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The Modern, Urbis, Manchester


thom
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Bless you RDB, you've turned to the dark-side!

I don't envy your general unhappiness with Manchester's food (it would be torture to be in a city where one didn't enjoy the eating) but I am genuinely glad that you rated The Modern and wrote it up on here. Your views chime withmany of my own and I think the Arbutus comparison is a good one.

I do think it is a really good restaurant so one of the most suprising things in this specific instance is that the media reviews (MEN, Metro and Harden's) have been fair to middling whereas punter reviews (whether from serious foodies or not) are almost unanimously good to great.

Funny old world.

And, to clarify, my feisty passion for championing people or businesses in the North is down to simple regional pride (a trait I have latterly built my business on!) but Manchester gets the lion's share of shouts as I know it best. My recommendations are based purely on personal opinions though if I had a share of Red Chilli (or even a referral fee!) I would be a very rich man...

I think Bapi is off the mark with organising the Manchester lunch so finger's crossed we can align all diaries.

Cheers

Thom

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".

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Without getting too carried away, one visit a restaurant does not make, so I will definitely return again to see if it is still as fine as my initial visit. On that note, has a date been set then boys, I think the spring menu is starting soon?

Thank you for that. Yes, the Arbutus comparison is one that has been mentioned by many visitors. And has been in our thoughts since the beginning.

Spring menu has sprung. About half the dishes have changed. Wild sea bass instead of the John Dory. New cocktails too including a rather lovely red vesper.

Advert over.

It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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Working with this equation you usually end up with a restaurant making lots of money, so I suppose when there is financial success, who cares about raising the game.

A restaurant is a business after all, that's what is all about. Forget stars, forget egos if i plough X thousands of pounds into any business i want a return not some plaque from some guide book.

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Yes indeed. Date mooted in my PM is looking like it is the best shot for this to actually happen. Will PM later tonight. Any further takers are welcome, unless of course you are a nutter of some sort.

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I'm not going to be able to make it to the Modern shindig. I am in Birmingham on the Tues, going to try Purnell's, then its a staff do on the Sunday, its fancy dress (What is it with girls and fancydress?? Bloody women!). I can't decide between Pink Panther of Spongebob Squarepants?? Decsions! So thinking about £££ :sad:

I hope to meet you guys soon, I'm sure it wont be long till we get the urge again! I expect a full disclosure on here though!!

Have a good time

Oliver

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I can't decide between Pink Panther of Spongebob Squarepants??

So which did you go for?

I think it would have to be Spongebob for me in a pathetic attempt to imply I was "down with the kids". I'm not sure anyone below the age of thirty would really get the Pink Panther and you'd spend the whole night trying to explain/justify yourself to your younger staff members (up to and including singing the theme tune - "rinky-dink panther" etc).

Cheers

Thom

Edited by thom (log)

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".

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I made a return visit to the Modern yesterday to sample their lunchtime Spring menu. Unfortunately the Manchester weather showed scant awareness of the change of season.

The food raised my spirits though. I had soused sardines with tomato and onion salad, the Goosnargh chicken on spring greens with morel sauce, and rice pud with rhubarb. Difficult to fault any dish, especially at £15.50 overall.

Service by the young waitress was attentive and efficient. With only two others dining she told me that they'd had low numbers at lunch all week but are usually fully booked on Fri and Sat evenings.

IMHO the Modern is an asset to Manchester dining.

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When I went I was the only one there as well, but it was a wet January Monday, hardly peak time!! But I am glad I went. Mancs posse, any news on the Elliott, does anyone know where it is opening??

And I am thinking of sacking off the fancy dress, as its going to be £40 for an outfit that I will wear once, and be a scrooge and go in civies! It will be, oooh, 6 weeks until the next engagement/leaving/new baby/siamese twin separation party, as per in fancy dress!! I will try harder to attend next time.shame, I would have looked hot in the pink panther costume :raz:

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I made a return visit to the Modern yesterday to sample their lunchtime Spring menu. Unfortunately the Manchester weather showed scant awareness of the change of season.

The food raised my spirits though. I had soused sardines with tomato and onion salad, the Goosnargh chicken on spring greens with morel sauce, and rice pud with rhubarb. Difficult to fault any dish, especially at £15.50 overall.

Service by the young waitress was attentive and efficient. With only two others dining she told me that they'd had low numbers at lunch all week but are usually fully booked on Fri and Sat evenings.

IMHO the Modern is an asset to Manchester dining.

When i was there ona thursday a couple of weeks ago they were doing brisk trade - must have been 30 covers there - one large office party being most of the covers in fairness though.

