Yes, I know it sounds bit insane to say that you need to run to the Arndale to eat some amazing food but please trust me on this one, Smoke Shed is definitely one of Arndale Market’s best kept secrets but I’m here to talk about it.
I’ll be the first one to say that I’ve walked past the Arndale Market area hundreds of times and this is my first time actually trying one of the places, but if this experience taught me something is that I need to try even more of these food joints. I think 9/10 times you’ll find that everyone behind the counter is incredibly passioned and giving their 150% to provide the best quality when it comes to food and service, and when that’s the case, there’s no way you’ll be disappointed.
I learned in Smoke Shed that Mun and her husband opened their spot not long ago, but since day 1 they’ve been working really hard to give everyone a taste of some really delicious BBQ burgers and loaded fries.
To me, what sets them apart from other common burger/fries points is that this one has a home cooked feel, without taking anything away from the delicious taste of a well prepared burger. I feel like sometimes busy restaurants lack that special touch that you can get at a place where the owners are giving their everything every single day to bring quality to each of their costumers. They’re passionate and their food shows that.
But let’s jump to the food!
If I had to pick only one favourite, I’d have the hardest time, but if my life depended on it, it would definitely be these loaded curly fries.
If you’re only getting one item on their menu, you NEED to get these.
I’m a big fan of everything crunchy and crispy (and you probably already know that) so these curly fries were like heaven to me. Their texture was amazing in every single bite.
The seasoning was on point. The Aussie salt and pepper gave them this classic ‘loaded fries’ taste but the best part was the tiniest bit of spice that I could get from the mayo Sriracha. I’ll say this with the risk of sounding like a broken record but I love it when the spice brings out the best flavour in each of the components, which was definitely the case for these.
I’m not lying when I say that I’m planning my next visit just to eat these again (and to try their hot dogs and hot cheddar sauce, my tummy couldn’t handle that much deliciousness in one sitting!).
We both LOVE buttermilk fried chicken (as you can probably see from our frequent visits to Yard and Coop and Home Sweet Home), and because we’re such big fans, we have really high expectations every time we try a dish that involves one of our favourite fried foods.
I have to say, being completely honest, that Smoke Shed’s new buttermilk fried chicken burger exceeded my expectations in every possible way.
I feel like, because it’s located in the Market section, I was not really expecting much from these dishes. Probably some decent fast food quality at a good price, great for those days when you’re in a rush. But this is the real deal. You guys need to run and try it. You’ll thank me later.
This burger is new on their menu (I’m not sure if it’s already available for everyone but I think it’s worth asking whoever is at the till!) and it has a ginormous piece of chicken that, even though it’s huge, is incredibly tasty and juicy in every bite.
The buns were sweet-ish, which paired greatly with the gravy and buttermilk fried chicken. It gave me a bit of a chicken and waffles feel in that sense (minus the maple syrup, of course!) and both G and I enjoyed it to the last bite. Another must when you pay them a visit!
Couldn’t skip one to their BBQ burgers. They marinate all of their meats for 24 hours before slow-cooking them on a low temperature to get the most delicious and tender fillings for their burgers. Sounds good, right? Then keep reading.
If you love beef brisket, you’ll die with this beauty because they put TONS of it for you to enjoy every single bite. I mean, you can already tell from the photo!
I really enjoyed the egg on top, specially because the yolk, when combined with the guacamole, served as a sauce to bring together all of the flavours in the meat. Such a unique and tasty burger, and I’d definitely recommend it to anyone in the look of a one-of-a-kind bite!
Also, if you’re not in the mood for some loaded fries as a side (because I know that we don’t want to eat 5000 calories on one sitting every day of our lives) they can give you regular fries, curly fries or even sweet potato fries as a side for any burger. We got the latter ones for this one and I really liked them.
Now, if you’re in the mood for some seriously loaded fries, then you might want to wing it 😉 pun intended.
Street food at its best, if you ask me!
The wings were nice and juicy, and even G (who enjoys mostly fried chicken wings) liked them. The 6 Asian spices give the whole dish a unique flavour, and the buffalo sauce makes them ‘the good kind of spicy’ in my book.
These were good, but again, you know that my absolute favourites were the Vietnamese crave.
Finally, even though we were here for the burgers and crazy loaded fries, it was nice to learn that they have many options to cater to most people. For example, G loved their salad, and for a person that struggles to eat his greens on a daily basis, this says a lot. He’s the biggest fan of pickled foods, so that might have something to do with it.
If you’re around and you’re not into these crazy burgers, they have rice options made on-request, and I believe Mun even mentioned a sushi burger!
As I said before, they’re all about making their customers feel welcome and happy, so I’m positive that if you request something nicely, they’ll do everything they can to help you out!
Oh, I almost forgot about my drink discovery!
The first thing that Mun said to me when we arrived was “we don’t have any fancy drinks here, but you should definitely try this Australian ginger beer”, so we did!
I was surprised in the best way possible, because this was not as sweet as regular sodas, although it does have a hint of sugar. Being someone that doesn’t enjoy drink carbonated drinks, it was really unusual for me to like this as much as I did! G, on the other hand, loves sodas and loved this on his first sip. I don’t think he had any major comments about it other than ‘this is great!’.
Overall, this foodventure exceeded my expectations and inspired me to try more places because passionate people can be preparing some really amazing dishes where you least expect it! Smoke Shed is yet another hidden gem in Manchester and more people should know about it. I promise that if you pay them a visit, you won’t be disappointed (and you might also end up being addicted to their loaded curly fries just like me!).
I’d love to know if you have any other hidden gems or underrated places to recommend! I’d love to get a taste of what this city is hiding from anyone in the look of a great bite. If anything comes to your mind, message me! You can find me on Instagram (@michellelovestoeat), Twitter (@mlovestoeat), and Facebook (@michellelovestoeat).
If you’re a brand, restaurant or fellow foodie and would like to collaborate, you can email me: firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’m sure we’ll create something great (and yummy) together!
I’m done for this week, but I promise to bring you more yummy recommendations next Tuesday so make sure to come back for that.