Serendipity led me to the Fig + Sparrow cafe today. I had an hour left before I had to get my train back to London, and I was wandering around the Northern Quarter looking for a place to eat something sugary. My eye was caught by this cosy-looking cafe.
Fig + Sparrow is owned by the lovely Emily and Jan, both of whom were working in the cafe while I was there. When I did my customary walk-in-and-ask-about-the-gluten-free-things, I was pleasantly surprised. They were both friendly and clued up about gluten and coeliac disease as one of them (I forgot to ask which!) is gluten-intolerant herself. I felt like I was in safe hands.
I ordered a hot chocolate and a salted caramel chocolate brownie; both gluten-free, and both absolutely scrumptious. It is a rare treat for me to have a hot chocolate out, as so many of the powders used by cafés are not suitable for coeliacs.
The brownie was far removed from the dry, stodgy ones you find in every other chain cafe – the salted caramel was a genius addition and it was perfectly squidgy. The brownies are made by the awesomely-named Brownie Owl Bakery.
As well as the sweet offerings (3 different types of gluten-brownie), Fig + Sparrow offers a seasonal, often gluten-free soup everyday, made by Season’s Greetings.
They also sell a low-gluten bread, which they explained was not suitable for coeliacs due to some of the ingredients and place of manufacture, but for anyone who is only slightly intolerant this could be a tasty option too.
I really liked the cafe itself, and I felt able to relax and enjoy the cosy and creative atmosphere. Fig + Sparrow is very design-oriented and has a beautiful selection of arty bits and bobs in the shop section for post-brownie browsing. If I lived in Manchester I’m sure I would be a regular.
It was refreshing to stumble upon such a lovely independent cafe, run by nice people and offering something a bit different. Skip Starbucks and come here.