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Smithfield’s Grade II-listed Victorian market in Manchester’s Northern Quarter has been overhauled by the people behind Altrincham’s Market House – and the result is equally appealing. Holding almost 500 people, the beautiful structure has been carefully restored to open up the ground and upper floors, with a glass ceiling allowing natural light to pour across communal bench seating. The street-food marketplace is packed with high-class food and drink merchants including Manchester-based Blackjack Brewery’s Jack in The Box bar, Wolfhouse Coffee, Honest Crust, Baohouse (steamed Chinese buns), Nationale 7, Tender Cow and Fin fish bar. The food isn’t cheap, but prices reflect the quality: from tender aged flat-iron steak sandwich with béarnaise on sourdough ciabatta (from Tender Cow) and succulent rotisserie chicken with fragrant tarragon mayonnaise (from French traders Nationale 7), to pleasingly chewy sourdough pizza with spicy salami (from Honest Crust). The venture has breathed new life into this handsome building, opened by Mayor Mackie in 1858 as part of Europe’s biggest fresh-produce market.
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