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Not quite Premier League

Gordo anticipates promotion at Waters Reach in Old Trafford

Written by . Published on May 24th 2007.

Not quite Premier League

Some years ago, when chefs down in London decided that Manchester was an easy touch, Gary Rhodes made one of the stranger choices. He opened a restaurant in what is now The Golden Tulip hotel a stone's throw from Old Trafford, home of Manchester United. That was seven years ago and Mr Rhodes didn’t last very long, as most of the other southerners didn’t, but the venue as a restaurant has stayed the course with a couple of good chefs carrying the flag.

Gordo decided that it was time to see how the current chef, Stuart Plant and his team, were doing. The restaurant has a separate entrance to the hotel, along with its own identity. Walking into the bar, where you can have a drink whilst looking at the menus, the feeling is trendy contemporary with white leather chairs. Moving into the restaurant itself, Gordo was surprised to see well over thirty covers enjoying themselves. Many city centre restaurants would be pleased with that number on a Tuesday lunchtime.

Sitting here some twenty four hours later Gordo is still confused about the pairing. It was like throwing a harpist together with Keith Moon.

Looking over the wine list, the choice is fairly broad in money terms, from £13 through to £32. The half bottle of Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Umani Rochi from Tuscany is a good choice at £8.50. The wine list does not include years, which is slightly irritating, but it's a good list on the whole.

Service. Gordo found his waitress a complete delight, Lynn. She is a belter. In fact the service is professional, which is not meant to be snotty: it is a difficult location, but these guys show that it is possible to get to London standards so why can’t most of the city centre do the same?

The room is smart, with good cutlery and glassware. These are important points, like toilets in fact. If the toilets are spotless, the kitchen, folks, will follow suit. Good glassware means that someone is happy to go the extra mile with their budget to ensure the best. This will be reflected by the chef’s attitude to his ingredients in the kitchen. And also the end product on the plate.

Bread and olives (£1) arrive. Both first rate, with a couple of slabs of butter that weren’t hauled straight out of the freezer, neither has it been hanging around for long. Good start.

Gordo picked the duck, pork and foie gras pate served with home made piccalilli, beer and mustard bread (£6.50).

There are two ways that Gordo can talk about this starter. “Quite nice, not bad” sort of thing. He would leave it at that if he didn’t believe that the team back in the kitchen were capable of better things and very clearly worth his attention. Through criticism guys, you get stronger. If you take it in the right light. So let me pay you the compliment of speaking bluntly. Less is more. The piccalilli is fabulous. The bread, already looking like it has a bit too much going on, was delivered hot. Nice idea, wrong bread, after three minutes it had the consistency of rubber. Do we need beer and mustard? You have advertised duck, pork and foie gras. Beer and foie gras do not go together. Foie gras and piccalilli (particularly a great one like this) do not go together. Mind you, there wasn’t a lot of foie gras knocking about. Finally, this kind of terrine at room temperature doesn’t show well guys.

Hold those thoughts for a moment. Let’s go onto the main course, roast salmon fillet with home made black pudding, rocket, permentier (sic) potatoes and a spiced red wine syrup (£14.95).

This looked like it was going to be over-complicated as well. However it worked, apart from the rocket, sat as the filling in the salmon and black pudding ‘sandwich’. It goes slimy. The tranche of salmon was cooked to a point just so, a really great mouthful, particularly with the ‘syrup’, which was a humdinger of an accompaniment, a little bit of class. Twice as much next time please. The home made black pudding was weirdly good, more a French boudin noir consistency and flavour than Bury.

Sitting here some twenty four hours later Gordo is still confused about the pairing. It was like throwing a harpist together with Keith Moon. Now, think scallops and great bacon with that black pudding and a few caramelised apples…

The pudding was chosen off the lunch menu, banana bread and ice cream. Very enjoyable that one, simple, worked well. Lynn recommended it.

This review looks like Gordo didn’t enjoy himself. Which is entirely wrong, he did and recognises a brigade of very high promise. But the brigade need to calm down. They have too much going on at the moment, remember less can be more. You guys are not far off a really top flight review, you simply need a bit of subtlety. In fact, watch that lunatic Gordon Ramsey, when he goes into restaurants and gets them to calm down on the menu choice. He is right. OK, the paté Gordo wouldn’t recommend, but that ain’t the end of the world.

Go folks, and tell Gordo what you think, let’s encourage these guys. You will enjoy it.

Rating: 15.5/20
Breakdown: 6.5/10 Food
5/5 Service
Address: Waters Reach
Golden Tulip Manchester,
Trafford Park,
0161 873 8899

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buxombenMay 24th 2007.

IF Gordo thinks the Golden Tulip is a stone's throw from Old Trafford then he must have one hell of a throwing arm! Perhaps he should put his name forward for 12th man in the 2nd test tomorrow? As for the restaurant itself, I've never eaten there but I suppose I'll give it a shot next time I'm selling my soul in the Trafford Centre (which it IS a stone's throw from). As an aside, Gordo never mentions the kid friendliness (or otherwise) of restaurants. I know that he's a man about town, unencumbered by parental responsibilities (or so I believe), but as the vast majority of his readers will be dragging kids around with them, it would be useful to know what policy each restaurant has. What do you guys say, can this be done?

AnonymousMay 24th 2007.

I think you will find that the Golden Tulip referred to is the one over the road from Old Trafford football ground. This is where Gary Rhodes had his resteraunt and not at the hotel by the Trafford Centre.

JaneMay 24th 2007.

There are indeed two Golden Tulip hotels Buxomben, one close to the Trafford Centre and one almost next to Old Trafford, which is the one that houses Water's Reach

GeorgeMay 24th 2007.

Ha, yes I believe it is the posh one namely the Golden Tulip Hotel opposite MUFC with houses the Waters Reach restaurant not to be confused with it's little brother the Tulip Inn Hotel...

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