No, that’s not the name of the place (although I do believe it will be a good one, right? no? okay.)
This is one of those places where pictures and fried foods captivated me, ONE JUST CAN’T SAY NO TO BUTTERMILK FRIED CHICKEN.
Ever since I went out with my foodie friends (hi, Natalie!) on a couple of foodventures to get amazing cookies and the best sandwich I’ve ever had, and realized that Michael had a list of amazing places to try whenever he felt in the mood for something yummy, I decided I needed to do the same, so I’ve been creating collections and bookmarking like crazy on Yelp, saving pictures on Instagram, and taking screenshots of every food photo in the area that makes me salivate (which is not that hard, if we’re being completely honest). So when Sunday morning (well, more like noon) came in and we were starting to get hangry (you guys don’t want to see me get really hangry, just ask G), I searched on my little foodie encyclopedia (aka, my phone) and found in a good dish of fried chicken the answer to all of my questions. That’s how we got to Yard & Coop.
It’s funny because last Friday we were bar hopping (or pub crawling, however you want to call it), and we found ourselves walking around the Northern Quarter trying to find a place that wasn’t super crowded so we could grab a bite and get some drinks, and even though we walked almost past this place, we never stopped and took a second look at the big roosters they have outside of the restaurant. I’m completely serious, I still don’t know how we missed those!
The good time is that apparently everyone had already had lunch (either that or they were still too hangover to get out of their beds) and the place was nice and quiet,
which is pretty uncommon in the Northern Quarter, if you ask me.
I found myself having to make the most difficult decision when I read the menu: what kind of fried chicken should I get?
Yard & Coop has something for everyone (even vegetarians!). They offer their classic buttermilk fried chicken breasts, thighs, and what they call “not chicken nuggets”. They also have a wide variety of sides (and they all sounded extremely yummy), as well as some large plates with the best combinations of fried chickens and sides you could possibly imagine.
Of course we picked one from that last side of the menu, and some monkey balls. Because who can resist that name? (yes, we ordered them because they sounded funny and yummy at the same time).
And how were they? Not monkey business, that’s for sure.
These chicken breast balls were super tender and full of flavor. The best way to get a real taste of what Yard & Coop serves in terms of buttermilk fried chicken.
I loved that, even when they were made with chicken breast, they didn’t feel dry by any means. The sauces were an amazing complement, but not something you needed to take away the dryness, which is something that I’ve had to do in the past with other fried chicken foodventures.
If you want to try buttermilk fried chicken done right, then these are for you!
Of course we just couldn’t stop at the monkey balls, and if you’ve been reading me for a while, you know how much we like to experiment trying dishes that sound both amazing a maybe a little bit dangerous.
The dirty bird fries didn’t disappoint.
These chips have everything that’s good in life combined into tiny (or huge, no judging!) bites of fried heaven.
I mean, you guys know how much we love fried food (specially when it’s beer battered), so including pieces of fried chicken in a basket full of chips was a recipe for success!
One of the things I loved the most was finding little surprises with every bite. Sometimes I got fries full of melted cheese and spicy sauce, sometimes I got blue cheese and bacon, sometimes I got everything in a set of fries, these were amazing from the top of the chip-mountain, to the very bottom.
Whoever thought of doing the dirty bird fries has my respect and admiration. Please send some more my way!
I know I must be making you hungry with all of this food (I know I’m making myself hungry, at least!), but I just couldn’t not-mention these mac n’ cheese balls. I mean, how could I skip these beauties?
I was hesitant to order them because sometimes putting mac n’ cheese into anything other than a big bowl can result in a disaster of dry macaroni with little to no cheese at all, and no one wants to go through that. But I took the risk for you, in the name of my food investigation, of course!
It was a complete success.
I mean, you can already tell from that picture with those glorious cheese strings, but in case you need me to say it: these balls were absolute perfection.
They had the right amount of cheese to keep them tasting like the original dish we all want and love, and yet they were super crispy on the outside, giving them that little crunchiness that I just can’t resist.
I’d go back to Yard & Coop just for a bowl full of these. I believe that says a lot!
Finally, G wanted me to mention his beloved jalapeños, and all you’ll have is his word that these were amazing, because you know I’m not putting those spicy demons into my mouth.
Gabe loves jalapeños and he’s always trying them in different presentations everywhere we go, which is why, when he told me these were perfect I truly believed him (that, and the fact that I can only take his word for it, since I’m not willing to find out by myself).
To quote him: “these felt warm on my soul, just like a sunny British morning, which is not something you can find every day!”
So yes, definitely give them a go if spice is your deal.
Overall, you might feel it’s not possible for me to like absolutely every single place we’ve visited, but I promise Manchester has some great places to eat, and fortunately we’ve encountered lots of them in this past month!
I believe in trying to find something good in every place I visit, and I make that my mission every time I go on a foodventure (although sometimes you just fail, just like we did with our modern pizzas!). But if I had to pick only three places to go back between all the restaurants we’ve visited in the city, this would definitely be one of them!
Please let me know if you’ve ever been to Manchester and know of an amazing food place I just can’t miss, or if there’s a food trend on Insta you’d like me to try (just like freakshakes or poké bowls!). I’m always excited to find new things to eat, photograph and share with you guys!
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Hope to eat with you again soon 😉