How good does the food have to be to feel back at school? Better than this.

The Eighth Day Co-operative Ltd: 111 Oxford Road, Manchester, M1 7DU

The Eighth Day Co-operative is a vegetarian shop and café that sells an impressive range of raw, vegan and special diet products on Manchester’s busy Oxford Road. More importantly, downstairs they serve you food instead of just selling it.

The café is canteen style which makes it good for a relaxed working lunch but it’s a bit dimly lit and, atmosphere wise, you won’t take much away with you unfortunately. They do manage, however, to squeeze in plenty of customers.

The self-serve salad bar wasn’t particularly adventurous with pesto pasta, assorted leaves and the like but all the dishes were fresh and the box sizes good value. The menu has different daily specials (all vegetarian) ranging from currys to stews and soups to casseroles.

The chana dal was ladled out generously, served thick with lentils and peas. The colouring could have been better with some use of brighter spices as it looked rather unappetising. It also lacked a little kick of flavour. With brown rice though, it was good value and you definitely feel like you’ve had a nutritious meal.

Bean enchiladas were served with a spicy tomato sauce. The sauce was too thin, more like cup-o-soup style, but the enchiladas themselves were bursting with three different types of beans, a cheesy exterior and a little chilli too. On its own, this was filling enough!

A variety of smoothies, juices and shakes are available along with the usual coffees, teas and iced drinks. The ‘Sunshine’ smoothie (banana, strawberries and pineapple) was a pretty pale pink and not too sweet, despite the strawberries though the pineapple didn’t really come through. A chocolate and banana shake was thick without being gloopy and delivered a delicious punch of flavour.

On the whole, the café is quick to serve hot food and has a wide range of vegetarian dishes, all of which can be made vegan. They have many regulars and the staff service is friendly and unobtrusive. The food wasn’t of the best quality and it was all a bit school-cafeteria to warrant a second visit but I’ll definitely be back to the shop upstairs.


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