1 Hillcourt Street,
Manchester M1 7HU
Vegetable Dumpling Soup (med): £3.20 (http://www.eatgoody.co.uk/menu/eatgoody_menu_10.pdf)
EatGoody is the second Korean place to open in central Manchester this year. The first, Baekdu, on the Shude Hill edge of the Northern Quarter, was originally a cafe at the back of a Korean grocers in Ladybarn. EatGoody, on the other hand, seems to have sprung from nowhere. Its neighbours are an eclectic bunch. Just off Grosvenor St with the Footage and Deaf Institute, it is next door to a bike co-operative and the Sugden Gym. Diagonal on York Street are the evangelical Kings Church, a madrassa, and an LGBT centre.
EatGoody is Korean. It doesn't serve sandwiches or pies. Instead it serves bibambap (rice, veg and egg that continues cooking while you eat it), dubap (rice or noodles with a meat or veg topping), ramen (a noodle soup with meat or veg), kimchi (pickled cabbage - ubiquitous in Korean food), dumplings, rice cakes (not the rice cakes you buy at the supermarket, rather like small, flat discs of noodle), tempura, pancakes and other dishes, as well as their daily specials.
Being cold and poor, I chose the cheapest of their soups and settled downstairs by a radiator, on a pew (there were chairs but the pew was directly in front of the radiator and my hands were freezing). The walls are lined with bamboo canes and littered with Koreana - small figurines and pictures of people, native flowers and buildings. A lot of Korean students frequent this cafe, and it has an earthy-hipster vibe: rough wooden benches, cool magazines, dimmed lights, Korean TV and K-pop, and staff who look they belong on a catwalk. It's a nice place to cool (or heat) your heels for an hour or two, and they also serve a variety of Korean soft drinks and cheap coffees.
The soup arrived in a large polystyrene coffee mug, which didn't bode well. However, as I felt like I was about to plumb the depths of hypothermia, I didn't dwell too much on its presentation. The broth was flavoursome, spicy, and the absence of all-consuming thirst later on means that it isn't just MSG-n-water. In the broth were strips of egg, slices of red chilli, spring onions, sticks of carrot, and three large dumplings. A word of warning, if you're vegetarian, this is not the soup for you. The dumplings definitely contain meat, and were the better for it. As I drank the soup and chewed the egg (a surprisingly good addition), I noticed that the Koreans, too, were also tucking eagerly into their bowls or rice or noodles. The prices could be a tad cheaper, as I think £3.20 for three dumplings in a medium portion of soup is about 40p too expensive, but I'm willing to let this slide due to its convenient location to the universities and because it's a new and unusual addition to my go-to places. My mouth tingling and my hands, face and feet able to feel again, I wrapped up and trudged out into the icy darkness, all the better for having had that soup.
Should there ever be a Grosvenor-Hillcourt-York Streets get-together, let's have EatGoody cater it.