Harley Young with another of the shorter review series for smaller venues
Where: 58 Peter St, Manchester M2 3NQ
Food/drink type: Baked goods, sandwiches, sharing boards, coffee and wine.
When: Mon-Fri 7:30am-10pm; Sat 9am-10pm; Sun 9am-8pm
Independent or chain?: Independent
Haunt is contemporary, with modern signage and menus, but is almost an ode to the past with its interior design.
There are plenty of leather booths, wrought iron chairs and thick wooden tabletops carefully placed around the bistro-cum-wine bar, but they fill up fast come midday. The audience seem like sophisticated folk that work in the media, desperately typing on laptops to meet deadlines with the help of Haunt’s rocket fuel coffee.
It has a nice buzz to it. Early evening there's more of that but fewer laptops on show.
The main event
I ordered a breakfast ciabatta (£9, available until 4pm each day) while my colleague went for the roasted veg and romesco sandwich (£7, available between 12-4pm), both of us choosing a Fever Tree soda to wash them down.
The ciabatta arrived within 15 minutes and had a decent height to it, a fried egg with a bright orange yolk nestled below a sausage patty topped with smoked pancetta and a slither of provolone. To my mind it's always egg on top, but you can't always get what you want as somebody once sang.
After delicately puncturing the yolk with my knife I halved the butty to see the cross section. Not bad.
The house ketchup was scarce but added just enough tang to flavour the ciabatta, although it could have done with a dollop more to help moisten it as the edges had gone slightly tough. The sausage patty was lightly seasoned but lacked flavour which, luckily, the pancetta made up for. The provolone felt like a bit of an afterthought as it didn’t add much to the overall concoction.
My colleague’s roasted veg and romesco looked good and colourful and had a few pieces of fresh rocket poking out. The seasonal vegetables, including some healthy yellow aubergine slices, were cooked to the point of softening without turning into a baby food texture - thank God (It’s easy to overdo an aubergine). They provided a nice juxtaposition to the crusty ciabatta.
Overall, the sarnies at Haunt filled a hole and satisfied our midday hunger. My breakfast ciabatta could have benefitted from a little more sauce. I’m a sauce girl, what can I say? I’d also have preferred the ciabatta to be softer and ever so slightly less chewy as it was a challenge to get my gnashers around at times.
I imagine on an evening, when the wine is flowing, the candles are lit and the menu shifts to antipasti and sfincione (Sicilian pizza made using focaccia), the entire experience is second to none. As for a midweek lunchtime spot, it provides a scenic backdrop for working and people-watching over a big butty and a cup of Joe.
Food 6, Service 4, Ambience 4
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, and ALWAYS paid for by Confidentials and completely independent of any commercial relationship. They are a first-person account of one visit by one, knowledgeable restaurant reviewer and don't represent the company as a whole.
If you want to see the receipt as proof this magazine paid for the meal then a copy will be available upon request.
Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: cooked by God him/herself.