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All That Glitters is Yelp in Manchester!



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After all the excitement of Yelp's N4 Passport in Manchester, we weren't about to leave the funky Northern Quarter alone. When gorgeous Tib Street café Sparkles opened their spangly doors to a gathering of Mancunian yelpers, offering up hot sandwiches, cakes and a place to unwind on a Thursday evening, how could we say no?

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And what an evening it was. Those who braved the newsworthy football crowds to make it to the little café were greeted with warm hospitality and classic Manchester generosity. Munching on mini versions of almost all of their gorgeous available sandwiches (including ciabattas and their signature piadana flatbreads) as well as puddings aplenty, attendees were welcome to order up soft drinks, coffee, hot chocolate or tea… Tea-mendous.

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'The plates of sandwiches just kept coming!' marvelled Clare G. 'I particularly liked the brie and grape (and possibly cranberry?) flatbread, and the spinach and stilton is rather special. The desserts are also top-notch. I can vouch for the incredible brownies, the rocky road, and yummy carrot cake. I was impressed with Sparkles before but after tasting their delectables last night, I'm a fully-fledged fan!'

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After all those savoury delights, we were welcomed to a whole selection of desserts – anybody full to bursting yet? 'An impressive array of cakes,' said Chris M; 'rocky road, carrot cake, mini cupcakes, chocolate brownies all put in an impressive showing, but it was the tiffin that really won the day for me – delicious!' He's not wrong.

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It was essential to leave room for a frothy little number; some alcoholic libation. This came in the form of Mark Cato's rum masterpiece, put together for us by the lovely Lewis L from Épernay – the Koko Phwoar, or Yelp Sparkle if you will. Shaken up together ice cold were Koko Kanu rum, fresh pineapple juice, Barefoot Merlot and egg white, garnished with edible pink sparkles. Who could resist? They were utterly delicious, as Jessica H agreed: 'The cocktails were yummy, the thing that topped them off for me was that they had sparkles on top. I do love a bit of glitter.'

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Praise for the Sparkles staff was neverending. 'The Sparkles team are super-friendly and clearly love what they do. It's a family-run business; everything is fair trade and very, very fresh. The prices are really reasonable,' gushed Clare G. Jessica H thought them 'really chatty and welcoming,' providing 'a really good vibe. I find that a lot of new places sometimes have an elitist feel about them, but they were so friendly and eager to talk to everyone who came. I had a nice chat with two of the ladies outside who told me they were just looking to provide somewhere nice for people to come for a bite to eat, without the massive price tag.'

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Chris M always finds 'that a massive swaying factor in my enjoyment of an Elite Event comes down to the participation of the business owners; after all the events are as much a chance to get to know them, their wares and what they're all about as they are an excuse to stuff my face and spend an evening off the couch. In this regard the team at Sparkles didn't let themselves down and were all too happy to talk about themselves as well as their food.'

Talk about a food coma: Adam C said, 'The beef and sweet onion flatbread was my favourite, and their Rocky Road cake nearly killed me (in a good way).'

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Huge thanks to all the team at Sparkles for the amazing food and lovely chat, Lewis and Mark for the cocktail expertise, the fabulous Jody Hartley for the photos and the Yelpers for popping out to see us.

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Not enough deliciousness for you? Then read the reviews, scope out the pics and chat things up on the forum. Meanwhile, SYOY

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Kisses and brownies,

Emma-Lou H, Yelp Manchester Community Manager

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