The best Caribbean food restaurants and takeaways in Manchester

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We’re absolutely spoiled for choice when it comes to West Indian food in Manchester. Here are some of the classic spots to pick it up.

Kool Runnings

Probably the most famous food truck – of any kind – in the city, Aval Saunders has been serving up Caribbean soul food since the 90s, and when the plumes of smoke work their way down Upper Chorlton Road, there will be a queue down the street for it in five minutes flat. He’s fed generations from his spot outside the Pentecostal church, and his testament to those lamb chops, the half chickens slathered in jerk gravy and the salty, irresistible fried chicken.

118 Chorlton Rd, Old Trafford, Stretford, Manchester M15 4AN

Kool Runnings on Instagram

Blackbird Pantry

Siobhan Sewell was general manager at Mary-Ellen McTague’s celebrated restaurant Aumbry before setting up Blackbird Pantry in 2019 at Radcliffe Market. But while there are some refinements to this Anglo-Caribbean menu, this is still gorge-worthy, gravy-on-your-face type food, from the jerk roast to the Rundown Chicken curry with coco bread, while the freshly made scotch bonnet jam that comes alongside it is fruity, fierce and fantastic. And as for the crispy jerk pork belly bites… well. They’re Last Meal on Earth material.

Radcliffe Market, Dale Street, Radcliffe, Manchester M26

www.blackbirdpantry.com



The Old Trafford Bakery

Old Trafford Bakery

Established way back in 1960, the Old Trafford Bakery is primarily, of course, a traditional Jamaican bakery serving up everything from irresistible hard dough loaves which you can smell baking down the street to sweet bulla cakes. But it also has a wealth of daily takeaway specials too, from fresh escovitch fish to oxtail and lamb chops. And obviously, being a bakery, the pineapple and banana cakes are worth a look too.

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126 Shrewsbury St, Old Trafford, Stretford, Manchester M16 7NY

www.oldtraffordbakery.co.uk

ARMR Store

An all-vegan take on West Indian food, owner and chef Raph has a small but perfectly formed menu which changes daily at the ARMR Store. And while it’s all wholesome stuff, it’s also delicious, from punchy jackfruit burgers to warming, coconut-heavy sweet potato curries. The patties are serious too, and his mum even makes the dumplings, so you know they’re going to be good.

2 Polygon St, Manchester M13 9SG

armrstore.co.uk



Buzzrocks in Hulme

buzzrocks

A bona fide institution, Buzzrocks has been keeping ‘dem belly full’, as their slogan goes, since 1990, but started out long before that as a modest food trailer, pitching up like a superhero wherever jerk was needed, whether the Notting Hill Carnival or Glastonbury. Now queues form at its spot in Hulme from mid-morning onwards, for everything from its ‘tasty fried chicken’ (a favorite of Ian Brown, something of a connoisseur of West Indian cuisine) to its special curry lamb. It’s even got its own merch and hot sauces. Long may its reign continue.

166 Stretford Rd, Manchester M15 5TL

www.buzzrockcaribbean.co.uk

Rad’s

Tucked off the beaten track of Ancoats, between New Islington and the fancy Cutting Room Square, Rad’s is not much more than a doorway on Jersey Street, but inside there’s magic going on. Blazing saltfish, homely stew chicken and warming curry mutton, you can grab a box (it’s takeout only) and head to the Marina to shovel it all down.

Rad’s, 62 Jersey St, Ancoats, Manchester M4 6AY

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The Pull Up

The Pull Up has some pretty decent lineage to it. It’s run by Ez Saunders, formerly of The Drop in Chorlton (also well worth seeking out), and son of Aval Saunders, who founded Kool Runnings, among the benchmarks of Caribbean food in Manchester. It’s had its share of soap stars and famous faces swing by, but that’s all a distraction. The jerk here is superbly good. If you’re passing on a Sunday, the Reggae Roast should be your go-to, featuring lemon and thyme roasted jerk chicken, mac and cheese, rice and peas, plantain, the whole nine yards.

14-16 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JN

www.pullupbarcafe.co.uk




Mama Flo’s

Worth the trip out of town, Florence Coke’s Caribbean home-cooking is a small revelation. From her shop de ella near Hazel Grove she eats tangy oxtail curries, soothing pepper steak and a goat curry that’s as good an example of the Jamaican standard that you’re ever likely to taste. You’re greeted with a smile as broad as the A6, and made to feel like you’re one of the family the moment you step through the door, which makes the food all the more wonderful. It may have some famous patrons (Kyle Walker, Ian Brown), but Flo makes everyone feel special.

314 Buxton Rd, Stockport SK2 7DD

Mama Flo’s on Facebook

Chicken Run

The Chicken Split at Moss Side standard Chicken Run is legendary, and with good cause. A long, fried ‘festival’ dumpling, sliced ​​down the middle, jammed until bursting with fried chicken and then slathered with old school salad cream. Not May. Salad cream. If the last bit puts you off, just give it a try once, because chances are you’ll be converted. Just for god’s sake, don’t tell the cardiologist.

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6 Yarburgh St, Moss Side, Manchester M16 7FJ

Chicken Run on Instagram

Sunrise

Another long-established spot – well three in fact, there are locations in Salford, Old Trafford and Bolton – Sunrise is reliably good, wherever you pitch up, with BBQ wings, oxtail and vegetarian Ital options too, as well as a mean callaloo and saltfish.

120 Broughton Ln, Salford M7 1UF

www.sunrisecaribbean.co.uk



Jerk Junction in Chorlton

jerk junction

Chorlton’s Jerk Junction is another essential stop for Jamaican classics, whether they’re serving up from their long-standing spot on Manchester Road, with its smart terrace, or over at Altrincham Market. Courtesy of the ‘dream team’ in the kitchen – that’s Miss Ivy, Miss Lola and Chef Aidy – the drum-grilled chicken is easily some of the best in the city. And the Guinness Punch is no slouch either.

170 Manchester Rd, Firswood, Manchester M16 0DZ

Jerk Junction on Instagram

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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