"Experience is something you gain just after you needed it" ....A Wise man

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  • 4 weeks later...
How did the Egulleteer's lunch go in manchester??

.........well I had a great day out I must say. I think meeting fellow egulleteers is indeed something everyone should do at least once, much like bungee jumping, swimming with dolphins and flower arranging. We started off with a drink at Sinclair's Oyster bar with some good wheat beer, beer to my delight turned out to be the theme of the day. We then descended upon The Modern, which has been reviewed a good deal down thread, so I will skip the finer points. We decided to share a plate of Oysters before our starters, which were quite delicious and served at perfect temperature with the usual accompaniments, origins of which I am not sure, others thought they may have been Irish?. The Oysters came of a specials menu which I think is a new addition to the dining format, which is a welcome touch. Next course turned out to be a bit of a disaster, not so much the food per se, but the woeful choices by a group of adventurous, cavalier and nerdy food lovers; everyone chose the same starter! I mean with 8 plus starters on a new menu, this was inexcusable, however the person I am most annoyed with is myself. This broke my golden food rule when eating out with others, never chose the same dish, but I did and have been ruminating over this ever since. I actually bowed to peer pressure, which made it worse. The dish in question was ‘Ashers farm fillet steak tartare, thick white bread’, maybe it was a primitive Neanderthal impulse , for us men to bond over a plate of raw meat? Anyway it was decided amongst us all, that it was not the greatest tartare ever made, it lacked seasoning, piquancy and that bit of wetness which to me is essential for a good tartare. I also thought it could have been a little colder, the accompanying leaves were well dressed, but greenery is not compensation for raw meat done wrong. I mentioned to my fellow diners about the great tartare they do at Northcote, which comes with a raw quails egg in a shell, The Modern’s version comes with a cooked quails egg, which to me is not going the full hog, All in all this is no reflection on the starter menu at The Modern, it is purely a reflection of four opinions of one dish.

After hearing what everyone had ordered for mains ( incidentally all the things I wanted), I opted for the remaining ‘Oven roasted rack of high peak lamb, hot pot potatoes, tomato and mint’. The quality of lamb was good but could have been pinker, hot pot potatoes were absolutely delicious, really good idea and taste. Good bit of saucing and I am sure there was a bit of well braised veg on the plate, fennel maybe. I think the general consensus was the mains were quite good, with a few complaints about the odd technical faux pas.

Desserts in my opinion do not read well for a spring menu, rhink rice pudding, sponge pudding and chocolate melting fondant, a little to heavy. I opted for a dessert of the specials menu which was Tutti Frutti ice cream and mixed fruit, which prompted a certain member to resurrect the theme tune to that Geno Genelli (sp?) advert from years gone. It certainly was a retro dessert, Ice cream was good, but maybe a little too much mixed fruit in the Ice cream and swimming around in the syrup below. That is a minor point, I just prefer desserts to be small. The cheese board looked quite good and went down well I believe. The staff really need to get to know their cheeses, like my last experience, she had to return from the kitchen with a script.

On that note service is probably still a weak point at The Modern, which can be on the one hand over gracious and sycophantic, whilst more senior members of staff maybe being aloof, and appearing not to care.

Not as good an experience as my last visit, but that is not going to put me off visiting again, and I am sure the guys at the modern are always open to a bit of feedback.

The rest of the day was great fun. During dinner, Thom picked up on my obsession with beer and decided to do a tour of some great pubs around the centre. Now I have not been out drinking around Manchester in years, but anyone into beer follow this route, it is breathtaking,, the variety and range of beer available is truly amazing . This resulted in copious amounts of fine drinking and introducing others to new tastes, not sure anyone liked my smoked beer and the 8% triple karmelite and 9.5% Chimay had the desired effect. All finished with kebabs at hunters and into auto-pilot to make the long journey home.

A very entertaining day all in all, and something I hope to do again soon. It was really good to send the day talking food with people who have an equal level of obsession and knowledge, albeit if the debates did get a little heated.

Oh, and top marks to Adam who left us mid afternoon , slightly worse for wear, to go for an evening of fine dining at Fraiche!!!

If you would like to follow in the footsteps of these intrepid egulleteers and experience good food, drink and foodie debate, below is a route that has been designed with the intention of encapsulating and satisfying all your epicurean and hedonistic needs.

Sinclairs Oyser Bar ( Cathedral Walks opposite Selfridges).

The Modern Bar and Restaurant ( Cathedral Gardens).

Trof (Thomas St just near the junction with Shudehill).

The Marble Arch (up Shudehill, across the Miller St/Swan St junction and two mins up Rochdale Rd).

Bar Fringe (back down Rochdale Road turn right onto Swan St for a minute).

