It’s been a good year for Hannah Calvert and Chris Kelly the team behind Pollen bakery. After an initial stint tucked away in an archway near Piccadilly, their airy bakery and cafe overlooking New Islington’s marina opened its doors in summer 2018 and just a few months later bagged Best Food and Drink Retailer at the Manchester Food and Drink Awards. It’s, unsurprisingly, not their first accolade, the Sunday Times recently listed them in their top 20 UK bakeries. Their characterful sourdough and indulgent pastries have had people queuing up from almost the moment they opened their doors.
About those pastries, the one everyone is raving about is the ‘cruffin’, a croissant-muffin hybrid with a gooey filling (think blackberry and crème fraîche or lemon and elderflower) which changes weekly, and it’s dangerously good. They also do all sorts of creative sweet (chocolate fondant danish, pain aux raisins) and savoury (courgette and Berkswell danish, roasted tomato and rocket twists) pastries. The signature mahogany crust on their sourdough gives it that distinctive chew-factor, and their brownies are fast becoming legendary too. Top all that with fabulous brunch and lunch dishes and great coffee and you can see why they are amassing all those awards. Did we mention they do croissant toast?