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Ithaca Opens. Maybe.

Gordo proves he's better than Rooney at Manchester's new glamour location

Written by . Published on May 13th 2008.

Ithaca Opens. Maybe.

Gordo gets the call. Well, the email. You and Dianne Bourne (the She Devil from the MEN Diary pages who is getting fitter every day and is secretly in love with Gordo) can have the first look round at 11am on Monday. The invite is from, of course, from the world's vainest, most loveable Hindu, Arnie Hira. He's Ithaca's gaffer, the man who has entered the Guinness Book of Records for the World's Most Drawn-out Restaurant Opening. Two years?

Gordo was a bit worried when he read somewhere that Chef Nasser Laziri cooked dinner for Arnie and some footballers to show how good he was. Now, Gordo isn't being funny when he says that young Mr. Rooney, although a genius on the pitch, has never inspired Gordo as a food critic.

Although Gordo got a bit of this wrong to begin with. He'd suggested that Arnie promise Canon Clinch something. Clinch is one of God's top salesman from round the corner at The Hidden Gem church (aka St Mary's), who keeps using God's wrath to stop Arnie getting an 8am licence. Gordo told Arnie to convert from Islam to Christianity as he reckoned it was worth a three o'clock at least in the Lord's eye.

“Actually Gordo,” said the bronzed miniature Facebook botherer, “I'm Hindu”. Gordo kept silent as he'd had to write a few apology letters recently. “Mind you,” adds Arnie, “My girlfriend is Jewish, does that make me a Hindjew?”.

Arnie, it has to be said, is good dinner company and welcome at Gordo's table anytime, apart from when he thinks he's on a home run with a bird. Yes dear editor, Gordo did say that. (Don't worry. The editor's gone home to look for the Gordo section in his Handbook to Political Correctness. Ed)

So, Gordo finds himself being shown around by the good-looking Head of Business Development and Marketing, Marie Robertson. The place is black and silver on the inside: this will be the ultimate Marmite fit out. Gordo is going to reserve judgement until he sees the place in action. There are two bars, one on the third floor, the Cocktail Bar, a sexy little number and the Private Bar on the fourth floor which seems to be all bar and no space for the punters. Gordo is told it takes sixty people. He would feel a little claustrophobic with twenty in there.

Mind you, Gordo has a long history of being crap with interior planning - so let's see what you lucky buggers, who can afford to pay £1000 for a membership card, think. That kind of dosh can buy Gordo a couple of cases of first growth claret to lay down.

Back down in the cocktail bar Gordo spots some cherries which are part of the construction of cocktail called a 'Pasha', named after the club in Ibiza. Gordo can't remember an awful lot of boozing going on there mind you. Biting into one, it turns out to be a 'toffee cherry', like a toffee apple only thirty seven times better. These are too bloody good for stuffing into cocktails thinks Gordo, snaffling another couple while Marie is telling Diane all about the crystal bar top. Or something like that.

Down in the ground floor restaurant, Gordo meets the Executive Head Chef, Nasser Laziri, who Arnie has prised away from Nozomi in London. He seems very good and has put together an interesting looking menu.

Gordo learnt something new in his kitchen. Lobsters can be 'parboiled' for two minutes, then dealt with on a grill, or any other way for that matter. This is important, as when Gordo dispatches Lobster in the manner taught by Larousse, the plucky little sods, having been sliced down the middle still flap about for a good ten minutes, in two separate halves mind you. Which has been known to ruin Gordo's chance of getting his leg over a couple of times in the past, rendering one potential victim completely speechless. She just got up and left.

Gordo will let the food be described next week by another, far more sober reviewer. It looks interesting and secretly, although if he wants to be a bit snotty Gordo likes the cut of this restaurant's jib. Gordo was a bit worried when he read somewhere that Chef cooked dinner for Arnie and some footballers to show how good he was. Now, Gordo isn't being funny when he says that young Mr. Rooney, although a genius on the pitch, has never inspired Gordo as a food critic. Particularly after Gordo witnessed him picking his nose at the traffic lights once with the studied intensity of a Gibralter rock baboon. At least that one didn't wipe it's nose on it's sleeve.

Gordo can report that the wine list is remarkable, crediting no less than six suppliers including shifty Ed from Boutinot and Bibendum. The house champagne is the ladie's favourite, Perrier Jouet, a reasonable £38, an unusual Venoge Louis XV 1995 at £140 whilst Gordo's favourite Krug Grande Cuvee is on at £150. Mind you, Gordo's favourite actress is Uma Thurman, he doesn't have her very often either.

