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Glamorous Restaurant review

Michael Taylor takes his tribe to Ancoats for a pricey food adventure

Published on February 15th 2010.

Glamorous Restaurant review

The thinking behind doing these reviews of restaurants, with our five children, is to share a perspective for anyone who also takes kids to restaurants.

All in all the food was better and fresher than the much of the glutinous mush you can get at a neighbourhood Chinese. But we had played safe with the orders and lived to tell the tale.

Children can be awkward buggers after all. I can guarantee that one of them will kick off in protest at anything we suggest – I’m just grateful they never do it together. This time I wanted to get them to try something different; to experiment, to enjoy the experience of eating healthy, spicy, nourishing food and not lapse into their comfort zone.

As it was Chinese New Year the choice of cuisine type seemed obvious but since Chinatown would be rammed, it made sense to try somewhere else, namely the wonderfully named Glamorous Restaurant. The choice of food took some gentle coaxing, not least with tales of their Chinese birth signs. Monkey and Horse, as two of the kids were known for the weekend, liked this, Rabbit wasn’t sure, but Dragons One and Two were delighted. And me, I’m also happy to be a Horse, though my wife Rachel is less enamoured with her status as a Pig.

The location of Glamorous is, it needs to be said, anything but. Not only is it on Oldham Road in Ancoats, the restaurant is situated on the second floor of an industrial compound, on top of the Wing Yip Chinese supermarket.

The entrance to the restaurant is on the same level as a multi storey car park. On less busy days you are offered a window seat with a choice view of the car park. The doorway and waiting area is a particularly draughty wind tunnel.

You can’t book either. When we called in advance we were told to just turn up. Despite the number of people waiting we were seated within 10 minutes - after some hard work attracting the attention of a very busy waiter. Still the wait gave us a chance to tantalise the kids with gory tales of what they were about to eat and also give them some quick and nifty chopsticks lessons.

Here’s a trick with kids trying new foods: starve them. They are always more likely to experiment and eat if they have to.

As we sat down it occurred to me that a more fitting name than Glamorous would be Enormous. Two expansive floors can cater for over 600 diners at a time, which makes the Chinese New Years' achievement all the more logistically impressive. The trolleys of dim sum sellers add to the free wheeling free market feel of the place. But we didn’t indulge this time.

The food tasting trial began with prawn toast (£8.50) and a bowl of sharks fin soup (£9.50) which captured the imagination of Dragon One. It got passed around to general approval. Crackers and a juicy and tasty plate of barbecue spare ribs (£7) were devoured. Our waiter – with an earpiece through which he communicated with the kitchen – was particularly helpful with his suggestions, steering the youngsters away from over ordering and, later, warning off something he correctly considered would be too spicy for 5 year old Monkey.

It all went down very well, as did the prawn dumplings (£3.40) I ordered and everyone else ate. Everything was fresh, the ribs suitably sticky and greasy. The soup I thought was a bit tasteless and glutinous, but no such complaints came from our younger diners.

The main courses arrived swiftly afterwards and in good order; not too much hanging about, which is good. The lamb with ginger and spring onion (£8.50) was sweet and tender. I love crunchy pieces of ginger, but can’t eat too many. I also prefer spring onion with lamb, it sits better than with beef.

We had two types of prawn dish – one with mushrooms (£10.50), one with sweet and sour sauce (£10.50) and in a crunchy batter – both were crunchy and chunky. Duck with spring vegetables (£8.80) was coated in that indeterminate Chinese clear bland sauce and was pretty unremarkable. Sizzling steak Cantonese style (£12.50) was a fascinating spectacle and didn’t disappoint, gloriously spicy to the bite when it rolled round still sizzling in your mouth.

The side dishes of crispy noodles (£5) and egg fried rice (£2.50) were surprisingly popular with Horse.

All in all the food was better and fresher than much of the glutinous mush you get at a neighbourhood Chinese. But we had played safe with the orders and lived to tell the tale.

It was all looking good until Dragon Two, 9, returned from the toilets to tell us they were “in a state.” He was right. The towel was hanging on the floor, bog roll was strewn around the sinks and the inspection rota hadn’t been filled in all day.

At £184 the bill was large; too large, really. It was more than we’ve ever paid. But they don’t have kids menus or kids portions and we probably over ordered, even though not much was left.

We were also hit with a 10 per cent surcharge, which wasn’t made clear when we arrived. It rightly says this applies to groups of eight or more, we’re seven, but we got it because it was Chinese New Year.

Sorry, but this is just greedy. I may also have taken this in my stride had it been conveyed with a touch of appreciative grace, but it wasn’t. The front of house woman who took our payment barked instructions at me with all the charm of a prison warden. Frankly, when the sum she’s extracting from me is nudging £200 I think I’m entitled to expect better. Sod it, no, this is a service industry and this was rubbish whatever the price.

All in all, our kids had an absolute blast here. Glamorous is chaotic, rambling, large and noisy. It gave us all an experience, filled us up and broadened the horizons of 5 curious minds.

