If you’re looking for delicious artisanal food, independent craft beers, cocktails, mouth watering desserts and somewhere to while away a few hours eating your way through the day, I highly recommend a visit to Altrincham Market.
Altrincham is one of the original market towns, having held a market since 1290. Its Grade II listed Market House dates back to 1879, and 143 years on, it’s a bustling hub of indie food kitchens and stalls.
The food hall underwent a £175,000 revamp in 2014 and truly feels like the beating heart of what’s fast becoming the go-to modern market town.
Market House and the businesses that reside in it are affectionately known as Alty Market – home to 10 quality food operators from Tender Cow to Honest Crust. We headed up early doors one Saturday in May, arriving around 11am, two hours after opening.
It was getting busy, but we managed to get one of the unreserved tables within five minutes, though I imagine 1pm to 2pm you might be hard pushed to find a spare seat, as the gastro hub is extremely popular.
Diners eat in a canteen-style setting with long wooden benches lined up in the centre of the room, allowing a 360 degree view of the food stalls on offer. Tender Cow were offering rare breed flat iron steaks, but with a 30 minute wait time and a rumbling tummy, we continued to browse the menus around the room. Great North Pie Co are best known for their multi-award winning pies, with Little Window and BANH VI also looking rather tempting.
Karl and Mel ordered nachos from Pico’s Tacos, which came in a 12 inch steel deep plate, almost like a bowl. You couldn’t see a slither of silver until you were more than half way through the pile of chips loaded with chilli, salsa, guac, jalapenos and pickled cabbage.
From the same stall, I ordered two frozen margarita cocktails for £15, which came served with a chilli salt rim. The tequila cocktail was super refreshing and was the perfect way to kick off what felt like the first weekend of summer.
Jake and I shared a pizza from Reamsbottom-based Honest Crust, opting for the Salami of the Day, costing around £11. I was too overwhelmed by the smells and deciding what to order to bother looking at prices, but everything seemed pretty reasonable.
Our food was brought to the table within about 10 minutes, hot out of the wood fired oven which created a beautifully blistered crust on our sourdough base. It was absolutely loaded with mozzarella and salami, and tasted fresh, fragrant and fiery.
Our only setback was the knife provided made the pizza difficult to cut without tearing or making a mess, and a pizza cutter would have been better, but we did manage and left little more than a crumb on the plate. We noticed after demolishing the dough that they also sell dips (perfect for crusts), but the pizza was so full of flavour it almost felt like sacrilege to smother it in a sauce – it was perfect without.
If a frozen cocktail isn’t to your taste, Salford’s Blackjack Beers’ Jack in the Box have a bar fully stocked with lagers, IPAs and craft ale for less than £5 a pint, while Didsbury-based Reserve Wines, founded by BBC Food and Drink Kate Goodman, are pouring up glasses of red, white, rose and fizz.
Sam Joseph Chocolate is the place to go for dessert – though we were absolutely stuffed, so vowed to try these out on our next trip. Waffles and ice cream sandwiches, as well as stunning handmade truffles, brownies and bakes looked to die for, while Market House Coffee provided perfect latte art for the ultimate Instagram snap.
Outside there’s a covered market with a number of residential stall holders from local makers, bakers and everything in between, where you can shop homeware, farm produce, handmade items and plenty of sweet treats to enjoy at home.
Alty market is open 9am to 10pm Tuesday to Saturday, and 9am to 6pm on Sundays, but you can check their Instagram account for when the outdoor shopping market is open. It’s such a fantastic space and brings together talented entrepreneurs from the region to provide customers with a truly unique experience all under one roof.