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31 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Simon TurnerMay 13th 2008.

Thanks Gordo for warning me off. This Ithaca place sounds horrible. Poncey, posey, Cheshire, monied, VIP nonsense.

EdMay 13th 2008.

'Shifty' Ed!! - I quite like it I think - makes a change from 'Cheeky' anywayThanks Gordo

Gordo Is GreatMay 13th 2008.

Keep Gordo, he is great! I keep away from the restaurants he rates, never had a bad meal yet.

mark mMay 13th 2008.

I guess some people just don't get it Gordo. Fools!

No, I'm Gordo!May 13th 2008.

Irritated, that is Gordo's job! Doing it well it seems, keep it up Gordo.

Hannah JohnsonMay 13th 2008.

Why is Nassor getting all the credit, he is hardly ever there? Norman and David should be getting the credit for the food. They are wonderful and seem to be doing all the hard work while the so called excutive head chef can be found in the northern quarter smashed out of his face spending his ridiculously over paid salary, on most week nights! great restaurant, great food, wrong credit!!!

Let's now review GordoMay 13th 2008.

Since you ask - no, I have never visited Ithaca, so I’m not the person you report having an altercation with. You upset people a lot, it seems. By your own admission, however, you have visited there at least twice in the past few days – and accompanied by your brother, sister-in-law and girlfriend, all for free. Secondly, as far as I know, Les Patterson is a character played by Barry Humphries, who is better known as Dame Edna. Either you are admitting that Mark Garner is a transvestite, or you are suggesting that ‘Gordo’ is the odious, seedy alter ego of the real, refined and respectable Mark Garner. The real Mark Garner is a bankrupted ex-porn baron who left a good many of his subscribers out of pocket, is he not? I’m not entirely convinced that there are very many degrees of separation. Thirdly, are you mentioning the size of your readership (again) because you are worried that those businesses that pay you for advertising space will see this and lose confidence? And are you worried that your usual tactics of creating controversy as a means of bringing people to the site such that your market grows, may not work this time?Next - are you writing this at all because you’re worried that others will pipe up and tell the world that you – the real Mark Garner – can be an absolute arse?Finally - I’ve never accepted ‘professional courtesy’, as you describe it. It basically stands for ‘you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours’ and has no place in my professional life. It certainly should never have a place in journalism – even journalism where you repeatedly blur the lines between advertising (krispy kreme, for example) and objective, impartial review. Then again, your readers ‘aren’t all idiots’, so they can unfailingly make the distinction, I suppose. I think you treat them like idiots though, personally.

AnonymousMay 13th 2008.

He is far more irritating in real life.

Mark Garner, The PublisherMay 13th 2008.

Well, ‘Let’s Now Review Gordo’, I suppose that you were one of the people on the table next to me with whom I had the altercation. It seems to me that there is a good life lesson to be learned here, because wars start like this. Arnie very kindly invited me to dine on the evening, with free food as a professional courtesy. I paid for my booze, the bill actually coming to £345 pounds for the four of us. I left a £40 tip, in cash, which is my custom as I have been a waiter and know the score. I presume your table was eating for free as well. I am writing this as Mark Garner, not Gordo. If Gordo irritates you, well get a life. He is my Les Patterson. He is meant to irritate, that is the tone of voice I chose as Publisher of my site which has over a quarter of a million readers, who aren’t all idiots. Last night a member of your table tapped me on the shoulder and started ranting on that me, my Brother, Sister-in-law and Girlfriend were talking about everyone on your table. What? I sat there gobsmacked. I didn’t have the faintest clue what the hell he was on about. I thought he was a mentalist who had drunk too much. I knew a couple of people on the table and had said hello when they sat down. That was it. It was bizarre. This feller kept at it, so I stood up and gave him a piece of my mind. That isn’t being a bully; it’s called standing up for myself. I told him to sit down and he did. The waiter was appalled at him. That’s it. When Scouse Tony, head of security, arrived I asked him not to throw the guy out, that it was over. For the record, whilst I and my staff are offered ‘freebies’ from time to time as part of the aforementioned professional courtesy which all the North West critics enjoy, we pay for all other meals which are being rated, with most visits being anonymous. And finally, I take huge pride in the way in which I, and all my staff behave with the great girls and boys of the F&B industry in the North West. If you don’t like our efforts, you can always read the Daily Mail.

daleyMay 13th 2008.

the doors finally open to let in that vain, self important bunch of wannabes looking for a refuge from a beating by mr panacea. surely we can find a rangers fan to piss inside their doorway?

