By Jo Cooksey
There is a little village nestling under the Mancunian Way on Oxford Road, that you may or may not have heard of. It’s called Hatch and it is assembled from shipping containers, that contain independent traders including streetfood and drink options and tiny bijou shops.
Bijou Industrial Village
I only managed to visit for the first time a couple of weeks ago, despite it having been open for 18 month and now I’m wondering why I didn’t hot foot it down there as soon as it started trading. It’s bangin’. Shipping container destinations have been popping up all over the country for the last decade. Among them Boxpark in Shoreditch, Stack in Newcastle and Cargo in Bristol
Manchester’s version is the brainchild of property giants, Bruntwood and makes use of otherwise dead space next to and underneath one of the city’s main arterial route, the Mancunian Way. I have to admit that this point did worry me. I had expected the noise of the traffic to drown out anything going on in Hatch, not to mention, as an asthma sufferer, the pollution. I’m surprised to say the traffic was barely audible and at no time on that occasion did I have to reach for my puffer.
The retail units contain a real eclectic mix, from jewellery artisans to sneaker renovators and florists to a DJ studio. Nordic Muse is a lovely shop, stocking minimalist Nordic lifestyle brands. Suzy Loves Milo is a clothing store that stocks upcycled vintage items from all around the globe. You could lose a whole afternoon just wandering round the shops.
All The Food
We had been invited down to have a look at the newly extended part of Hatch. Basically, they have trebled the size of this multipurpose space, which means as well as the food, drink, entertainment and retail offerings there are now roof terraces, creative workspaces and event spaces. There’s even a double decker bus, which is home to Hanoi 75, a Vietnamese restaurant that seats 30 on the upper deck and has a full kitchen on the lower deck.
We were a bit gobsmacked as we wandered round. There is much to do, see and experience and it was super busy. Obviously, food and drink are our main priorities, so with the tokens Hatch had kindly provided us with, we set off in search of our designated food provider. Some of the brands, like Takk and ÖL Nano Brewery & Bar have permanent units but in order to keep things fresh and interesting there is a regular rotation of street food traders.
Our voucher was for Fukuu, who provide Pan-Asian treats such as Korean Fried Chicken, which I had, Katsu Chicken Curry which my pal had and Loaded Fries which we shared. I have to admit that one of my food hates is anything battered and/or deep fried, but I have to say Fukuu nailed it. Everything was very crispy, without a hint of greasiness and just the right chilli hit. Good finger lickin’ grub.
After the food we wandered about some more then headed to Number 8 to get a G&T from their comprehensive menu, before taking up to the roof terrace to meet friends. The Mancunian Way is right above your head, virtually in touching distance. The terrace is furnished with high and low seating and huge bean bags and we whiled away a very pleasant hour catching up without being disturbed by the traffic.
On our way out we noticed that there is a ping pong table and we stopped for a bit to watch the live band perform. Just a perfect Summer evening.
Will We Return?
We loved Hatch. It is a chilled-out fusion of great food and good times. While it was great being there in the sunshine, I can also see that this would be a fab place to visit no matter the weather or time of year.
We were gifted our food and a drink, but thoughts and opinions are entirely our own.