Harley Young enters the world of anime at Afflecks

What: Animaid Cafe

Where: 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW

Food/ Drink type: Milkshakes, ice cream sundaes, waffles

When: Monday to Friday 10:30am - 6pm, Saturday 10am - 6pm, Sunday 11am - 5pm

Independent or chain: Independent


Tucked away in one of Afflecks’ many nooks and crannies, you’ll find the Animaid cafe on the second floor. From the outside, it's adorned with cherry blossom flowers and the odd figurine displayed in glass boxes. 

Take a step further inside and you’re met by shelf after shelf of anime and Japanese cartoon merchandise, games, gadgets and gizmos ticking off Sailor Moon to One Piece to Chainsaw Man and everything in between. 

2024 06 03 Animaid Cafe Outside
Outside Animaid Cafe in Afflecks Image: Confidentials

Customers can pop in to stock up on trinkets from their favourite shows, or stay a little longer and visit the cafe at the back of the shop which is adorned with manga sketches and brightly coloured umbrellas all across the ceiling. Like most of the stores inside Afflecks, it’s like stepping into a whole other world, one that’s an Otaku’s (Japanese phrase for someone who loves anime) paradise.

2024 06 03 Animaid Cafe Inside 1
Inside Animaid Cafe in Afflecks Image: Confidentials
2024 06 03 Animaid Cafe Inside 2
Inside Animaid Cafe in Afflecks Image: Confidentials
2024 06 03 Animaid Cafe Inside 3
Inside Animaid Cafe in Afflecks Image: Confidentials

The Main Event

The current menu is pretty concise and consists of a range of themed milkshakes, milk teas and fruit teas, two types of waffle options and three different sundaes. Each drink is centred around a character from different animes with the toppings corresponding to a signature look or feel, for example, the Gudetama drink (which I decided to go for) comes with little fried egg sweets on top.

We were intrigued by the ‘Kawaii Maid Supreme Full Set’ option which includes one drink, one dessert, one game or gift and a polaroid picture with the maids, so we ordered one of those along with a separate drink from the milkshake menu; the Zero Two - a strawberry shake with extra strawberry sauce, strawberry boba and strawberry Pocky for good measure.

Both drinks looked adorable and very Instagram-friendly. They tasted very sweet, too - one of these bad boys packs plenty of sugar, so it’s maybe best to keep them as a treat rather than a drink you’d have one after the other.

2024 06 03 Animaid Cafe Milkshakes
Themed milkshakes (Zero Two and Gudetama) Image: Confidentials

Unfortunately, the decorative waffles were unavailable at the time of our visit so we shared a chocolate sundae instead. The sundae looked cute and came with miniature marshmallows. Now, sundae’s aren’t a dessert I’d usually go for - I’m not a massive ice cream fan and much prefer a warm, baked dessert, like a slice of fresh apple pie, alongside my ice cream if I’m having it - but it was a warm day so quickly became a welcome treat. 

We had to act fast before the sundae melted, being careful not to subject ourselves to brain freeze in the process. 

2024 06 03 Aniamid Cafe Sundae
A chocolate sundae Image: Confidentials

Since we’d curiously opted for the ‘Kawaii Maid Supreme Full Set’, we received a small gift in the form of a Hello Kitty-branded keychain and had our photo taken with one of the maids on shift. A unique twist that you don’t get in most cafes, but felt very fitting here. 

2024 06 03 Animaid Keyring
Hello Kitty keychain Image: Confidentials

Judgement Day

The staff at the Animaid Cafe are incredibly warm and friendly, ready with recommendations if you’re unsure what to order from the menu. It’s an inclusive space with plenty of boardgames, magazines and memorabilia to browse through during your visit. 

The food and drink isn’t the star of the show here, the wonderfully playful decor and anime elements are, but that’s not to say you won’t really enjoy dining here if you have a sweet tooth like I do.

Anime lovers, and those just looking for a welcoming space to grab a drink and chill out, will certainly feel comfortable and at home here. They’ve since expanded their offering, too, so there’s even more themed menu items to choose from.

Animaid Cafe, 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW

Follow Harley Young on X @Harley__Young

2024 06 03 Animaid Polaroid
A polaroid with one of the maids Image: Confidentials

The scores

All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, and ALWAYS paid for by Confidentials.com 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. Or maybe ask the restaurant.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their type. What we mean by this is a restaurant which aspires to be fine dining is measured against other fine dining restaurants, a mid-range restaurant against other mid-range restaurants, a pizzeria against other pizzerias, a teashop against other teashops, a KFC against the contents of your bin. You get the message.

Given the above, this is how we score: 1-5: saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9: sigh and shake your head, 10-11: if you’re passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: nothing's that good is it?

  • Food/Drink 6.5/10

  • Ambience 4/5

  • Service 4/5