Centro (straight out of Fringe, across the road and a minute down Tibb St).

Odd (continue down Tibb St, then right on Thomas St for about a minute).

:wink:

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It was indeed a very fun afternoon. As Robin says, the Modern was just a small part of a very enjoyable, alcohol fuelled, afternoon. I had the tartare as mentioned - I enjoyed this more than the rest, but as said, the lack of raw egg did mean it lacked the texture I was expecting. Better was the main of monkfish and oxtail with a red wine reduction. Fine piece of monkfish tail, served on the bone. Highly enjoyable. Less good was the cheeseboard, which whilst fine, was in no way exciting. Still, you can't go far wrong with rounding off a meal with Mrs Kirkham's lancashire cheese. A decent Spanish syrah accompanied the meal from the very good value bin ends list that the Modern seems to do so well. Service was a little naive, but our waitress was trying hard.

The beer was indeed a fine addition to the afternoon, so a trip to Sinclairs (just about the cheapest pub in my fair city), Trof for the Sierra Nevada pale ale and the Marble Arch, my esteemed local, rounded off my trip.

As mentioned, I did have to leave early as had the joys of Fraiche to go to that evening. Suffice to say that eating a 4 course lunch and a 12-or-so course tasting menu in a day leaves you somewhat on the full side. Will write up the Fraiche review if I can ever remember the full list of what I ate. Suffice to say that it was superb and the pork belly dish will live long in my memory - even with all the alcohol drunk.

So thanks to Bapi, Thom and Robin for fine company on a Friday afternoon and sorry to not have been able to complete the pub crawl with you chaps. Although if I ever have to drink smoked beer again, I may vomit. How on earth you could drink a whole bottle of the stuff is beyond me!

Adam

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Sounds like you had a great time. Next time a outing is planned, I will def try and make it!! I must warn you I am not the heaviest of drinkers, but the pub 'tour' sounded good. So will it be Mancs next time again, or somewhere else in a vague NW area type place thingamy??

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The rest of the day was  great fun. During dinner, Thom picked up on my obsession with beer and decided to do a tour of some great pubs around the centre. Now I have not been out drinking around Manchester in years, but anyone into beer follow this route, it is breathtaking,, the variety and range of beer available is truly amazing . This resulted in copious amounts of fine drinking and introducing  others to new tastes, not sure anyone liked my smoked beer and the 8% triple karmelite and 9.5% Chimay had the desired effect. All finished with kebabs at hunters and  into auto-pilot to make the long journey home.

Sinclairs Oyser Bar ( Cathedral Walks opposite Selfridges).

The Modern  Bar and Restaurant ( Cathedral Gardens).

Trof (Thomas St just near the junction with Shudehill).

The Marble Arch (up Shudehill, across the Miller St/Swan St junction and two mins up Rochdale Rd).

Bar Fringe (back down Rochdale Road turn right onto Swan St for a minute).

Centro (straight out of Fringe, across the road and a minute down Tibb St).

Odd (continue down Tibb St, then right on Thomas St for about a minute).

Sorry I missed the latter posts on this thread, I've been a bit exhibition-ed over the last week or two. Anyway, I have to say I concur, RDB's post is a fair and accurate summing up. The Modern was as described - not at the top of it's game, but we all know it can do better. The beer-crawl on the other hand was a peach (lambic).

Sinclairs was maybe a safe start, but we hit the mother-lode therafter with Trof being a good post-prandial (Sierra Nevada etc) and The Marble offering both home-brewed ales and exotic lagers (I must stress the smoked beer was utterly horrific) and more exotic glasses than Elton John. I balanced a Marble IPA with a Timmermans peach lambic which was a tad camp but delish.

After that Bar Fringe, where I caught my breath with a bog standard Kronenberg whilst Bapi and RDB ploughed on with some beer which RDB was stunned, delighted and mildly terrified to see served on draft ("My God, they can't serve that stuff in pints can they!?" he muttered). Possibly the Karmelite?

Centro was another Belgian beer temple, and we kept the pace up with a couple of large bottles of something that involved about 9% alcohol and some mad monks. By this time we were alternating between shouting "bollocks" and "yer me best mate" at each other.

The end game came with the safety of Odd, where we had a couple of pints of Staraprarhem (I think?) and a couple of kebabs around the corner at Hunters. Well I say "endgame", though Bapi and I did fit in one more pint at the classic "old blokes pub" on Shudehill called The Hare and Hounds.

All in all a tremendous day/night, perhaps worthy of being christened "Fear and Loathing in Manchester" (except with real ale and trappist beers instead of ether and acid), and certainly something that needs repeating.

