quickly after visiting, you know it’s got to be good!
Since becoming vegan at the beginning of the year it’s been my mission to eat my way through every vegan option in Manchester. From straight up vegan restaurants to that one lonesome dish on a meat-lovers menu, I want to try it all. I’m always worried about taking anyone who isn’t vegan to a restaurant like this as I don’t want them to have limited ‘choices’, I know all too well how much that sucks. However Folk & Soul would be enjoyed by meat eaters, vegans and anything in between! My lovely friend Emma and I caught up here to eat some good food and discuss all things happy for her new venture The Happy Conversation.
The food here is a little odd mix that I’m still not 100% sure about. There were ‘main’ like dishes such as the Summer Green Risotto but also tapas ‘starter’ style dishes like the Beer Battered Vegetables, both at appropriate price points. We just picked a cheaper priced dish each and shared the Home Fries. I’d recommend doing the same but getting one more plate for lunch and two more for dinner (yes I am a northerner who doesn’t say tea…)
The best nachos I’ve ever had
These nachos, wow. This was Emma’s main so I only got to sample a little part of it but it’s the first thing I’ll order when I visit Folk & Soul again. They were incredible, a mix of regular and funky blue corn tortillas on a bed of mushroom chilli with pico de gallo and a vegan creme fraiche. I loved that they did a mushroom chilli as someone who isn’t a fan of beans, it was a refreshing and tasty change. Everything about this dish, from the taste to the presentation was 10/10.
KFC, eat your god damn heart out
My main was the Popcorn Cauliflower with Spiced Gravy. A healthier, lighter, but still just as tasty equivalent to KFCs popcorn chicken and signature gravy. I wholeheartedly would eat this dish over and over. I’ve never been able to make my own perfect vegan gravy (red Bisto has my back for now), and this was perfect (I need the recipe). Usually an uninspired vegetable, the cauliflower is brought to life by their technique of coating it in panko breadcrumbs which makes it really crispy.
For a fry gal, the home fries called to me because of the trio of dips that came with it (wasabi mayo, homemade smoky bbq and chilli ketchup). Despite leaning into wedge territory (I know my potato okay), they were perfectly cooked through, lightly spiced and were a great addition to our main choices.
From rhubarb and custard tea, to their own 100% vegan craft beer, Folk & Soul have an extensive drinks list which will please everyone. As it was 10:30am I settled for a pot of strawberry lemonade tea. Serious drink envy was had when I peered over at the girl on the other table sipping what looked to be the most refreshing cocktail ever.
I also saw them busting out the Oatly Barista too (for the frothy vegan coffee aficionados out there).
Visually Folk & Soul is a charming little spot that fits in just nicely with the overall feel of the Northern Quarter. The mint green exterior, pineapple logo and floral graffiti lift it out among the signature red brick of the city. It belongs right where it is. Inside it’s full of natural light thanks to the large front windows and there are fresh flowers on every table.
All the ladies working that day were super lovely and attentive and answered any questions we had. Both the food and the service will keep me coming back.
Also whilst I was there someone was making a delivery of Astonish cleaning products. My tree hugging heart fell even more the for the place!
Overall I’d put it up there as one of my new favourite places in Manchester. You could take anyone here from your mum to your partner. I feel like everyone would enjoy it! If you’re looking for great food, vegan or not, I’d definitely recommend popping down.
I’ll be back, as soon as possible I hope, with nachos and cocktail in hand.
This is my first restaurant review since becoming vegan. For any top veggie eats you can read my previous reviews here.