IrritatedMay 13th 2008.

Whoever this gordo is consistently so annoying. Get rid of him and this site would be ten times better!

Mark Garner, The PublisherMay 13th 2008.


Geribean againMay 13th 2008.

In fact message for the honourable Graham Stringer - 'can you use your powers of persuasion and please have a word in the shell like of the owners of Manchester Confidential and tell them to ditch Gordo?'

AnonymousMay 13th 2008.

My only rant about this place is that the lights in the lift are too bright !! Trust me I am a hard woman to please ! The food was wonderfull in every way. The south african waiter, Damian possibly ... well he was the most passionate and enthusiastic waiter I have ever seen ! A bit hyper but entertained us as well as served us in a very polite manner. I had the duck and and the black cod, both great. The Lemon Meringue Cocktails were lush. The food in ITHACA is simply out of this world .

too many shoesMay 13th 2008.

Oh dear, someone's really got it in for Gordo haven't they?! This is unsurprising though, because food critics are generally reviled by anyone who isn't a food critic themselves. This being on account of the fact that it's easy to hate someone who gets paid to eat and drink for a living. I mean honestly it doesn't get any better than that does it? Being paid to eat foie gras! I'd have to pinch myself. They also put themselves in the firing line with their flowery language and self indulgent intros. And they're all just as bad as one another. Giles Coren spent a thousand words talking about squirrels during his review in the Times on Saturday and about 50 words actually describing the food. Now I like squirrels as much as the next person, but stick to the food Giles for the love of God. Winner's the same too twittering on about his last holiday with Cliff Richard and don't even get me started on AA Gill. In fact, I challenge you to find me one food critic that anyone has a nice word to say about and I'll give you ten pounds. They're always getting booted out of restaurants and kicked to death in the media. So it seems that the real sign that you've arrived as a critic, is the fact that most folk can't stick you! Well done Gordo! : )

GeribeanMay 13th 2008.

Will the head honcho of Manchester Confidential sack that stupid 'Gordo' bod and get in a decent food critic for the love of god!

DJ AKAYMay 13th 2008.

WELL DONE ARNIE & NASSER ! The place is spectacular in every way. The fish is the finest I have ever had in the uk ! Soft Shell Crab was gorgeous. The Black Cod melted in my mouth and then there was a spectacular taste explosion dancing on my taste buds. The Wagyu Beef was tantilisingly tender and tasty. All the cocktails and bar staff were the finest I have come accross outside of London. The Wine list was extensive and the staff were great. Nasser is an extremely humble and amazing talent and I wouldn't expect Arnie to let anyone else be in charge of the food. The bar upstairs is very private yet welcoming and again the cocktails were super. An individually toffee glazed red cherry topped off the cocktail and it is this kind of attention to detail that makes this bar THE BEST. Not detracting from the restaurant which is itself a spectacular sight but, the food speaks for its self and screams of quality and passion. I had my HSBC Premier Card in my back pocket and I was expecting it to take a hammering. I was pleasantly surprised, the food is exceptionally excellent value for money with many of the main dishes hovering around the £20 pound mark. Once again well done Arnie, so you spent a bit more money and took a little longer to get it open than expected but hey dude... it was worththe wait !

scoteeeMay 13th 2008.