Cheers

Thom

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".

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Rule number one. NEVER come of the sauce for any length of time before meeting up with this lot. To say I suffered the next day is entirely an understatement, Damm that Robin and his unfeasibly strong beer. Put it this way, I fell asleep on the train instantly, woke up in a fright and then lurched off the train to find I had disembarked six stations to early. Thank god for my cab friend, who picked me up.

Re the food. The tartare was poorly thought out sadly and serving it with half a hard boiled quail's egg instead of a raw yolk is just silly. My main however was very good indeed. Excellent crisped skin sea bass served in a lovely seafood bisque with scallops and langoustines. The chocolate fondant on the other hand was, well, just a chocolate sponge really.

An excellent day out apart from the risible smoked beer Robin made us try. There is more chance of me having vigorous sex with Kylie than anyone ever getting me to put that odious stuff to my lips again.

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Now I have not been out drinking around Manchester in years, but anyone into beer follow this route, it is breathtaking,, the variety and range of beer available is truly amazing .

Trof (Thomas St just near the junction with Shudehill).

The Marble Arch (up Shudehill, across the Miller St/Swan St junction and two mins up Rochdale Rd).

Bar Fringe (back down Rochdale Road turn right onto Swan St for a minute).

Centro (straight out of Fringe, across the road and a minute down Tibb St).

Odd (continue down Tibb St, then right on Thomas St for about a minute).

:wink:

I mentioned to RDB a couple of other places he, or indeed any other beer-nerd, should try. As I have a chink in my busy schedule now seemed as good a time as any to add them.

Think of it as a teeny-tiny two-bar beer-crawl. It's based around Castlefield - a wonderful counterpoint to the chav-tastic WKD Blue trash of Deansgate Locks - and although it doesn't have the quantity or range of the Northern Quarter/Collyhurst/New Cross walk detailed above the quality is absolutely spot on.

Firstly Cask on Liverpool Road. A tiny bar with a small outside area, it's unassuming looks hide a beer-lovers dream. More beers from all over the world than I have ever seen in one place before, all headed up by a barman/owner who absolutely knows his stuff and can talk you around the selection like the finest sommelier - "So you want something hoppy, Eastern European, not too strong? Well I reckon you've got fourteen choices or so... etc".

No website, but a detailed review with pics here.

Next up is Knott Bar, which is just around the corner on Deansgate . It used to be owned by the Marble Arch (as mentioned above) but it's now run independently, although they still carry some of their wonderful beers. Again it has a great selection of European lagers, some top local ales, hearty food and a relaxed and very mixed clientele which is just a joy compared to the other corporate chain bars in the vicinity.

Again I couldn't find a website, but a fairly accurate review is here.

Both well worth seeking out. If you want to add another place on to your Castlefield bar/pub-crawl then the only real standout within spitting (staggering) distance is the Briton's Protection just the other end of Deansgate Locks. A fair to middling old-fashioned pub it is worth a visit for it's selection of whiskys and whiskeys. Over a hundred, from Scotland, Ireland and further afield. A very nice way to while away an hour.

Or you could go and play pool or table football in the Peveril of the Peak just over the road?

Cheers

Thom

Edited by thom (log)

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".

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Manch doesn't need to beat itself up over lack of stars, no, but i still its non-'michelin' star restaurants never wow me either. the problem with the city for me is that i keep hearing about great places to eat so i go there only to come away disappointed.

if i go to nottingham or birmingham for example, it's easier to be impressed because nothing's been oversold to me in the first place.

theres a lot of moaning about manchester city centre dining going on so why not try places on the outskirts (around the airport, styal, wilmslow for example) of manchester instead where there is actually quite a bit going on.

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There's hardly anything in Styal or Wilmslow, in fact nothing I can think of off hand.

Oh there's that place out Styal/Wilmslow way. You know, the thingymabob hotel... Where that chap is the chef, Ernustus something...

Cheers

Thom

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".

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:cool::laugh:

http://www.allium.uk.net

http://alliumfood.wordpress.com/ the alliumfood blog

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, champagne in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming - Whey hey what a ride!!!, "

Sarah Poli, Firenze, Kibworth Beauchamp

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There's hardly anything in Styal or Wilmslow, in fact nothing I can think of off hand.

shouldnt you as a proclaimed foodie be a bit more knowledgeble about your area? i can think of 39 steps in styal, moss nook restaurant in styal, stanneylands hotel in wilmslow, alderley edge hotel in alderley edge, paul heathcotes london road restaurant in alderley edge, but then again im actually interested whats happening in my area. you should get out more, it can be very closterphobic in manchester if thats the only place you ever go to dine

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