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culinary bear

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Posts posted by culinary bear

  1. The FT deal, like the Times deal of a few years ago, gets people into your dining room. No, you won't make as much profit as with a normal TDH or carte table but the trade-off is that you get new blood in through the door as well as both existing customers and the "never to return" brigade.

    In the case of existing customers, treat it as a reward for loyalty. As for the "never to return" brigade, you never know who they'll talk to and they may have friends who do eat out more regularly. It's just another form of advertising, but a well-targeted one, and your establishment appearing in the FT offer is not the sign of a sinking ship, merely of one that would like to be busier than it currently is.

    I see very little difference between this offer and the usual practise of running a TDH menu at lunches and early evenings.

  2. Available in a limited relase of zero, to avoid offending the human community.

    I do think it's going to backfire on vivat bacchus; as has been pointed out, the dining types it's aimed at probably won't be sucked in, and the publicity will come with a spoiling dose of derision.

    If it had come from Gagnaire, maybe, just maybe... but not a place headed by a chef with no marketable reputation.

  3. Truly shocking photography; I've seen better on the menu outside chip shacks in Amsterdam, the ones trying to shepherd tourits with the munchies thriough their doors.

    This sort of thing is no different to a pub up here that decided to create the world's most expensive pie.

    "Stan? Oi, Stan. What's that fookin' jap beef they keep bangin on about? Wag-what? Wagyu? Yeah, how much is a pound? Fookin' brilliant, I'll have a pound of that... and ring up that nob'ead from the wine company and ask what his priciest bottle is. We'll use some o'them really poncey mushroom thigies wot get dug up by them pigs in France, and we'll use some o' that really thin gold stuff to put on the top. It'll look mint. It'll have to be jus-rol pastry though, I can't be fookin' arsed makin' that. 'Ere, fook the Oswaldtwistle Echo and Courier, get the BBC on the phone and see if they'll cover it."

    .and, of course, they did.

  4. Your point's valid - Edinburgh's just the exception to prove the rule. When you consider the number of high-end "failures" in city centre locations - and I include in here some very aspirational restaurants that took one shocked look at their P&L figures for the early openings, promptly passed a brick and tamed down the food to be more marketable - then it is, as you say, horribly difficult to run a starred restaurant in a city centre.

    In the case of No.1 Princes Street, it helps greatly that it's part of the Balmoral Hotel. Indeed, I woud suggest it's only because of this that it's a financially viable proposition.

  5. See, I know this is going to sound like my dissing my former workplace... but that's the sort of thing Le Mont should have done in the first place. It failed for the same reasons as Establishment :

    1) Food not geared to the market - classical french for Le Mont, and "too-clever-for-manchester-at-the-time" cooking for Establishment.

    2) A need to sit every service pretty near capacity to bring a good return.

    3) Lack of awareness in the dining public about their existence.

    Reading Modern's menu, I don't get that impression from either the content or the pricing. if 3) can be adequately addressed, I think they might be on to a winner.

    God knows, Manchester could do with more decent places to eat.

  6. Bear, I never know with your dead-eyed wit whether you are being sarky or not but you do know who owns it now don't you? It's no longer run by global leisure group SMG (Have I got that acronym right?) as it was in Le Mont's days, but instead, after much negotiation with the council, it has been handed over to the trading company of Urbis itself who have being running the ground floor cafe (the secret best place in town to eat during the day with kids) with aplomb for a couple of years.

    no, not sarky at all... I heard from the ex-head chef of the downstairs bit, Tony Holland-Bennett, that an urbis takeover was being discussed but didn't know whether it had come to fruition.

    Bertie - really? :) Good to hear. I used to work upstairs and would be very interested in seeing the difference. I always got the impression that Le Mont was run mostly as a vanity operation - i.e. the head chef (I'm sure you know the one) knew fuck all about what GP he was running, stocktakes were non-existant, etc etc. Never the sign of a restaurant run to make a serious profit.

  7. The site deserves to do well - when it was Le Mont they didn't advertise at all well and having a tiny and subdued street-level entrance really didn't help at all. If they get that fixed then they may start attracting not just passing trade but might actually make people aware of the existence of the place.

    I'd be very interested to find out who's running the place now.

    p.s. Good review, Thom... ever thought about getting into PR/Media? :P

  8. I wholeheartedly agree.. Why complain about poverty and not being able to afford a £5-7 bird while smoking ten fags on your way to the supermarket?

    It's all about choise, and while we have more choice nowadays than ever before, we shouldn't be surprised that people do choose the cheapest possible option. Some of them genuinely have more important things to spend their money on, but in the vast majority of cases it's down to a combination of inertia, lack of education about choices, and generally not giving two shits about eatnig cheap chicken that tastes like penguin.

  9. I doubt that the list actually reflects the world's top fifty. The world's best connected fifty perhaps, the most media-friendly fifty, or fashionable fifty.

    Having said that, I doubt a 'rating' system like this can actually be any more objective, short of hiring a knowledgable and independent staff with no set agenda, who would visit restaurants, perhaps unannounced, and rate them objectively based on their food and surroundings.

    Nah, that would never work. I mean, what would the world be like without PR?

    (drifts off into a vision of paradise)

    Restaurant Magazine shouldn't be blamed for compiling the list and trumpeting it to all and sundry, but really... it's of no real objective use whatsoever.

  10. Longridge yo-yos down again. (deserved? undeserved?)

    Paul Heathcote must be right f*cked off...

    As Heathcote is planning three or four openings of his 'Olive Press' concept (a down-market chain Italian) in the next six months, I doubt a) he cares and b) he's even noticed.

    I disagree. That might be the case for a lot of the upper management in the Heathcotes organisation, but I know that both PH and Max Gnoyke (MD of the company and former head chef at Gavroche) will both be upset. I saw first-hand how happy PH was to have retained his star last year, and I can assure you he'll be hurting.

    It's often said that Longridge is run as a vanity operation, but it's not. GP is very tightly controlled and although it brings in next to no revenue compared to the Simply Heathcotes and Olive Presses, it pays its own way.

    edited to add: Declaration of possible interest - I used to work at Longridge.

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