22 Oct Federal Cafe
Brunch on a free weekday is such a treat. 1) You can have a lie in, 2) it won’t be anywhere near as busy as a weekend. Such was my thought process as I tried to calm my rumbling stomach on the train over to Manchester. Federal Cafe is placed opposite a corner of the Arndale shopping centre in an area jam packed with coffee houses and eclectic restaurants. Their USP is ‘ a little slice of Antipodean happiness in Manchester’, which explains the all day brunch. I imagine no self-respecting Antipodean is going to want brunch BEFORE surfing! They probably get so much lovely sun that each meal could well be breakfast 😀 One thing I do know for sure is that there is a fantastic cafe culture. Melbourne is supposedly the coffee capital of the world, with a surplus of talented, inventive baristas.
The coffee at Federal comes from Ozone Coffee UK. Originally a small but enthusiastic bunch of three people roasting out of a small shop in rural New Zealand, the company has come to the UK, working with some of the best sustainable suppliers. The support for local brands continues through to Manchester breweries Runaway Brewery and Cloudwater Brew Co as well as sourdough from Kendal based Lovingly Artisan Bread. I have heard that my coffee aficionado friend who used to live in Manchester often came to Federal, therefore I can confidently say that coffee is of a high quality here. He remembers the Ozone coffee having gently fruity notes of caramel and raisins. The roast is medium-dark which means it’s low on acidity, promoting an earthier flavour which lingers in the mouth (a more acidic coffee might vibrantly hit the top of your palette). Their milk was always well stretched (aerated), with lots of fatty sugary content to it, never too hot, and to top it all off, always consistent latte art! I won’t pretend I knew what well stretched milk was when he told me that, I definitely had to google it 😀
I’m quite classic when it comes to brunch. The smallest sign of streaky bacon and I’m there. Coupled with smashed avocado and two perfectly poached eggs and you’ve got yourself a deal. Yolks were beautifully golden and runny, providing just the right amount of sauce to dip your pork-laden bread in. The bacon was crispy and plentiful, you could tell it was good stuff as it was neither too salty, oily nor with weird white globules from water injections. I could have done with a touch more seasoning actually – the waiting staff did initially ask if I wanted salt and pepper and I declined. I might say yes next time just in case. The smashed avocado was delightfully lemony, right up my street. Whenever I eat avocados at home I douse them liberally with lemon or lime, it really cuts through the rich creaminess of the avocado.
My friend had the Turkish eggs, again two poached eggs but this time over whipped garlic yoghurt with hot chilli butter, served with two slices of toasted sourdough. If you’re feeling extravagant you can add chorizo for an extra £2. Reportedly the egg to yoghurt ratio was well balanced, though she could have done with more spice. The hot chilli butter could have more of a kick, it seemed the only seasoning came from large sliced chillies. Perhaps some tabasco on the side would do the trick. The sourdough was a winner and added some much needed crunch to the dish.
Not only is Federal open for brunch and coffee, they also do beer and cocktails late into the night ? These include the classic espresso martini but also a more intriguing banoffee espresso version. Whatever time of day you visit, you’ll find staff here extremely friendly and welcoming. It’s a relaxed space with cosy lighting, large dark wooden boards and trendy greenery draping alongside the generous windows. It’s a five minute walk from Victoria station so rather than grabbing a station coffee, dive into Federal for a cup of the good stuff and you’ll be set on your merry way!
Total receipt (2 people): £20.70
1x Turkish eggs 7.5
1x Bacon smashed avo 8.5
1x Americano 2.2
1x Green jasmine tea 2.5
Rating: 8/10 Channeling Southern hemisphere lifestyle goals