Posted 02 September 2005 - 06:01 AM
Good to hear from you Gary. Don't worry, whatever happens to me you'll always have the stripiest pin-stripes in town.
Actually, on the suject of Anthonys I have to shamefacedly admit I was in Leeds a week or so ago and didn't call you, though I did have a rather spectacular lunch there. It was my B'day, so my better half took me over - her first time at the restaurant.
The starters were great (I made her have the risotto natch, I had the porky thing with lung and stuff) but the mains were outstanding. I went for the silver hake with baby squid and garlic cream. Eloquence fails me, suffice to say 'bloody hell'. Soph had the fish (forget which) with ham hock ravioli and white peach - also wonderful. Good desserts, great cheeses topped it off. Where is a Mancunian Anthony when you need one...?
Anyway, back to Manchester...
Bertie, you are moving into a rather fine part of the town - The Northern Quarter. I used to live a minute or so's walk from there, so it was my food and drink playground. Do you know the area at all? If not, below is a brief summary of what you have in store. Most of this is already on a thread somewhere, but let me know if you want any detail.
Northern Quarter is the home of quirkiness (and sometimes edginess), ethnic and cultural mixing, and is a mecca for all sorts of independent businesses, especially (lately) restaurants and bars.
For bars you have the Bluu (small chain, very nice decor, decent beers and cocktails), Socio Rehab (some of the best cocktails you will ever have, made by world champion - yes they have such competitions - bartenders), Rodeo (margarita bar owned by same guys), Odd (little independent place), Common (low-fi bedsit style joint), Cord (muso/DJ's hang-out of choice) Centro (similar, but with better beers and bar food), Bay Tree (very buzzy small pub/bar mix), Dry (birth of Madchester, now slightly diluted Ben Kelly design) and more...
For Pubs you have lots of great old places. The Castle (traditional small city boozer), Hare and Hounds (old smithfield market boozer with and an old piano), Bar Fringe (serves bloody hundreds of Belgian beers) as well as The Pot of Beer and Marble Arch just off Rochdale Road (both real ale places, the latter a microbrewery with beautiful tiled interior).
If you want the scariest pub in central Manchester go to the King on Oldham St...
For restaurants you have Bluu again (so-so), Market (quirky, old fashioned but quality), N4 Bar and Restaurant (decent sometimes patchy Med/Moorish), Sweet Madarin (decent well priced Chinese), Cedar Tree (mad but authentic Lebanese restaurant) etc.
You also have the Love Saves the day deli/restaurant/coffee shop which is excellent, Oklahoma coffee shop (and kitsch gift shop), Buddist Centre (not too bad cheap as chips veggie stuff), Chinese Arts Centre (tea shop), Soup Kitchen (Hoxton-style trendy canteen), the barrows (super cheap fruit and veg) and a handful of ethnic food shops. And... Live music at Matt and Phreds Jazz Club (excellent), Night and Day (studenty/alternative/indy) and Band on the Wall (world famous world music venue - refurb at the mo).
Crowning glory though is the curry cafes - authentic Pakistani 'greasy spoon' style places. There's ten or fifteen to choose from. This and That is the cheapest (rice and three veggie curries for £2.50), Marhabra does the best breads and kebabs (proper Tandoor) and The Kebabish is slightly smarter (and pricier) with a good selection. Al Faisal, Kabana, Yagdar etc all have their supporters too, and Hunters is worth going to as its the only one open outside working hours.
As you may have guessed I still work in the Northern Quarter and I love it dearly, but I'm still jealous you'll be living there. You'll have a great time.
It's all true... I admit to being the MD of Holden Media, organisers of the Northern Restaurant and Bar exhibition, the Northern Hospitality Awards and other Northern based events too numerous to mention.
I don't post here as frequently as I once did, but to hear me regularly rambling on about bollocks - much of it food and restaurant-related - in a bite-size fashion then add me on twitter as "thomhetheringto".