Rating: 14/20
Breakdown: 7/10 food
3/5 service
4/5 atmosphere
Address: Glamorous Restaurant
Wing Yip Business Centre
1st & 2nd Floor
Oldham Road
M4 5HU

Tel: 0161 839 3312

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

NortherngeezerFebruary 15th 2010.

You might have been better taking yer ankle biters to a buffet restaurant first Micheal, a lot cheaper and nearer to the young sprogs taste, plus if they dont like what they've chosen, they can always get something else. The prices at Glamarous do seem a little excessive and as for the service, unfoertunatly its what you'd expect from a chinese restaurant, the point of customer service seems to have passed most of them by, good review though.

GordoFebruary 15th 2010.

I have reservations about buffet restaurants, the chef can really take the mickey out of freshness. Does anyone want to recomend one?

AvpFebruary 15th 2010.

Gordo, Pan Asia just by the entrance to the NCP car park in Chinatown do a really good buffet. They are a regular a la carte restaurant in the evening but the standard of food at lunchtime is still really good. All the usual suspects are there as well as some really good siu mai, sushi and usually a Thai dish. Just stay away from the cheap supermarket ice cream for dessert.

GordoFebruary 15th 2010.

Ta AVP, I shall give it a try

AnonymousFebruary 15th 2010.

Why would you order sharks fin. What a hideous waste of an animal. Cutting off fins and throwing the rest of the poor creature back in the sea where it sinks and dies by being starved of oxygen. Hope it was worth it!

AvoFebruary 16th 2010.

It's actually Avo but my hand slipped. I say that to all the girls ...

AlfieFebruary 16th 2010.

I have a friend from Taiwan and he his buddy from Hong Kong rate it as one of the most authentic in Manchester ..

WhichoneFebruary 16th 2010.

What authentic for the rude service or for the food?

NortherngeezerFebruary 16th 2010.

Gordo - Peking Court on Princess Street or Chopsticks in Swinton shopping centre.
The tepanyaki in Chopsticks makes it stand out from the usual buffet on offer.

SteveFebruary 16th 2010.

This place serves the best dim sum in Manchester without question...there is no other reason to go. The wife, me and the nipper spend about £30 every other Sunday.

saint richFebruary 16th 2010.

steve - you should go to tai wu if you are eating dim sum on a sunday. quality is not inferior and it is half price on sundays, as it is in a number of places in china town. the only reason to go to glamorous or tai pan for sunday dim sum is the free parking or if you are not prepared to wait for a table.

to the author, you can't order shark's fin soup and then start complaing about the size of your bill! it's a delicacy (albeit a controversial one and not a particularly tasty one in my opinion). the service charge is poor form though.

in general chinese restaurants in manchester have two types of menu - one for occasional diners (generally westerners) and one for frequent diners (those in the know). for about £15 per head you could have had a lobster banquet meal. you would all have had more than you could have eaten and you would have had a good variety (including probably a whole lobster per, say, 3 diners). in terms of food prices chinese restaurants can be easily the best value for money in manchester. the trade off is often friendly service and 'glamorous' settings because the core, frequent customers care more about price than service and surroundings

dimsumwongFebruary 16th 2010.

Glamorous is my local, so just wanted to stand up for them a bit. For a start, you CAN book, just not on Sunday afternoons because it's a first come first served rule for dim sum customers (this is the case for most Chinese restaurants catering for Chinese people on their family day). That said, you don't want to be ordering totally random stuff like sharks fin soup while everyone else is rushing around serving dim sum - no wonder they charged you something stupid.... and on Chinese New Year of all days.

OK, Glamorous is not the cheapest of the Chinese restaurants in Manchester, but it's nowhere near the most expensive either and its generous portions and the quality of food is far more consistent than any of its peers. Plus there's free parking - you won't find that anywhere near Chinatown.

If you want to be teaching your kids something about a new culture, then maybe it's worth educating yourself a bit more about how it works first, otherwise you risk portraying yourself like the big ignoramous that you have done here!

steveFebruary 17th 2010.

Have to agree with dimsumwong here. Have been to Tai Wu on a number of accasions when in town and it's good dim sum....not as good as Glamorous though...and I'd rather pay full prioce for the quality!

Paul MastersFebruary 20th 2010.

At crimbo we went there was a que where you had to get your own wine as there was no table service for drinks you got your wine then hadto que to pay for it. (or walk back to table without bothering) bit strange but cheap

Paul MastersFebruary 20th 2010.

SAINT RICH the about £15 ahead lobster banquet is £32 and while i have been looking Pan asia charge full wack for people over a meter so thats full price for my three year old. no thanks

bob10375February 21st 2010.

We visited this restaurant a couple of years ago and will not return! It was overpriced, but the most disgusting thing about the restaurant, were the used plates lying near to open bins for food waste. When we questioned this, we were told that it was typical of restaurants in China. We have been to China and never seen anything similar.

Leigh ScottApril 15th 2010.

Shit Paul! - Thats one big 3 year old. What are you feeding it?

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