Altrincham’s burgeoning foodie reputation looks set to be enhanced further with the opening of a new artisan bakery and restaurant on Shaw’s Road.
Phil and Claire Howells have enjoyed a word of mouth success with their first launch, Caffeine & Co in Longford Park in Stretford, where every baked product is made on the premises.
And now the pair are broadening their ambitions with the arrival of a brand new concept, called Blanchflower, which will open on Tuesday December 5th in the double unit once occupied by the Altrincham Forward team.
Blanchflower will boast two kitchens – one for the bakery for breakfast and lunch, and one for evening service – and co-owner Phil said it would be “a place for any meal you want to eat”.
“It will be pretty classic,” said Phil. “We believe in not over-complicating things – it’s about the importance of the core product being incredible, so a great bit of soup, bread or bacon can take what you’re eating to a different level.
“So with our bacon, we’ll get a pork belly, salt it, cure it, hang it, then eat it. With homemade bacon you get something that is way more meaty.”
He added: “Dinner will be based around a sharing concept – we think it will be exciting, modern food, very influenced by the most interesting food coming out of London. We believe in simplicity and pursuing big flavours.”
Phil said the opening had been delayed by a year because they had to bid for the unit on two separate occasions, but that he had no doubt that Altrincham was the right place.
“We saw what was going on in the Market Quarter, and it was exactly where we wanted to be. We accept we’re going into an area of strong competition and high standards, but we want to increase those standards.”
Blanchflower, which will also serve beer and a carefully selected list of wine, has hired an eight-strong team of chefs and bakers.
While Claire grew up in Cheshire, Phil is originally from London, where he enjoyed a successful career as an A&R man for Pete Tong’s record label. He then set up on his own, hitting number one with Armand Van Helden’s global smash hit You Don’t Know Me.
A stand-out memory from that part of his life? “Watching The Killers before they were signed play a set in front of three people in a garage in Las Vegas.”
But back to Blanchflower, a project that’s finally ready to bloom. “It’s the culmination of five years of learning, getting things right and wrong, and working out what to do. We’re genuinely looking forward to it.”