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Fisherman,

So you're at Picc? Hope you enjoy it, it's a regular haunt of mine.

Don't expect anything jaw-dropping, but it just does decent, very eatable Italian food, with informal though competent service, and very nice busy surroundings. It's consistency is one of it's strong points - you rarely have less than a good experience there.

When are you going? It can be battered Fri/Sat night, and also gets very busy most lunches (particularly Thurs/Fri) and similarly busy with an after-works crowd later in the week. If bustle and buzz is what you are after then no problem, but don't expect a quiet and reflective meal!

If you are going at a busy time, I would speak to reservations again and use charm and persistence to see if you can get a table on the upper floor. This is on the street level with the bar, and is airy, light and open. The lower floor has a greater capacity and although they've done a decent job with a difficult space I still find it slightly claustrophobic, and it often has bigger parties so can be noisy.

Where are you going before or after? Let me know how the night goes.

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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Having met the venerable Thom (and some other reprobate from over the border) at Piccolino earlier this year. I can concur - it's a decent enough buzzy Italian that does what it says on the tin.

We actually ended up at Mr Thomas's Chop House (after Marshall threw a hissy fit about lunching at a new venue called Panacea :laugh::laugh:; too glam for him apparently :wink: ) quite rightly though as we had fine oysters and Sirloin steak. I seem to remember Gary being pleasantly suprised that the "artistic" squiggles that decorated his plate of Corned beef hash, was not some rarified balsamic reduction -but just plain old HP sauce.

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Mentioning my name is always a fifty/fifty thing - either warm handshakes and turfing Winner out of the best table in the house, or beaten to a bloody pulp and left in the gutter with the days wastage and scrapings. So do you feel lucky punk?

Bapi, good to hear from you fellow. Hows our clement Northern weather treating you? I exchanged emails with Gary a few weeks ago, and suggested an imminent repeat of our little soiree was in order (when shall we three meet again? etc etc).

Excellent recollection regarding the brown sauce thing, and also Gary's refusal to eat in the preposterously pretentious Panacea. Of course I think the only reason he wouldn't was that he knew the owner from his stock-broking days, and was sulking over the fact that he had more Porsches, global knives, pin stripe suits and pink shirts than him.

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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Of course I think the only reason he wouldn't was that he knew the owner from his stock-broking days, and was sulking over the fact that he had more Porsches, global knives, pin stripe suits and pink shirts than him.

:laugh::laugh::laugh::laugh:

That made my day. :biggrin:

Sorry I have not been in contact- been off-line for a while. Agreed, a return match is in order. Send me your e-mail by PM please and we'll get cracking organising something. :smile:

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Gary's refusal to eat in the preposterously pretentious Panacea. Of course I think the only reason he wouldn't was that he knew the owner from his stock-broking days, and was sulking over the fact that he had more Porsches, global knives, pin stripe suits and pink shirts than him.

I was 'sulking' as 'someone' hadn't realised the kitchen at the bridge was being refurbished :biggrin: You can't be that cavalier where lunch is concerned!

Think yourselves lucky i didn't demand we all got on the train and went to Anthony's asap!

However the chop house was good, i could just eat that corned beef hash cake with HP sauce right now mmmmm.

I struggled with panacea, i just can't do fashionable restaurants with 'concepts in dining' and cocktail lists longer than the wine list, seemed much more suited to being a bar for conspicuous champagne consumption, which of course i'm way past doing nowadays. :wink:

you don't win friends with salad

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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.

Cheers

Thom

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.

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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Thanks Thom. I know some of the area from days as a northern music hack from 88-99 ish, so Dry and places are well known (though I'm a little old now). Night and Day is a regular hang out. It's very good to have the run down--I'll buy you a pint in return!. I'm looking forward to being within a two minutes stroll of the back door of Matt and Phred's jazz bar as well.

I'm actually living in the block inside the old Smithfield Market walls, so between Hare and Hounds and the NQ/Market/Rodeo streets, and Bluu has a back door and some tables into the square where I am.

Fancy a drink/meal some time? Drop me a line.

And I'm back in Leeds tomorrow for a long lunch at A's--full-on tasting menu on their last day before their close-down. Yumm.

