A couple of weeks back I was up in Manchester for MCM Comic Con which presented me with the chance to try some Mac & Cheese outside of this here London!

With quite a few choices available to me (although sadly not as many as I had originally located on Google) I headed off to Norther Soul – an eatery so well known that it’s even had a visit from the great Adam Richman!

Nothern Soul is all about the grilled cheese but they also do a line of Mac & Cheese dishes ranging from classic to a choice of meaty additions (Oh! And the Mac is used as a topping/additional to a few other meals too on the menu too!)

I opted for Mario’s Mac which came with meatballs, marinara sauce, torched mozzarella (torched mozzarella, what the?!?) and garlic bread. Let’s present it to Judgement Bear and have a look!

Look at the sweet wee tin foil container! I don’t know why but that really tickled me! But hey, what about the contents?

Well, first with the negative. The macaroni. Okay so it was nicely cooked but it’s my least favourite macaroni – small tubes with a tiny diameter. I can’t speak for anywhere else but here in the UK it’s the kind of macaroni that’s readily available in any supermarket and I personally find it a bit of a snooze.

I mean, they’re so tiny and there’s very little chance of your standard cheese sauce getting these little bits of pasta. That being said this was a thin cheese sauce (was it by chance or intentional?) but it did a good job of navigating it’s way around the macaroni. There was no stretch from this sauce but man it really packed a punch with it’s cheesy flavour that woke up my taste buds!

And I got to say that after that initial hit I found myself feeling all warm and happy. Remember that scene in Ratatouille where Ego bites in to the ratatouille he ordered and flashes back to his childhood? It was like that! Yup, that sauce was goooooooood.

I could have easily gone with the classic and not felt shortchanged but I went with the toppings and I was not disappointed!

The meatballs were so meaty and juicy and had a real nice hint of herb! Added, the light coating of marinara sauce which, although light, was FULL of flavour.

And the toasted mozzarellam man that was a new experience! It had the bite of a piece of cooked lasagne sheet but with a lovely toasty cheesy mozzarella flavour and wow oh wow I WANTED MORE!

All these different flavours matched up so well that it was a real treat to eat but hey, what’s this? Oh yeah, the garlic bread…

Sigh. This lay on the side of the tray and felt like an afterthought and looked kind of out of place and sadly was also a bit dry and tasteless (to be fair it was competing against a whole load of big flavours but y’know..) I get wanting to add something more to the meal – or at least add a bit of variation and colour – but why not a pickle or a whole chilli (both totally workable with a Mac). I don’t know, it just wasn’t for me.

But hey, how much did this mass of flavour (and the garlic bread) come to? A crazy cheap £5.50!!! Maybe it’s the Londoner in me but man that is a bargain and a half!

So for a score I would have put this down as 4.5 for the sheer flavour and real home cooked feel of it but I have my gripes with the macaroni used (hey, it’s a personal thing – I like my elbow macaroni!) and the sad friend that is the garlic bread so I’m knocking half a point off and going for a strong…

Northern Soul has several venues in Manchester and you can find out more about them at https://www.northernsoulmcr.com

PS. Writing this review just makes me want to get back up to Manchester and try more things from Northern Soul’s menu (although I’m sure I’d find myself ordering Macaroni and Cheese anyways!)