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date in manchester


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Apologies for the nature of the thread but I guessed people here would know better than most. I'm meeting a girl for our first date. We'll be meeting midday in Manchester until evening. We're both early 20s - she's vegetarian. Really just trying to get a few ideas of cafes/eating places in mind. Not really wanting anything formal; idealy just relaxed but not low on quality. Cheers!

Edited by SaladFingers (log)
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Favourite of mine is Teacup: http://teacupandcakes.com Food is not bad (I'm addicted to the homous and falafal sandwich - with chillis and mint - on toasted Barbakan Norlander ryebread) and the cakes are excellent. Good drinks too, the place is owned by Mr Scruff so it serves his tea range and more.

Service is friendly if a tad chaotic (better than the Northern Quarter norm of disinterested and chaotic) but it's just a great bustling place and to me is the people-watching centre of the Northern Quarter - fascinating and you really will see all life here...

The Northern Quarter generally is a cracking place for a lingering lunch (especially one which persists into early evening) so there are lots of other options in and around but most are bar-based (which may or may not appeal?) or glorified lunchtime cafes. Happy to suggest some more (Earth Cafe, Olklahoma, Craft Centre etc).

Otherwise for something more formal try Cicchetti, the new restaurant from the gang behind San Carlo. It's in the ground floor of Kendals department store on Deansgate so can be a bit "ladies who lunch", but it's got a great "light bites/small plates" menu, is slickly styled, and is ideal for lingering and watching the world go by.

On final 'enjoy it whilst it's there' option is the Cornerhouse cafe on Oxford Road. The building houses a gallery space and arthouse cinema (shortly to relocate) but the revaped cafe is actually excellent. Again patchy service but the food is really pretty good and again the clientele and big windows onto the street make the time fly.

Hope that helps, if you have any more specific criteria (style, cuisine, price, location etc) then let me know and I'd be happy to make further suggestions.

Enjoy

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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Thanks for the great reply. Teacup looks like a very good call, anywhere with an interesting tea menu meets my approval. Oklahoma looks like potential but the photos I've seen appear a bit Hipsterish. Not being familiar with Manchester, I must figure out the geography so I can link places together and make our trip through the city feel organic rather than rehearsed lol. As far as food is concerned, she is in her final year at uni, so I imagine not a foodie - anything too high-end would probably feel like I'm trying too hard but I don't want our topic of conversation to be how bad the food is! Somewhere with an interesting sounding menu, well executed, with relaxed settings (I will be dressed smartly but probably wearing my best trainers so don't want to be refused from somewhere because of that).

Edited by SaladFingers (log)
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Hope it goes well, SF. I'm old enough to be your grandad so am not about to start offering first date reccs - but suggest you have a Plan B as well as Plan A. If she's a student in the city, she probably knows the veggie friendly places and you may get a vibe that she's not keen on going to Plan A.

That said, I agree with Thom about the Cornerhouse having possibilities, if you think an "arty venue" would work. Nice space, decent food (veggie offerings are middle-eastern-centric)

Edited by Harters (log)

John Hartley

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Nowadays you'd stuggle to get turned away from anywhere in Manchester for wearing trainers (particularly restaurants/cafes as opposed to poncey bars/80's style nightclubs) so you can relax on that score! And RE food all will give you a decent foodie experience, without dominating proceedings, in busy and pleasant surroundings.

In terms of Manchester's geography it is, in VERY rough terms, a kind of triangular shaped city centre (Deansgate, Great Ancoats Street and Whitworth Street form approximate boundaries) and coincidentally the places I mentioned sit at three extreme points (so don't try all three unless she, and you, are wearing sensible walking shoes!).

Cornerhouse is at the top of Oxford Road, which is the main student artery into the city housing all the main academic institutions, so she'll doubtless be comfortable with that. Crowd is very mixed, with arty folk, students, 'creative tourists' as well as travellers from Oxford Rd Station and business folk.

If she's an adventurous student she'll have made it North of Piccadilly Gardens to the Northern Quarter which is where Teacup sits. Imagine a cross between Soho, Hoxton and Shoreditch, if a shade grittier, and you're there. It's Manchester's creative/indie area - galleries, vintage stores, cool bars etc - and many students frequent there.

And, if her student finances stretch further than mine did, she might even have made it to Manchester's posher shopping area where Cicchetti is to be found (Selfridges, Harvey Nichols and the boutiques of a resurgent King St are all close by). It's certainly not 'formal', but expect suits, Cheshire set, and minor celebs/footballers galore!

Depending on your 'courting' itinerary Oxford Road gives you the Cornerhouse with the City Art Gallery and Chinatown only a few minutes away (both good, in different ways, for mooching round), Northern Quarter gives you Afflecks, The Craft Centre etc to explore, whereas Deansgate is largely shops but you're right by the impressive Christmas markets.

Sure you'll be fine in the culinary/seduction stakes whichever route you take. Just wear your tightest trousers, your shirt open to the waist displaying your biggest medallion, and be sure to laugh uproariously at your own jokes whilst pointedly jangling your (luxury brand) carkeys at every opportunity (borrow someone elses if needed).

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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I was on rare daytime visit to town this morning and, while waiting for the craft centre to open, popped into Teacup for a brew. As Thom says, service is a tad dilatory - but it's friendly and the coffeee was pretty good.

By the by, I was back in the Quarter later and had lunch at the Yagdar. At £4.70, the "rice & three" must be one of the most expensive of the curry cafes - and it wasnt that brill. Shame the Little Alladin had three customers so was packed, otherwise I'd have eaten there.

John Hartley

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I was in there a couple of weeks back, on the morning after the night before - it made me screw my eyes up a bit (too much back story on the provenance and not cheap) but thats just me.

The rest of the bunch I was with liked it a lot, says a lot for getting older i guess coffee was good, carrot cake was ace, we quite liked the service ;)

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  • 5 weeks later...

Visited Teacup to start - had a couple of loose speciality teas - Had Heart of Love blooming flower tea - it looked spectacular but I couldn't find much consolation in the taste for some reason :) The novelty egg timers were great.

Payed a visit to Cornerhouse for lunch but it was full, so ventured into a room with a psychoses exhibition instead. Stomach rumbling, lady friend suggested a weird, looking bar on Oxford Road with no one in for lunch, to which I bizarrely agreed. It was grey wallpaper food - non discript but meh I was too busy talking to care.

Spent the evening in Epernay, slowly recovering my nerves with interesting sounding cocktails. Actually this place was lovely and some guy came and lit us a candle; very relaxing and charming mixologist running through alcohol in fine detail and nice atmosphere.

thanks for your help guys.

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Epernay is cool, just hope it can survive the Bermuda triangle effect that is currently occurring on Peter Street vis a vis the bars all closing down.(Alright, absolutely horrid crap bars, but it still pulls trade away).

Perhaps we should have a hit list of quieter places that deserve our support so that in a spur of the moment situation somewhere worthy gets our money rather somewhere convenient...

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Suppose, since it's convenient I could expand the thread to cover decent places to eat in the evening, which provide decent options for vegetarians. I see Chaophraya won an award for vegetarian food but haven't heard anything about the place beyond that.

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Suppose, since it's convenient I could expand the thread to cover decent places to eat in the evening, which provide decent options for vegetarians. I see Chaophraya won an award for vegetarian food but haven't heard anything about the place beyond that.

We have been five or six times and have enjoyed every meal. Its as authentic as any food that we have eaten in Thailand.

As strange as it may seem the food tastes better downstairs (ground floor) than on the first floor.

Not been for six months or more, may give it a whirl again soon.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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