Siop Shop, the cafe, bakery and doughnut shop on Tib Street from the creators of Blawd, feels like it’s always been here. With its pink custard floors, kooky artwork, hand-made furniture, record player, and trays of doughnuts, it exudes an old, familiar NQ ethos and charm.
Created by mates and Blawd directors, Iwan Roberts and Lucy Jackson, and pulled together with the help of a few more friends and family, Siop Shop opened their doors just over a week ago on October 19th and it’s a welcome addition to the Northern Quarter, that somehow feels like it’s always been here.
Perhaps it’s because Lucy and Iwan have been around, supplying the best independents with their bakes, for a while now, that makes Siop Shop feel so familiar. Of course, being a greedy pig, I’ve had their baked goods before (and you probably have too) at the likes of Common, Rapha, and North Tea Power, and everything I’ve ever had has been delicious so I’ve been excited for the arrival of this permanent spot of theirs.
If you’re wondering about the name, ‘Siop’ is Welsh for ‘shop’ or ‘workshop’, and is a nod (or, rather, more of a big pointy finger) to Iwan’s Welsh roots. I remember thinking back in 2015, how smug these two must be to have made up such an evocative word for baked goods: ‘blawd’, only to later discover it was Welsh for ‘flour’. How wonderful the Welsh language is.
Inside is bright and airy, there’s big windows and that delightfully delicious custard pink floor, along with a pairing of handmade and second-hand furniture. It’s a little sparse at the moment, but I feel like this place is here to stay and the décor will evolve as they do.
To be honest, it’s good to see this end of Tib Street finally getting some attention. The buildings are as handsome as any others in the NQ and don’t deserve to be given over to dust or, worse still, ‘adult’ shops. After all, the other end is alive with great places (Evelyn’s, NTP, Affleck’s) and this end started to establish itself with the arrival of Sugar Junction and Beermoth a few years ago so it’s about time the sprawl continued.
Along with newcomers Ezra & Gil’s new place ‘Ezra to Go‘, over the road, I can only imagine this end of Tib Street is about to fully resurge.
The menu in Siop Shop is a simple but delicious affair of soup and sandwiches, beans on toast, cake, tray bakes and, of course, doughnuts. A coffee and a doughnut will cost you £4.70, while a soup and sandwich (made with Pollen bread), or a salad and soup, combo is £8. For the thrifty, there’s hot Vimto for a cheeky £1, and you can always opt for a builder’s tea, over loose leaf, if that’s what you fancy (three doughnuts in, we did). I’ve heard rumours of sausage rolls too, but I didn’t manage to get my hands on any this time.
For me, Siop Shop is all about the coffee and doughnuts (and is already a firm contender for my 5 favourite coffee spots in Manchester!) Both are mighty fine. In the week they’ve been open, I’ve tried doughnuts filled with: plum, raspberry, vanilla custard, coffee custard and maple and pecan custard. Yes, I’m that much of a glutton, but try them and you’ll see why. They’re light, fluffy, yeasty and filled with gloriously delicious custards and jams.
We stayed for over an hour and it was cheerfully busy the whole time. As we left, there was still a small, amiable and chatty queue; the sort that if someone from out of town walked in on, exudes the sense that everyone in Manchester knows each other. This is why Siop Shop feels like it’s always been here. This sense of community and craft and an emphasis on quality produce and service over style, (that’s not to say it isn’t stylish, it is) is what the NQ is all about and, it’s no wonder, as Iwan tells me, ‘it’s doing pretty well’.
53 Tib St, Manchester M4 1LS