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Thanks everyone. Right, it's probably between The Modern (congrats Bertie!) and Harvey Nics at the moment then.

A colleague of Mr Woman is trying to get us to go to Obsidian - I get the impression this place is all fur coat and no knickers? Is this right?

Whatever happened to Lounge Ten as somewhere special to go?

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Lounge Ten is fine, in a fine sort of way, but I find it costly for the quality of food. Also, although the interior is "unique" and "intimate" I actually find it "contrived" and "cramped". I can see why people like it, but it isn't for me and it isn't special. I once had an argument with a friend of a friend who used to work there regarding why it didn't have, and had never had, a Michelin star (he was adamant it did).

Obsidian has had flashes on inspiration (not least when it opened with Duncan Poyser as chef and Jamie Stephenson as bar guru) but key staff never stuck around and generally it has been down more than it's up. It's a funky enough space but apart from one-off events it never really attracted anyone, fur coat or not, in significant numbers.

I wouldn't discount Lounge Ten entirely as despite me getting bored with the whole "shocking" erotic murals thing it can represent a decent night but I would certainly strike Obsidian from your list forthwith. It's ok for cocktails but if you want decent food and sceney, Cheshire slickness then Grill on the Alley, or indeed the original RBG, still do it better.

I reckon you're on the right track with The Modern or HN.

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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What about Ithaca- is it any good Thom?

I've eaten there a number of times and found the sushi very decent (not spectacular, but the best in town by a long chalk) and the black cod actually pretty damn good.

The reason I can't recommend it more wholeheartedly is:

a) It's so, so, horrifically bling. And the chairs are ridiculous.

b) I constantly hear that they've had major personnel changes in the kitchen which endangers consistency.

c) There are constant rumours they are about to close. Recent cheap lunch deals seemed panicky and now I hear they're moving into a new menu of pizzas and luxury burgers. Waving or drowning...?

d) The winelist has pictures of each of the individual bottles of wine on it.

So it's a weird one as I keep chancing it and it keeps being pretty good (if empty), but whilst I'm happy to risk my own money I'm loathe to recommend it to anyone, particularly for a special occasion, as I know it does seem to be a ticking timebomb and sooner or later it will let someone down spectacularly.

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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right well Mr W has booked the Modern but has been told they want the table back for 9.15 for a 7.30 booking - that's not even two hours! Not really what I was after for a relaxed birthday meal :angry: He is calling back to see if any flexibility but it's not a good start.

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We're quite happy today.

Congratulations on the result, Bertie.

I find myself in agreement with several of the decisions there - my "non-eating life" often takes me to both "visitor attractions"

John

John Hartley

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Nope, struggling with that [edit to make self clear--'struggling with that being a problem] if it's a weekend night....have to say The Modern isn't the epitome of 'relaxing'.

Hi Bertie, are you trying to say that we should be happy with this hour and 45 minute slot then? Would it be the same at Harvey Nics or elsewhere on a Friday? I'm not necessarily looking for somewhere quiet when I meant 'relaxing' - I just didn't expect such table turning at The Modern.

Hey ho better try somewhere else then.

Edited by Mrs Woman (log)
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the bar at the modern is lovely as well - would they be able to save a table there for coffees etc for you? I really enjoyed my meal there and think it is definitely worth a visit.

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

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Nope, struggling with that [edit to make self clear--'struggling with that being a problem] if it's a weekend night....have to say The Modern isn't the epitome of 'relaxing'.

Hi Bertie, are you trying to say that we should be happy with this hour and 45 minute slot then? Would it be the same at Harvey Nics or elsewhere on a Friday? I'm not necessarily looking for somewhere quiet when I meant 'relaxing' - I just didn't expect such table turning at The Modern.

Hey ho better try somewhere else then.

Probably would be a little different at Harvey Nicks as I don't think there's quite the pressure on tables. The Modern is quite a, uhhr, modern setting so, when busy, is fairly loud. And the bar (more so on a Saturday admittedly) gets fairly crowded and noisy upstairs.

What I'm saying is I'm not unhappy with it as the boss. If I started saying, well you need to extend those hours, we drop from 130 covers being done in a night to 110, income starts dropping and as its funded through public money, there's a major issue there. We also explicitly are not a 'fine dining' restuarant, as should be judged from the prices (£22 steak notwithstanding). I've never found 1hr 45mins not to give time for three courses without being in any way rushed. Orders taken (usually) at the bar, no amuses, coffee back in the bar. Whole trip could still be three hours depending on your drinking...(!)

Wherever you end up, hope its good.

