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Odd review

Sarah Tierney finds gypsies and unusual cheeses hiding out on Odd's revamped menu

Published on July 1st 2009.

Odd review

After disparaging comments from the editor about meeting my mum for lunch at Debenhams' café, I decided to take her somewhere a bit different this time. Somewhere with personality and spirit. Somewhere with a quirky, independent vibe. So we headed to Odd on Thomas Street. Looking round, she said, “I think I might have been in here before...they all look the same, don't they?”

This leftovers dish was like a rustic, mashed-together Full English for people who are too posh to order a fry-up at one o'clock on a Tuesday.

Not the reaction I was hoping for, but she's got a point. Though it's down to other establishments imitating Odd's style rather than the other way round. This is the original that came before Odder and the soon-to-open Oddest at Polar Bar's patch in Chorlton. Plus numerous other bar-café's that sport that 'interior designer runs amok at a car boot sale' look.

The reason for the visit, other than to catch up on family news, was because Gordo had been perusing their menu in passing, and thought it looked “interesting”. As he has a very busy dining schedule, I volunteered to try it out.

Odd's menu is fairly new – they hired a new chef at the start of 2009 and he gave it an overhaul. After four years in business, it needed a refresh. Meals at sister-bar Odder have been hit and miss in the past, eaten to offset the effects of beer rather than because the food was anything special.

The new chef has livened things up considerably. Amongst casual dining predictables like fish and chips, and goats cheese salad, there's a good range of options that spark the curiosity. The intriguingly-named Gypsy Eggs (£5.50) caught my attention, while Mum went for Mushroomio Tallegio (5.75).

I'm not sure about their mastery of the Italian language, but Odd know how to handle this creamy, strong mountain cheese. Melted on top of big, juicy mushrooms on toasted white bread spread with a thin layer of salsa, this was delightful. Tallegio is growing in popularity (the Barbican have done it for a while, and Tesco has now started to sell it) but it seldom features on menus so it's appearance here was a welcome surprise. It came with a subtle red cabbage coleslaw, non-vinegary and mild.

Onto the eggs, which Northern Quarter gypsies like baked over a pot of tomatoes, peas, garlic, bacon and strips of chorizo. This leftovers dish was like a rustic, mashed-together Full English for people who are too posh to order a fry-up at one o'clock on a Tuesday. If it were a bit spicier, it'd be hangover food heaven.


Drinks-wise, my mum went for a glass of Vistamar Sauvignon Blanc from Chile (£4.20) while I had a bottle of Fleshburger Gold lager (£3). It was mild and frisch, like it said on the bottle, but isn't recommended for consumption with food unless you haven't eaten for several days

Home-made desserts maintained the high standards of the mains. The chocolate chip cheesecake with a berry coulis (£3.99) was eaten quickly and enthusiastically. The toffee apple crumble with crème fraiche custard (£3.99) was an excellent variation on an old classic. The crumble topping was one to recreate at home – rough chunks of crumble rather than fine grains, with bits of melting toffee mixed in.

The food here was a lot better than expected. It made me wonder why the place wasn't busier – only a few other people were dining, which didn't seem right for a work day lunch time. It might be because the service was a little slow, which in turn was probably because the chef was downstairs preparing everything from scratch.

But it'd be a shame to ruin Odd's laid-back atmosphere by turning it into a super-quick conveyor belt of meals. If it's efficiency you're looking for, try Debenhams café, where you're given an electronic alarm to take to your table after ordering. It beeps loudly and flashes to alert you (and everyone around you) when your food is ready, and doesn't stop until you've collected it. Odd, but not in a good way.

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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

jenJuly 1st 2009.

I went to the newest one in chorlton and had breakfast, horrid, don't waste your time or money. Also try to make things individual, rather than pinching other bars ideas, it seems to be more and more apparent in each of the odd bars.

emma graceJuly 1st 2009.

I've eaten in Odd a few times...it's always been lovely. Not outstandingly amazing, but just nice and what you'd expect from the descriptions on the menu, and nice enough to keep me going back. The only thing I don't like about this review is that picture of the crumble and custard. The little white pot of crumble and little white pot of custard is a very corporate look; too clinical for Odd in my opinion.

ancoats girlJuly 1st 2009.

I hope they're still doing Sunday roasts - I've enjoyed those a few times at Odd and Odder, and they were delicious.

Big Bad BobJuly 1st 2009.

Not a fan one little bit. i have a cpl of friends who like odd but odder is one of the worst bars in mcr in my opinion and rgds their food, its not even pub grub.

CrapsandwichJuly 1st 2009.

always found it a bit bland in the past, bland and unexciting, bland really, just really bland, like a slice of dry wholemeal bread, alright, just a bit bland.So i suppose i'll have to go back and recheck it out, will let you know if it's any less bland.

jonnyJuly 1st 2009.

please say the sweet potato wedges are still on the menu!

DidsburyGirlJuly 1st 2009.

Are they still doing the odd platters? My Fella and I class that as one of "our" meals. And I hope the sweet potato Wedges are still knocking about!

Carole FittonJuly 1st 2009.

Always thought these were better as very good bars rather than as food places

callsignponyJuly 1st 2009.

Those sweet potato wedges are amazing. They used to do a steak sandwich that was amazing to, sadly now not on the menu

GordoJuly 1st 2009.

Eh, Chris, Ime' with you son...

AnonymousJuly 1st 2009.

Yo'ure right. Its' Horribly anal too point That out: Im more concerned aBout what the articles' saying.

east lancsJuly 1st 2009.

Went in Oddest last night. Overcrowded and insanely noisy; and that was before the 30 or 40 folk sat outside were herded inside way too early.

AnonymousJuly 1st 2009.

Tesco have been selling tallegio for a fair few years...

MikeJuly 1st 2009.

I always found odder food to be way overpriced for the quality. I've never really had any good meals at Odd - prepared to give it another go now though.

AnonymousJuly 1st 2009.

as a plural it doesn't need one but if cafe is an abbreviation for cafeteria then why shouldn't it have an apostrophe? Pedantic rather than anal

DidsburyGirlJuly 1st 2009.

Jonny - Thats what I said above! I realy hope they haven't ditched them!

ChrisJuly 1st 2009.

Good review, but is it horribly anal to point out the redundant apostrophe in "café's"? You can't just guess at where they go -- "Hmm, cafés looks wrong, I'll stick an apostrophe in there". Surely a subeditor should pick this up? I know, it's a petty point, but stuff like this makes ManCon look like an amateur provincial fanzine, rather than the very decent website that it is.

Odd Bar!July 1st 2009.

Hiya! It’s great to know our new chef and menu is being appreciated by Manchester Confidential and we would strongly urge everyone to check out Odder again! Our new chef has done wonders for Odder (as well as Odd), which has a whole new menu too and we think you’ll no longer find the food is “eaten to offset the effects of beer” (!!!) Both menus are different, and Oddest will be different still, and all fresh and home-made to order and more and more people are coming to Odder specifically to eat AND drink!!!

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