Pollen Bakery has quickly become one of my favourite places to brunch in, or get a takeaway treat from. Located in Ancoats, it can be a bit hard to find the first time around, but they are worth the visit if you are looking for good pastries and sourdough. Here I document the first of many visits, back in Dec 2018.
Pollen originally started off as a bakery inside one of the railway arches near Piccadilly station. I’ve heard of their queues even before they moved to Ancoats. It reminds me of bakeries in Paris when I visited. There is an Asian ‘code’ where if there’s a queue, it’s probably worth joining!
The inside of Pollen is fairly small with two rows of tables and a few window seats. The bakery takes up the rest of the space in the back and given the right moment, you can smell the goods coming from the oven. There are plenty of coat hooks for you to hang your stuff too! When the weather is nice, you can find a few tables and chairs outside. I’d recommend visiting early or in between core breakfast and lunch hours if you need to secure yourself a table. Patrons who visit tend to be understanding and will move on once they have consumed their food and drink. If there is a queue, don’t let that stop you from joining! There are a lot of people who queue just to take away.
Pollen’s expertise is in the bread it makes. This is primarily sourdough in various guises from oat, seeded and their special 28-hour loaf. They do, however, also do rye bread. They also do awesome pastries, like croissants and danishes, with seasonal twists added. I struggle to leave without grabbing at least one to take home. Their cake selection is also decent too.
Their brunch/lunch menu changes with the seasons. Expect dishes utilising their own bread and good quality ingredients cooked well. There is usually have one vegan sandwich.
We ordered oat milk chai latte, which was served in these adorable ceramic mugs. I love the feel of these but it might be slightly off-putting to those who are used to drinking out of a vessel with a handle.
The cork coasters were a nice touch too. I think you can get similar from IKEA?
The latte itself was warming and had a good mix of spices and milkiness. Definitely one to try.
I ordered the burrata as it’s one of my favourite cheeses. There was the option of ordering a poached egg instead of this. Served with this were buttered leeks and greens with salsa verde. Now, I always feel like getting good buttered greens a skill and this was top notch. Cooked enough so it was soft, but not too overdone so you got charred bits. The salsa verde elevated this and I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this dish. This was generously served with Pollen’s own 28-hour sourdough toast, which is by far one of the best sourdoughs I’ve had. Perhaps it’s because they serve theirs fresh so you have no fear of getting stale sourdough.
My guest ordered the shaksuka. I’m going with Pollen’s own spelling in this review to avoid any confusion, but it should be noted that it could be spelt as ‘shakshouka’ or ‘shakshuka’. I’ve had plenty of shaksukas in my life and have even cooked it. I have, however, never added saffron to mine and this was an interesting addition to Pollen’s version. The bowl was warming and the poached egg on top was perfectly cooked. For £1 less, you could have had hummus instead of the egg, making this dish vegan-friendly. This was once again served with Pollen’s own sourdough toast.
Overall rating and comments
10/10. I can’t fault the food they serve or the atmosphere. The food is a tad pricey but I know what I get would be good. They are a place that clearly cares about the quality of their ingredients. Their seasonal menu shows a dedication to local farming. It’s just nice to see a place doing something different rather than the bog-standard avocado on toast every day of the year.
Would visit again?
Definitely. It’s already a firm favourite when I have a friend visiting the city.
Address: Cotton Field Wharf, 8 New Union St, Manchester M4 6FQ