[Edit for spelling snafu]

Edited by BertieWooster (log)

It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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Thanks Bertie, your "it's loud, we're busy, so if you don't like, you can go elsewhere' attitude is refreshing in its honesty :) I never expected the Modern to be fine dining or be as quiet as a church but I didn't expect such short shrift on the timings, that was all. I really don't like having a time stamped on me before I even sit down, you're always conscious of it while eating. I'm sure I can't be the only person who doesn't like this?

Never mind, I'll try somewhere else. Long may you stay busy Bertie! :biggrin:

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I'm sure I can't be the only person who doesn't like this?

You're not.

I'm not sure which I dislike most - this sort of time constraint or only being offered "extreme" times for a table (you know the sort of thing - 5.45pm or 10.30pm)

John Hartley

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I'm not a big fan either, but needs must...and it obviously depends on the particular day. We have an individual issue that we do a lot of trade from the MEN Arena, so big gigs will lead to a large number of bookijngs that finish at 7ish and then another load that want to start at 10-30ish, which really restricts ability to deliver in the middle.

It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Visited Abode a few weeks back and food still the best you will probably get in Manchester at the moment. I also found the service has vastly improved, seemed organised and much more attentive and slick.

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I was there with a couple of reprobates from here last Friday. Nothing on the cheaper Amazing Graze menu ticked any of our boxes and it was noticeable that the more luxurious ingredients had made way for Broccoli soup and ham hock terrine follwed by Lamb liver and plaice with pomme puree. Nothing wrong with this obviously- as I couldn't see how they could continue to use foie gras and red mullet at those prices.

We opted for the Grazing menu in the end choosing 4 dishes each. Suprise, suprise -Gary and Thom went for exactly the same dishes again. I started with Cod cheeks and crispy pork belly which was a hit for me served with a ginger and apple puree and a fennel cream sauce. A nicely balanced dish. Ravioli of crab with lemon grass and pink graprefuit came next for me, nice rich buttery sauce, but this was a little over salted and the unannounced slivers of ginger completely overpowered the grapefruit and sadly the moreish crab. I was really looking forward to my slow poached halibut with watercress puree salsify and chicken jus. This could have a been a great dish but was again over salted, or rather the jus was, we were told, to compensate for the fish being rather delicate. A real shame. My last savoury course was Roast Goosnargh duckling orange brasied chicory and black olive paint. Seasoning, execution and presentation were are spot on for this course and this is the dish were I deviated away from the other chaps choices. Very glad I did as it delivered. Note to self- never start talking when the cheese was delivered. By the time I came round to helping myself Thom had left me three parsimonious slivers. Pud was a peanut butter parafit for Gary and myself and that was followed by some lovely salted caramels.

Service was rather good I thought, and they coped well with Gary's wine choices, even whisking away the Red wine Riedel's to replace them with ones for our Pinot Noir.

Then it was off into the rain and to the Hilton Bar high up Beetham Tower amongst a blur of other places. And of course we ended up at Red Chilli later, just for a change.......

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Bapi,

Considering the state you ended up in that is a very fair and accurate write-up!

I think you've nailed pretty much all the dishes, and myself and Gary deviated only on having rabbit ravioli - which were really rather wonderful and stuffed to bursting with densely packed meat - in place of the duck.

All in all I thought the meal itself was close to very good - only the over-salting of the halibut dish really threw me (strangely the potentially salt-heavy cod cheeks and pork belly was seasoned perfectly - but I found the service clunky and odd. Certainly the worst I have encountered here.

Firstly we had at least four people serving us at various times, and they ranged from warm and efficient to warm and well-meaning to cold and uncommunicative. The gold star of bringing the pinot noir glasses has to be offset against one waiter trying to remove our initial red wine glasses twice even though we clearly said each time that we still intended to order some.

The thing which really irritated me - and in a world of civil unrest and impending enviromental and nuclear meltdown I realise how petty this sounds - was the bread issue. Essentially we finished the first basket of rather fine bread, and asked for a second. This was a long and multi-faceted meal, but Gary is from Yorkshire and was worried about leaving hungry. "We don't have any more" we were told.

Now come on. An aspiring to Michelin star restaurant, with a half-full lunchtime service and the dinner trade still to come, can't rustle up an extra bread-basket? Especially for a table of lunatics intent on over-ordering off the a la carte grazing menu and bothering the upper-middle region of your wine-list? No bread at all? Not even any dough prepped and resting for the evening which you could call into service?

Seriously? No more bread. We let it go at the time but it is one of those small but jarring incidents which makes you question what the restaurants motivations are, how it's run and what it's aspiring to be. It can't be a one-basket bread policy (indeed I'm often been offered more bread at previous lunches) so was it down to a badly informed/trained waiter or some cock-up in the kitchen?

Quite tainted the place for me (but then I'm a precious little git at times...).

