There was a time when Oxford Street was somewhere we wanted to be. When we could handle swarms of people exiting the station every 30 seconds. When big Topshop was still the hub for every skinny jean-wearing, bubble tea-clutching student and when there were significantly fewer American candy stores. Now, we’re less inclined to immerse ourselves in the chaos of London’s busiest street—except if it’s for a meal at Manna. It's a refuge from all the madness and also happens to serve some of the best American-inspired food in London.
Doling out consistently perfect, cheesy smash burgers and crispy waffle fries, this fried chicken and burger spot is located inside Arcade Food Hall. Yes you read that right, it’s inside a food hall. Yet somehow it has none of that annoying food hall faff and it's actually a fun place to be. Firstly, you're able to book a table in the huge industrial-meets-jungle-looking dining area. Or just walk right in after a couple hours of solid shopping—but just know there’s often a queue during the after work rush. Secondly, whether you’re seated at a high, sharing table ideal for bigger groups, popping in for a quick solo meal around the lively bar, or in one of the more intimate sofa spots perfect for a lengthier catch-up, you can order from any of the nine food stalls straight from your table. There’s everything from sushi to Indian, but you should land on Manna.
Brought to us from the folks behind Bake Street, it’s not a huge surprise that the American-inspired menu here is spot on. Bar the jalapeño chicken burger which is overpowered by the hot honey sauce, it's hard to go wrong with anything on the concise list of burgers and fried chicken. The fried chicken is actually crispy. The classic sandwich arrives in a shiny brioche bun with the ideal ratio of mayonnaise and pickles, and the cayenne-dipped Nashville burger packs the kind of warm heat that’ll have you reaching for your water, but not before reaching for another bite. Don't neglect the beef side of the menu though. The smash burger is executed faultlessly—juicy on the inside and charred on the edges. This is a McDonald’s cheeseburger put to the soundtrack of Fergie’s Glamorous.
Manna's comfort dish classics and fun, laid-back food hall location make it a spot you’ll visit time and time again. Partly because it’ll save you from getting stuck in the stream of tourists congregating by Tottenham Court Road. Partly because it’s the kind of place you can bring pretty much anyone. But mostly because you'll be looking for any excuse to eat that Nashville hot chicken burger again.
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Nashville Hot Chicken Burger
Crimson in colour, fiery in taste, and with a vinegar-like tang from the cayenne butter. It’s less surprising how excellent this Nashville-style hot chicken burger is when you find out that Manna is from the same people behind Bake Street. Another restaurant, another faultless hot chicken burger that we’d get on the Central line for.
The thin, flattened beef patty is topped with a melted square of American cheese, equal squeezes of ketchup and mayo, a light swipe of mustard, and a handful of salty, tangy pickles. This is one of our favourite beef burgers in the city.
We’re all children at heart which means potato in different shapes speaks to us on every level. The waffle fries here are excellent, dusted in peppery house seasoning, and if you don’t order them, you’re seriously missing out.
Single Manna Platter
We’re officially renaming this to: You Shouldn’t Have To Decide Between Chicken And Beef. An upgrade from a Boots meal deal, this comes with a smash burger, hot chicken tenders, waffle fries, and pickles, all for £15.