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Gordo finds Peking Duck and a Crying Tiger on Portland Street

Gordo witters on about an Austrian Countess, Count von Bismark and dastardly deeds with champagne bottles. Then starts talking common sense about the astonishing Indochine Restaurant on Portland street, Ikan.

Written by . Published on September 27th 2006.

Gordo finds Peking Duck and a Crying Tiger on Portland Street

Ikan. It’s in a brand new building which you could miss if you aren’t careful, but it’s next to the Novotel on Portland Street. Six of us walked into the loving arms of Catherine Lim, Ikan’s owner last Saturday night. Catherine keeps her eye on her chefs with a gaze that would have lesser men melting into a puddle on the kitchen floor.

The look (the restaurant, not Catherine) is black marble, black and red leather armchairs and sofas in the bar along with very attentive service. There is a DJ on Saturday nights, with Jazz on Fridays and Wednesdays, but check. Gordo went there over a year ago and was interested to see if standards have been adhered to.

A stylish Asian restaurant specialising in dishes from Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia and Vietnam. Additionally, Catherine brings some of the best of Chinese fusion cuisine as well. Probably the best description is Indochine Cuisine. Her house speciality is Peking Duck. It needs to be ordered twenty four hours in advance, but on the busy nights Catherine has a couple up her terribly smart sleeves.

Gordo ordered a bottle of Bollinger Champagne (£60) as he had three trainee WAGS in tow, Kim Sumner, Dianne Hawkes and The Lawyer, all looking good. Catherine gazed lovingly into Gordo’s eyes and whispered the magic words. “Peking Duck for you Gordo”. A shiver went down his spine.

The last time Gordo had this was in Paris many years ago when he was chasing a certain Austrian Baroness around Europe. Well out of his depth, Gordo would find himself inadvertently picking up the bill for parties of ten in the bars of Europe’s finest hotels and clubs. On one memorable occasion in Regines in Paris, arguably the most fashionable night club in the western world at the time, Gordo found himself stuck with an eight thousand franc bill courtesy of a spineless arsehole called Count von Bismark. Yes, that one. Gordo got his own back some months later by urinating in a champagne bottle at the Prix de L’arc de Triumph and leaving it next to him on his table. The devil looks after his own, Gordo won eight hundred quid on the next race.

Anyway, Peking Duck is a bit of a bugger to make. Totally different to crispy duck, it takes a big fat duck, hanging in a draught for many hours to dry the skin out, painting with all sorts of tasty stuff, drying out again, then roasting, slowly, in the oven. It is served with the crispy duck accoutrements, sliced spring onion, sliced cucumber, hoi sin sauce and pancakes. But, you get the skin only, expertly carved off the complete duck at the table. The duck is then taken back into the kitchen, the meat becoming part of a main course stir fry. It’s fantastic. Catherine’s was every bit as good as the one Gordo consoled himself with in Paris after the Countess blew him out, spectacularly, in the foyer of the George V. Gordo was having difficulty standing up at the time and was terrified, finding himself being bollocked by two blond Austrian Valkyries, both talking in unison with very sharp tongues.

Anyways, we as usual digress, back to the present. Gordo made the mistake of ordering starters with one delightful lady, and the Peking Duck seconds later with Catherine. They all arrived at once. It was like a major assault. Dim Sum Platter, (£6.80), Mango Rolls (£4.00), Chicken Satay, (£5.50), Prawn Mayonnaise (£6.50) and Prawn Toast (£6.50). The Peking Duck (£65.00!!!!!) arrived at the same time. Our table of six was nearly overwhelmed. But not quite. It was all finished. There was not one dud in that lot, the steamed dim sum was a 5/5 score. Simply outstanding. The rest was 4.75/5. Honestly, Gordo was in his element. Wayne Mellor was licking his lips. You, dear reader, need to taste this.

Main courses were Green Chicken Curry, (£8.50), Pla Nueng Ma-Nao, whole, line caught Sea Bass, steamed with Lemongrass, Garlic and Chilli Sauce, (£18.00), Singapore Noodle, (£7.50), Crying Tiger, (£13.50) and Vegetable Pad Thai, (£6.50). Great sticky rice at a couple of quid.

All the above entered into the all time top three Asian experiences for Gordo, apart from the Crying Tiger. This is fillet steak, marinaded, grilled, served with spicy Thai sweet and tangy sauce. Gordo is frequently asked the question, “what’s your favourite recent dish?” The response from last Saturday is, Crying Tiger. Quality of the meat, superb. Made all the better from the marinade, you could pull it apart with a couple of forks. Crispy edges, pink in the middle. Dip a slice in the sauce. Never mind the sodding Tiger, Gordo burst into tears. It is that good.

The wine list shows signs of someone who gives a damn. Gordo drank a superb Sancerre by Guy Saget, 2004. Stood up for itself heroically; Dianne Hawkes liked it; and she didn’t do her usual trick of throwing a load if ice in, which intensely irritates Gordo. (£28.80). Additionally an old friend, a Rioja, Faustino 1 Gran Reserva 1995. It’s a class wine at just over thirty quid from memory.

You lot should get the point. Go and try it. Fab, fab, fab. A Gordo Go.


Happy Trails

Email me

Ikan Restaurant, Bar and Lounge
The Piazza
98, Portland Street
Manchester M1 4GX

0161 236 1313

Online info here

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