Following that we took in the mediocre bar with astonishing views with is Cloud 23 at the Hilton, called at Piccolino's for beer and then The Vines (for more beer) en route to Trof in the Northern Quarter where we had, well, more beer.

Then stir-fried chilli pigs maw and some sort of offal fondue at Red Chilli, topped off with whiskey cocktails in Socio Rehab, back once again in the bosom of the Northern Quarter.

Then me and Gary got the train. And Bapi got a kebab.

A good day was had by all.

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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Tried out the Cloud Bar myself on night of afore-mentioned birthday, but I quite liked it, although it did help that we'd booked ahead, went straight to the front of the queue and had a table waiting for us. Both cocktails I tried were pretty decent but I'm not sure the bar has enough atmosphere for a full evening.

Anhoo, we went to Harvey Nics in the end and had the tasting menu. pretty darn good I thought but then I don't get out much these days. Also had some surprisingly decent grub at Walrus (using a voucher off Manchester Confidential, 2 courses and beer/glass of wine for a tenner). Will write up all when I get chance.

Thom, it really is a wonder that you're not the size of a house after that little lot!

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Tried out the Cloud Bar myself on night of afore-mentioned birthday, but I quite liked it, although it did help that we'd booked ahead, went straight to the front of the queue and had a table waiting for us. Both cocktails I tried were pretty decent but I'm not sure the bar has enough atmosphere for a full evening.

Anhoo, we went to Harvey Nics in the end and had the tasting menu. pretty darn good I thought but then I don't get out much these days.  Also had some surprisingly decent grub at Walrus (using a voucher off Manchester Confidential, 2 courses and beer/glass of wine for a tenner). Will write up all when I get chance.

Thom, it really is a wonder that you're not the size of a house after that little lot!

Oh queue-jumping is imperative, the door policy is so unpredictable and officious I can't be bothered otherwise. The drinks are fine but I just find the fit-out (especially the "annex") is horrible and the crowd and atmosphere is rather bizarre.

Glad you liked Harvey Nichols. I've not been since the new chef took over. I see no major changes to the menu yet which seems a little concering as you'd expect a new chef to balance continuty with his own stamp but we shall see.

I think the food at Walrus has always been fine and the cocktails are pretty good too. Can't knock it with one of Man Con's vouchers. Next time you're in that neck of the woods check out Apotheca which is an outstanding bar at the moment.

I'm not quite house-size yet (well, maybe a compact and bijou maisonette) but that's a constant battle believe me... I'm actually a stone lighter than back in my Restaurant magazine days though that may have largely been down to the enormous Mange Tout (RIP) lunches i used to have every day.

Mhmmm Mange Tout lunches...

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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Bapi,

Considering the state you ended up in that is a very fair and accurate write-up!

........

Firstly we had at least four people serving us at various times, and they ranged from warm and efficient to warm and well-meaning to cold and uncommunicative. The gold star of bringing the pinot noir glasses has to be offset against one waiter trying to remove our initial red wine glasses twice even though we clearly said each time that we still intended to order some.

........

It can't be a one-basket bread policy (indeed I'm often been offered more bread at previous lunches) so was it down to a badly informed/trained waiter or some cock-up in the kitchen?

My state? A little rich coming from the oddly,swaying cross eyed chap sat opposite me in Red Chilli.

On reflection you are right about parts of the service. Some of it was, as I wrote, really rather efficient, but I did notice the rather brusque chap who served us and kept trying to remove our red wine glasses was quite rude. He didn't seem to be able to comprehend we wanted to keep them. Also as he was clearing Gary's plate on a couple of occasions he, practically pushed past him to get at it without so much as an "excuse me". Sadly, he also presented us with the nadir moment of the day by curtly declining to let us have any more bread. Kitchen cock up or his manner?- either way an odd thing for an aspiring restaurant to do. At least decline politely chaps! Thom- perhaps we should have mentioned that issue to the decent MD who was on reception as we left?

In any case,after mentioning what had happened to friends who want to lunch in Manchester in a couple of weeks- we have opted for Harvey Nicks instead.

I also have to admit that as Gary says- I don't actually get out much, at least not into a city. So I was rather blown away by the view from the Cloud 23 Bar and I also thought the lass serving us at the table was rather charming. But no way would I ever consider queueing to get in there.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi Guys.

I'll be in Manchester for a night out at the end of September. I got a good deal at the City Inn, room only. I am wondering, where's best in Mancs city center for breakfast?? Anything decent in the Northern Quarter?? I'm not a massive eater at breakfast, cereal, toast, maybe a croissant, so I dont want to have to pay £15 for the privilege for a rather lack luster one I got last time at City Inn.

Thanks.

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