It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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Gary,

Yep, that dish was an absolute blinder. I often cook squid at home, but it NEVER (never, never, never) has the texture that Anthony's had. The combination of the merest charring on the squid flesh and the delicate and lustrous garlic cream worked better than I could believe.

Bertie,

Would be glad to meet you a pint. Are you living in the new-build bits of the market development? If you haven't really been back in the last five years then I think the changes to the area as a whole will leave you stunned. It might not yet be as gentried and mainstream as Soho in London or SoHo NY, but it certainly has a sustained and vibrant community and a fantastic gritty energy.

I'll ping you my details.

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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Gary,

Yep, that dish was an absolute blinder. I often cook squid at home, but it NEVER (never, never, never) has the texture that Anthony's had. The combination of the merest charring on the squid flesh and the delicate and lustrous garlic cream worked better than I could believe.

when i first had it, it reminded me of a mini donner kebab, a proper one mind, made up of discernable layers of meat! They de-beak each and everyone of them too, now that sounds like a fun job!

you don't win friends with salad

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And I'm back in Leeds tomorrow for a long lunch at A's--full-on tasting menu on their last day before their close-down. Yumm.

Then i must be going when they've just re-opened. Going on 17th for lunch :biggrin:

:shock::shock::shock:

Which blithering numpty invited you? :wink::biggrin:

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:shock:  :shock:  :shock:

Which blithering numpty invited you? :wink:  :biggrin:

Bapi, there is no need for such extreme and explicit language. You are a father now! Think of the children...

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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...

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).

...

Cheers

Thom

The Pot of Beer's shut, mate, for ever as far as I know. Gone to the redevelopers. You'll get a decent choice of pop in the Smithfield, opposite Bar Fringe (which can be fairly scary in its own way).

Stephen.

Stephen

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...

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).

...

Cheers

Thom

The Pot of Beer's shut, mate, for ever as far as I know. Gone to the redevelopers. You'll get a decent choice of pop in the Smithfield, opposite Bar Fringe (which can be fairly scary in its own way).

Stephen.

aahh thom's been rumbled :biggrin:

doesn't know that the old pubs have closed, yet has an uncanny knowledge of all the latest cocktail bars :laugh:

you don't win friends with salad

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piccolinos was the best italian meal i've eaten since i was last in lucca. great food, great service (they responded to some strange and some would say awkward requests from my colleagues promptly and with good humour, then halfway through the meal when our table for 4 suddenly became a table for 6 they didn't bat an eyelid.

foodwise, highlights were the chicken liver starter and the honey and pine nut ice cream. though everything was pretty damn good.

and yes thom, they did seat us in the upper area, though i didn't have to resort to using your name ;)

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Fisherman,

Glad you had a good time. As I said, it is always offers good food and a good atmosphere, no matter what the occasion.

Stephen B,

You are right, it was my oversight whilst writing a rushed response. Pot of Beer is indeed closed (which is very sad as it was my local for years, along with the Marble Arch, both 100m from front door) and used to do decent Polish pub nosh.

I actually meant the 'Beer House' (which made up the Angel Meadow Trinity along with the two afore-mentioned) which is still in business. New owners I think, but still a commitment to real ale and cider, and one of the best juke-boxes in town...

Gary, oh I've been rumbled many times before now. It's true, I've only ever been to Manchester twice, and ate at Spud-U-Like (RIP) and Panama Hattys (plus a Greggs cheese and onion pasty on the way home).

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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  • 1 month later...

The afore-mentioned deli/coffee shop Love Saves The Day has gone belly up according to an article in the Manchester Evening News. Shame, I used to rather like the place - well, both places - but service in the main venue had gone downhill after the move to Oldham Street.

A hugs-and-kisses site has been set up.

Stephen

Edited by Stephen B (log)

Stephen

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It is very sad indeed.

What makes it all the more frustrating is that as far as I understand it the deli genuinely was in good shape for expansion, and it was alleged bad accountancy practice by a third party which has screwed things up.

Always horrible to see a proud business trying to do something the right way go under, especially when the owners have put heart and soul into it.

You're right that service was disorganised and slow (but to be honest this always seemed to have been the case) but I just liked the feel of the place and had great admiration for what it did, particularly in terms of great wine selection, and promotion of local and regional produce.

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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