The hidden gem cafes & restaurants in Greater Manchester’s undiscovered foodie hotspot

An expert’s guide to Tameside’s culinary hidden gems.
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Tameside is not an area of Greater Manchester known for its food scene. South Manchester and the city centre have long dominated the region’s top restaurant lists, and even neighbouring boroughs Oldham and Stockport have entries in the prestigious Michelin Guide. But that could all change soon, according to a small but dedicated group of local foodies.

One such foodie is blogger Liam Marley, from Ashton, who is on a mission to champion the borough’s culinary delights. He is a lifelong foodie, who describes himself as “the kind of person who wouldn’t think twice about getting in my car and driving hours for a good meal.” This passion for food led him to start his YouTube channel, Liam Marley Eats, which launched just before Christmas and now has a growing following of locals keen to find out more about what’s on offer in Tameside.

While there are plenty of food bloggers out there exploring Manchester’s restaurants, they rarely venture this far east. But it’s not just the areas Liam covers that is unique. An important part of his videos is taking his audiences behind the scenes of these lesser known eateries, taking a look inside the kitchens and getting to know the chefs that run them.

Liam Marley Eats reviews a shawarma takeaway. Credit: Liam Marley Eats Liam Marley Eats reviews a shawarma takeaway. Credit: Liam Marley Eats
Liam Marley Eats reviews a shawarma takeaway. Credit: Liam Marley Eats

He told ManchesterWorld: “There are so many small independent restaurants, especially in Tameside, that are just unknown and are always drowned out by the corporate franchises. There’s so many amazing people, doing such amazing food, that just slip under the radar.”

Scrolling through the delivery apps in Tameside a couple of years ago, you would be hard pushed to find cuisines outside of the usual Indian, Chinese, Italian, but now there is much more variety. Liam explained that the pandemic has had a lot to do with that.

The 37-year-old said: “There are so many success stories that have come from the lockdown. Before, a lot of people who wanted to follow their dreams and do these things had full time jobs, family life, and never really had the time. I think the lockdown has really given people the opportunity to pursue what it is they want to do. And it’s brought a lot of people that have got a love and passion for food, their own businesses and their own cultures.”

One way you can see evidence of this in Tameside is through the emergence of ‘dark kitchens’ – food vendors with no sit-in spaces that sell exclusively through orders and deliveries.

“A lot of dark kitchens are popping up now. Nearly every week you’re seeing adverts for a new dark kitchen. Again, the passion that they’re putting into their food and actually building that small business, with the love that they’ve got for the food that they have,” Liam added.

Liam Marley speaks to the chefs behind Polish restaurant Beerogi. Credit: Liam Marley EatsLiam Marley speaks to the chefs behind Polish restaurant Beerogi. Credit: Liam Marley Eats
Liam Marley speaks to the chefs behind Polish restaurant Beerogi. Credit: Liam Marley Eats

Now there is a lot more cultural diversity in the Tameside food scene, ranging from Nepal to Poland, cultures that Liam believes are not known for their cuisine. He hopes that his videos encourage people to step out of their culinary comfort zones and explore these cultures – and this is something that is important to him.

He said: “In the food world, these people are bringing their culture and their food and I think it’s amazing. The more the merrier. There’s a lot more than fish and chips or kebabs.

“The Persian restaurants, for example, you go there and they give you the tea in a little pot, it’s like immersion, it’s like going into the Middle East. It’s not like getting a grilled kebab, it’s the whole experience. That’s a big thing for restaurants, having that full cultural experience.”

Liam is yet to review a Middle Eastern restaurant in Tameside and hopes to see more of this and other types of cuisine move into the area. When it comes to the future of the borough’s restaurant scene, he is definitely optimistic.

He said: “These things are happening, it’s slowly coming, and I think more people are thinking: Actually, Tameside has the tramlinks, it has everything, a multi million pound investment coming into the area. I strongly believe that there is a positive change happening, it just takes time.”

Tameside foodie spots recommended by Liam

When asked about top foodie spots in Tameside, there was one restaurant that immediately came to Liam’s mind. Everest Cafe, located on Old Street in Ashton town centre, is a small, authentic Nepalese restaurant, which also offers a takeaway service. Not only is this popular with Liam, it is also a favourite among his followers. Shortly after Liam published his video on the cafe, the owners contacted him to say they were fully booked three nights in one week.

Liam Marley reviews Everest Cafe in Ashton. Credit: Liam Marley EatsLiam Marley reviews Everest Cafe in Ashton. Credit: Liam Marley Eats
Liam Marley reviews Everest Cafe in Ashton. Credit: Liam Marley Eats

He said: “It really is a hidden gem. You would easily walk past it and not look twice, but the food is unreal. Everything made from scratch, nothing bought in, spices imported from Nepal, they slow-cooked their own meat. There is no pan of base curry, everything is made from the very beginning.”

Another Tameside spot that has had a glowing review from Liam, is Polish restaurant Beerogi. Liam has spent time living in Poland and knows the cuisine well. Located on Haughton Green Road in Denton, this tiny restaurant specialises in polish dumplings pierogi, which you can get in portions of 10 for £12.

Liam said: “When it comes to Poland, people just think snow and vodka, even though that’s not the case. They’re unique in that they change the menu daily, so the food is made from scratch. They’re in there 7-8 o’clock in the morning, preparing the food for the day. It’s traditional ‘babushka’ style. To me they’re in the wrong place, they should have a bigger restaurant.

Mumbai to Londonis another spot that Liam recommends. Located in Droylsden, this restaurant and takeaway is another tiny spot with a limited number of tables. Liam recalled a special conversation he had with the owners, who explained how he dreamed of moving to London from his home in Mumbai growing up, but once he was here, he discovered Manchester.

Liam said: “He spent years as a young kid working with street vendors, background is a family of chefs. When you speak to these guys, they’re almost tearing up, they’re telling that story and that passion that they’ve got – but they’ve just slipped under the radar, and the food is just unreal.”

There is another restaurant to watch out for in Droylsden, according to Liam and his followers – Tortuga, a Caribbean restaurant where you can find all the classic dishes such as jerk chicken, curried goat, plantain and dumplings. Liam has not been able to do a blog from here yet because it gets very busy.

He has his eye on a couple more for future blogs too, as recommended by his followers in response to a poll he ran on his social media pages. These include Italian restaurant Biancoin Hollingworth and Old Cross Tapas and Grill in Ashton town centre.