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Exclusive: Kaleido Restaurant Closes

Jonathan Schofield on failure of 'fine dining' on the top floor of NFM at URBIS

Written by . Published on July 31st 2013.

Exclusive: Kaleido Restaurant Closes

OPENING a fine dining restaurant above The National Football Museum (NFM) was always likely to be an own goal.

It came as a surprise that every incarnation failed to address the cold look, the waiting room atmosphere and insipid colour scheme. 

So it has proved.

With immediate effect Kaleido restaurant is to close after several unsuccessful attempts to create something special up in the sky - or at least on levels five and six of the Urbis building.

Instead the company that runs the events and catering for NFM, Kudos of the Crown Group, intends to use the space for events and one-off showcases.  

This is the official press statement: 'Following the success of the events at Kaleido, (Kudos) is preparing to turn the current restaurant on the top floor of the Urbis building in to a dedicated event space. 

'The Kaleido restaurant opened in 2012 following the refurbishment of the Urbis building and formed part of the contract with Kudos to manage the cafe at the National Football Museum (NFM) as well as manage the event space at NFM. 

'The restaurant has enjoyed a healthy share of the local and regional social market as well as the corporate market. However, in recent months the restaurant has received more demand as an event space, which has resulted in a shift of strategy for the venue. 

'The senior management at Kudos have taken positive steps to showcase the venue with local and regional event professionals to ensure the venue continues the success it is currently enjoying.'

Urbis with Kaleido on the top

Urbis with Kaleido on the top

NFM say: 'The National Football Museum has had a fantastic first year.  We’ve exceeded all expectations in terms of visitor numbers having welcomed over 450,000 guests in 12-months. 

'We believe our visitors deserve only the very best choice in facilities and are able to enjoy this fantastic building in its full. We are committed to working with our partners including Manchester City Council to ensure any change of use is in keeping with enhancing our overall visitor experience.'

The sad news is that staff have been made redundant.

This includes chef Paul Riley and the very good team he'd assembled. So following on from the demise of Le Mont and then of The Modern, Kaleido fails as well. Proof again of how difficult it can be to establish a fine dining restaurant.  

Let's hope that naysayers, idiots and gloom-makers don't interpret this as a particularly Manchester problem. It isn't. 

Simon Rogan's The French is fully booked into September, 63 Degrees is going strong, Abode is doing well, Aumbry is a success and so on. Meanwhile Living Ventures is pushing the boat out for Aiden Bryne at Manchester House which opens on 17 September.

The problem with the high-flying Urbis location has been nothing to do with the Manchester dining scene but all to do with sterility.

It came as a surprise that every incarnation failed to address the cold look, the waiting room atmosphere and insipid colour scheme. It mostly felt like a very trendy crematorium. Every commentator said this, every time, and yet nothing changed - weird.

The food never had a chance.

A restaurant experience is a full experience, food, drink, ambience, design, service. It's a balance.

Kaleido/The Modern/Le Mont never achieved that balance. 

It'll be interesting to see how Kudos kit out their new 'event space'. 

Inside the former restaurant


Inside the former restaurant

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+

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

AnonymousJuly 31st 2013.

Went once..That IS the THING..Just ONCE was enough....

Mark Garner The PublisherJuly 31st 2013.

This is the usual result of a manager, in this case sat in Portugal, thinking he (in other cases she) knew more about opening restaurants in the North West than the locals. I spoke several times to this man, urging him to use and listen to local Mancunian PR and marketing. I refused his offers of totally inadequate funding for his marketing purposes; I won't take funds for the sake of it. How can any Southern/London team come to the North West, with an economy as big as Denmark, ignore the locals? Would a company based in London open a restaurant in Copenhagen without finding out who were the guides locally? of course not. This man, and you know who you are sitting IN A DIFFERENT COUNTRY!, should be ashamed of yourself; you have cost local people jobs and thrown your shareholders money down a grid. Resign.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
mancadamJuly 31st 2013.

stop sitting on the fence mark.

DrakeJuly 31st 2013.

Maybe he visited the site during its almost continual 'updates' and couldn't actually access it. Or tried to put up a comment that got lost in the system?

JimAugust 1st 2013.

I'm glad it's not just me who has trouble getting on the site. It's been shockingly bad over the last few months!

DrakeJuly 31st 2013.

As a point of order, The Modern closed, according to its management (now running most of the NQ) as part of the whole closure of Urbis. The Footie Museum had a contract with other caterers, and so it had to go. Even though it was still turning a sizeable profit, and still in the Good Food Guide, etc. Such is politics. ((apologies if this multi=posts, the ManCon site hates ipads))

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Simon LawtonAugust 1st 2013.

Totally agree, he modern succeeded where all failed. They should have never forced its closure!

TimbucAugust 5th 2013.

I also agree. The Modern was very good and only closed because the Urbis did. Whoever was responsible for the building was crazy not to let them continue.

pollolocoJuly 31st 2013.

don't you just hate the words "fine dining".....

Barry TravisJuly 31st 2013.

Is a bit of a shame as the space had potential, but hiding most of the panoramic views and making the place whiter than an operating theatre was not clever use of the location. I went once at Easter Weekend and were given what was essentially a Sunday lunch. Nice but not "fine dining". Hopefullt he stagf there can find another place to call home

RossJuly 31st 2013.

Surely it can't be beyond any management to find a restaurant to tap into the wealthy end of football supporters. I go past it most days it doesn't look very enticing.

AnonymousJuly 31st 2013.

The place had about as much charm as an airport waiting area

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousJuly 31st 2013.

Designed by Leese & Bernstein's favourite architect, Ian Simpson, wasn't it?

RevaulxAugust 1st 2013.

Sorry when The Modern closed. It seemed to be both good and successful, and didn't do a bad job of using the space.

rabbiting onAugust 1st 2013.

Delighted to see Kaleido fail ! We had a great meal there but when our bank statement came in they had taken two separate and different amounts. One we signed for and another we knew nothing about. We were told that they had made a mistake and because they had our card details they can make further deductions without us signing. Isn't that fraud??? Never had an apology or any encouragement to return to make amends. We don't need this fraudster practice in our locality. So yes delighted they failed and I hope the losses were more than the fraudulent extra payments they helped themselves to with any other customers. They seemed to think WE were unreasonable.

1 Response: Reply To This...
JimAugust 1st 2013.

It sounds like the place undercharged you on the bill. I suspect you spotted this, thought you would keep quiet and were angry when they fixed their error. If they took the right amount for what you ordered I don't see how it can be fraud?

M-Dog ManchesterOctober 3rd 2013.

I threw an Easter Saturday luncheon at Kaleido. Everything was tip top. Arrival drinks, chilled, poured, smartly served.. Amazing food, apart from the the veggie dish, and grrrreat service. They were very accommodating, chef prepared a special dietary requirement menu at late notice... WE HAD A BALL... But would I have gone back for a cosy meal or just a drink?! No way. It wasn't that kind of place. Shame, real shame. Someone needs a good kicking over this.. And that someone ain't me. Grrrrrrrrr!

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