I first noticed the Greenhouse Vegetarian Cafe due to the appearance of these gorgeous mint planters right outside the entrance. What used to be dead space is now a quaint place for coffee or lunch. I had high hopes for the food served as I knew they served coffee from Ancoats Coffee Co. (I should note here that I’m not a coffee drinker, but I have heard others praise Ancoats Coffee Co. for their coffee).
Those green planters combined with geometric shapes, wood and chalkboard make a very soft industrial design. I really like the overall feel and it was what drew me in initially.
The cafe isn’t huge but the high windows definitely make this place feel less cramped. The feel of the outside is replicated inside with a combination of wood and metallic furniture, wire decor and more chalkboards. Not shown here are a few armchairs on the other side for a comfier coffee break.
Quiche and salad
The menu at the Greenhouse Vegetarian Cafe basically boils down to quiches/pastries with salad for £5.25, a stew/casserole with pitta for £5.25, a made to order special such as a risotto for £5.25 or a soup with bread for £1.95. Their twitter account @GreenhouseUOM has been updated each day with what they are serving for that day, which is very handy for checking what’s available before visiting. I really like the fact that they change their menu regularly to what’s currently in season. As mentioned, they sell coffee from Ancoats Coffee Co. but if coffee isn’t your thing, they also sell Suki Tea.
The day I visited, they had a sundried tomato and halloumi quiche which was then served with a bowl of mixed salad and optional dressing. I was given a choice between balsamic vinegar or a rosemary infused oil; I went for the former. The quiche was served on a wooden board, which I found hard to navigate; I added some black pepper to my quiche but couldn’t stop some from falling off the board and on to the table. I know it’s keeping with the theme and sustainability of materials, but maybe something with carved edges?
Strawberry sponge cake
I also ordered a slice of very lovely strawberry sponge cake priced at £2.25. This was served on a slate board, keeping in with the theme of the cafe. The cake itself was gorgeous but I found the frosting and filling too sweet and after eating through one filling layer, I then carved my way around the frosting and filling so that I could eat at the sponge.
Overall Rating and Comments
8.5/10 -1 for the wood board for quiche, -0.5 for the cake that was a bit too sweet. The cake is still better than the ones from Teacup/The Cafe at the Museum as the frosting layer isn’t as thick. The slices are smaller than the ones in Teacup/The Cafe at the Museum but I did struggle to eat the latter’s as the slice was so big. The price is also more to my liking at £2.25 compared to £3.50/£4. The quiche I had was very nice and the salad had a wonderful mix of texture and flavours, definitely worth the £5.25. This cafe is owned by the University of Manchester and as such, any staff or students can use the FoodInAdvance scheme to get 10% off. They also work with the Vegbox People which I go into some depth about in my Simple Leek and Kale Soup recipe.
Would visit again?
Yes! Good food and decent price. The only downsides are the long queues at lunch and the small space means they can’t host as many people as some other cafes/restaurants.
Address: George Kenyon Building, Manchester, M13 9PY