Day Two: Recreate a meal from your childhood
I haven’t quite recreated a meal from my childhood, so much as allowed someone else to do it for me. Like most people, I had the odd Full English breakfast at the weekend when I was a child. I was probably quite late cottoning onto it, as I initially thought there could be no breakfast more exciting than Coco Pops, but I’ve had both the meaty and vegetarian options growing up, and this year I’ve been working my way through the vegan varieties on a mission to find the best of its kind. I have quite a few vegan cooked breakfasts to share throughout Vegan Mofo, and they’ll all be marked out of twenty to help me to find the ultimate, the best. There can only be one. And why not kick it off in good old Manchester?
Eighth Day is one of my favourite places in Manchester. The ground floor houses a shop with an abundance of vegan chocolate, chilled goods and grains, as well as an amazing deli counter divided into vegetarian and vegan sections – they even sell freshly-baked vegan croissants, if you can get there before they sell out. And downstairs is the cafe, a canteen-style affair with an incredible selection of cakes (the vanilla chai is in my all time top three vegan cakes), an array of hot dishes (soup, dhal, stew, 2 bakes of the day and a pudding as well – vegan options are plentiful and clearly marked), and a breakfast menu up on the wall. This was my first time having breakfast there, and I thought it was great!
Unfortunately the plate was a bit too red for my liking: too many beans and tomatoes. The little cherry tomatoes were a vast improvement on the gigantic roasted halves you usually see, but look at all those beans, oozing and contaminating. I can just about cope if the beans touch the sausages, but the toast is a different matter. Toast must never be soggied with tomato juice!
Fortunately I was happier with the dry foods. The mushrooms were nicely fried and seasoned, and there were plenty of them – I don’t like places that skimp on the mushrooms. The sausages were just VBites sausages, but I like them, so that was fine. The real star of the show was the tofu. Two generous wedges of tofu, seasoned to perfection and baked until good and crisp. I could have eaten two more pieces quite happily! My only genuine complaint is that there was nothing potato-based on the plate. Fewer beans, some hash browns, and we are in business!
Service is great at Eighth Day. You usually just get your food at the counter, but breakfast is made to order so they bring it to the table, and are lovely and friendly, and always think to double check if your drinks are made with dairy or soya milk. It’s a nice big cafe as well, but it’s a shame that it’s underground and denies you the opportunity to sit and watch the world go by, which is one of my favourite breakfast activities.
Speed of service: We were the second customers of the day and had a good 15 minute wait for our food. It could have been a bit faster. 3/5
Value for money: This generous plate of food was only £6, which I was quite happy with. 4/5
Quality of cooking: The tofu was perfection: beautifully seasoned and crisp on the outside. The mushrooms and tomatoes were perfect. The beans and sausages weren’t homemade, but they were served at the right temperature. 5/5
Creativity: Bonus points for the tofu, but minus for too many tomatoey elements. 3/5