Ithaca,Ithaca,Ithaca! what a nightmare...,Following an evening that left me £150 lighter on Confidentials advice I paid a visit to 36 John Dalton street to find the waitress apologising for the multitude of chefs and kitchen assistants all walking out for a calm down, following a "queen" style chef bust up within minutes of ordering.Apparently these guys are working from 7am in the morning until 11pm at night and, in good restauranteur style, the management are refusing to close on a Monday rendering the team to work those hours 7 days a week.Well it has just opened!!! And where was the superstar head chef on a Thursday night? I only went to be fed by him?! As the evening wore on it became clear that trying to fit an extremely noisy rude table of 12 full of oiks in that tiny first floor restaurant, was a bad idea for the new 6"5 French (Roger Ramjet Lookalike) Manager with his square jaw and sucked in cheeks.It was amusing to see the whole kitchen collapse with confusion and frustration at the rowdy table and lack of food orders being completed. The food its'self was above average with the Black cod well recommended.The seared scallops topped with caviar and a zesty dressing overpowered the three side by side beautifully cooked pieces.I also tried the Gaspaco Wagyu beef which came as four of the thinnest slices that melted in the mouth,these were beautiful even if i did feel i was swallowing a fiver at a time.(Thinner than a fiver they should have melted too)!.A seaweed salad dressed in sesame oil and seeds was an interesting combination too.All washed down with an white oaky Rioja which had me staggering out of the restaurant an 2 hours later and represented excellent value for money at just £22 per bottle All in all i felt raped, but had to admit the food is almost there, but the management need to be less nervous about boystrous wanabe customers spoiling what is clearly an attempt to eat in a close comfortable space with the best food in the N/West and make a decision about the hours,otherwise I can see a lot of damage on it's way.Make sure the executive head chef is working that night you choose to fit in to their wierdly design spinnining boxed seats,Oh and if you do use the loo try to avoid thursday nights as the four available toilets on the first floor also with square seat?(probably for Roger Ramjets arse) all had the remnants of a poor lady or gent who wished to deliver the noise of a flock of pigeons creasote the unclean toilet pans!!! ... Food 8/10... Waitress made our night 10/10, ...Atmosphere 6/10.

WasserMay 13th 2008.

Badly written? It's hilarious. The Confidential way of doing things is not that of others. Gordo's a daft bastard and that makes a lot of us smile.

Gordorful!May 13th 2008.

I have to agree... Gordo's reviews are so annoying. What's with the third person narrative?And why are there FOUR paragraphs of self-indulgent twaddle about the reviewer before getting down to business and talking about the restaurant!? This review SUCKS!!

ToriaMay 13th 2008.

Cant wait to see that sexy brazillian hostess strutting her stuff in Ithaca..... woo woo one hot mamma x

AnonymousMay 13th 2008.

Recently went to this much hyped ITHACA to eat, drink and be merry and thats exactly what i did! the food awsome, the service awsome,the drinks awsome ok its not the cheapest gaff in Manchester but you are made very welcome even down to the excellent doorstaff (which makes a change for manc) so if fine food and drink is your bag then go if not dont..

LianneMay 13th 2008.

I went to Ithaca on Saturday night and I can honestly say it was worth the wait. The atmosphere was complimented by the quality service and amazing cocktails. I will definately be trying out the food there in a few weeks for my birthday after speaking to many happy and satisfied customers in the bar. Well done Arnie... proud of you HP! xxx

gordo knows whoMay 13th 2008.

Keep up the good work Gordo. This is better than the twaddle written by that Sowewby bloke at the m. e. n. (he even had the audacity to put a nazi leader) in a supposed food reveiwLet,s start a "WE LOVE GORDO" CAMPAIGN

Mark Garner, The PublisherMay 13th 2008.

By the way, the food was absolutely terrific last night, well done to everyone involved.

Let's now review 'Gordo'.May 13th 2008.

I've really had enough of 'Gordo'. Not only his journalism - his degenerative omni-presence in Manchester's bars and restaurants. I've had the misfortune to witness, and hear accounts of, his bullying and unkind behaviour toward venue staff and fellow customers on one too many occasions now. I'm afraid the unpleasant truth is that venue owners put up with him because they are frightened of the consequences of not doing so. How many more times will he dine and drink for free in and around town - given loose rein to behave in whatever abhorrent way he wishes - because those people struggling to get a restaurant, club or bar off the ground need to stay on his good side? If all the people who have witnessed him at his worst went public here, I think Manchester would be much better off for it.

NoelMay 13th 2008.

Ed, ! shiftiest man in manny! No Doubt lol

InsiderMay 13th 2008.

Gordo is the owner of manchester confidential so not likely to sack himself is he?

it'll never lastMay 13th 2008.

Was it really the lobsters that made your lady companion leave? I heard it was the crabs.

KateMay 13th 2008.

This is yet another poorly written and self-indulgent review. Does anyone actually even try to edit Gordo's nonsensical ramblings? The staff at Manchester Confidential may find it all very amusing, but for the 99.99% of readers who don't get the in-jokes, it is just plain annoying. Just to make myself clear, annoying isn't doing your job properly, it's alienating visitors to the site.

Mark Garner, The PublisherMay 13th 2008.

not you, too many shoes of course!

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