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Ocean Tr235ure review (yes that's its name)

Gordo loves table cloths and food in the open-to-all casino restaurant

Written by . Published on January 5th 2010.


Ocean Tr235ure review (yes that's its name)

Gordo found himself sat with a couple of colleagues having an early dinner in a brand new Chinese restaurant discussing business. It was called Ocean Treasure (or nearly was) and it's replaced the excellent Italian that was attached to Casino 235, Numero.

If you think of the common grievance of some of Manchester’s restaurants, people talk of good to great food, but no atmosphere. The Red Chilli family have altered it here with one move. Linen tablecloths. These have been out of fashion for a while but sometimes you need to look at tradition and go figure.

Numero suffered from a strange atmosphere around the room, Gordo could never put his finger on it. Rarely would he think of going there for a meal even though at times, the food could stand up to some of the best in Manchester and the chef was a very good bloke who remained shadowy but was great at what he did - authentic Sicilian cooking. In the early days, the people themselves added the warmth but when you were in with a handful of other diners it was cold.

Gordo looked around the room this time: it seemed different. The new owners, who have family ties to the excellent Red Chilli restaurants, one on Portland Street, and the other near St. Mary’s Hospital, have given it a very cosy feel. The new manager John Lee, had greeted Gordo’s party with a smile but no recognition. He told us that the place didn’t open for an hour. He then told us to hang on, the chef had just cooked the staff meal, but he would see if he could do something for us.

Very Cosy

Coming back he welcomed us with a beaming smile and sat us down. This marked the service up for Gordo, who decided that he was going to do a review immediately, normally he would give it a few weeks.

Scratching his head, which is a lot easier these days due to a distinct lack of his early ginger mop, Gordo suddenly realised what was making the place so cosy.

Tablecloths.

Tablecloths and Napkins

Linen napkins as well. The colour scheme was chocolate brown and, er, mauve? Whatever it was, the whole place felt like a restaurant that was going to try hard to welcome you and then hold on to you. It was bloody comfortable.

If you think of the common grievance of some of Manchester’s restaurants, people talk of good to great food, but no atmosphere. The Red Chilli family have altered it here with one move. Those linen tablecloths. These have been out of fashion for a while but sometimes you need to look at tradition and go figure.

Worth going just for a drink at the bar for...

The Modern at Urbis for example. Styled on a late fifties TWA airline feel, they keep getting grief, not the least from that shifty little sod at The Grauniad, for being soulless. The reason? Shiny polished ultra modern furniture does rock all for the place and certainly wouldn’t have been there in the fifties. Anything that wasn’t a caff had linen tablecloths. Yup. This stuff makes a helluva difference. It softens the sounds, it feels like luxury, it makes you feel important.

Vegetarian tofu thingy

Now where were we? Ahh, Ocean Treasure. It’s not actually called that, but you can’t have everything. It’s name is Ocean Tr235ure. It’s part of Casino 235, geddit? Might be a headache for the marketing department though. You don’t have to be a member of the Casino to get in by the way, the entrance is off to the side. Given that the ambience and service is scoring high, then what of the food?

Crispy BeefSoft Shell CrabBeef dumpling

The menu is pretty traditional, not many surprises; Gordo chose sui mai, which was made with chicken; apparently the restaurant is working towards halal wherever it can, encouraging Muslims to visit – a clever move given the demographic of most casinos. The dish looked great when it came, and had that unctuousness required of these little steamed beauties. Very good start, but the vegetarian spring rolls crispy and dry, were a little bland. Ginger and spring onion steamed beef dumplings were fantastic, whilst a soft shell crab, deep fried in good light batter then finished with salt and pepper and scattered bird eye chillies were a rare treat. Schofield, ever the boy, couldn’t stop going on about them.

Fried Dim Sum

Main courses began with crunchy beef. It was pretty faultless and, although a bit punter-ish,this dish is one of Gordo’s favourites wherever he goes. These stood out for the good tangy saucing with an underlying crunch. The sea bass with ginger and spring onion came to the table whole and was expertly split by manager John into two superb, fat fillets that had us looking at each other in that way you do when you weren’t expecting something quite as good as this. The tofu dish chosen by Schofield came out well. The peppers that were hugging them were just about to collapse and yet again the deep, broad yet sharp saucing was keeping us on our toes.

Rice was good. But a warning. Do not order the ‘crunchy spiced chips’ unless John can look you in the eye and tell you they have got over the problem. The problem of them being fucking vile.

Sea Bass

We drank a good bottle of Burgundy as well: Schofield doesn’t do food without beer or wine, even ones that are supposed to be business based.

No puddings, we were feeling the burn late in December to be frank.

Sorry about the lack of prices; Gordo was relying on the bill, which turned out to be a simple receipt for £140.60, which was pretty good as £20 of that was a cash tip (always try and tip in cash folks, that way you know it’s more likely to go to the staff - not just here, Gordo quickly adds - everywhere) and the wine was about thirty quid or thereabouts.

Shockers

A quick business meeting had turned into one of those unexpected pleasures that put smiles on our faces as food critics - we heartily recommend the place. It may well get better. It’s open really late, which is useful as well. It’s a smart place, more Wings than Red Chilli, so make an evening of it is Gordo’s tip.

Bumping into John recently he tells me that he's been inspired by our early doors arrival. Instead of opening 6pm-4am, he'll be opening 5pm-4am. This, a) shows the power of the customer and, b) means if you or your friends are peckish at 2.30am you have a choice on this side of the city.

Sui Mai


Follow Gordo on twitter GordoManchester


Rating: 16.5/20
Breakdown: 7.5/10 food
4.5/5 service
4.5/5 ambience
Address: Ocean Tr235ure
183 Ashley Road
Manchester 235,
The Great Northern, Watson Street,
Manchester,
M3 4LP
0161 828 0300

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

DrakeJanuary 5th 2010.

Course, linen laundry costs. A lot.

AnonymousJanuary 5th 2010.

£140 for a meal for 2 in a Casino Chinese (albeit with a side entrance)?

PaulJanuary 5th 2010.

Ocean Treasure hasn't been open long, but have already been on three occasions. Agree entirely with this review the service and welcome (especially from John) was superb as was the food. Am somewhat a connoisseur of salt & pepper ribs and Ocean's were delicious, as was the vietnamese beef. Great to know there's a good chinese to visit in the early hours without a trek over to chinatown for this castlefield resident :)

GordoJanuary 5th 2010.

Not when you've seen me order chinese, Avo...

AvoJanuary 5th 2010.

Even if you take off the £20 tip and the £30 for the wine, £90 for a chinese for 3 people still seems a little steep to me.

Billy ConnollyJanuary 5th 2010.

Someone been watching my "An audience with Billy Connolly" video have they JTB?

Rob LJanuary 5th 2010.

Had a 2am take out from here last week and I have to say that it was excellent. I (think...I was slightly drunk) I had spring rolls followed by salt and pepper king prawns. I definitely had the salt & pepper prawns anyway and believe me, despite my drunken state, they were excellent. Will definitely become a regular for me, both as a late night post-booze take out and a start of the evening, pre-booze, sit down meal.

Old ManJanuary 5th 2010.

I'm not as prudish as the following suggests but describing chips as 'fu&*ing vile' is a bit crass don't you think? Thought this website had a bit of class?

GordoJanuary 5th 2010.

anonymous, it was for three and I repeat, I gave them a £20 tip and had a good bottle of wine.

GordoJanuary 5th 2010.

Ok Old Man, they were ****ing shite then...

VJanuary 5th 2010.

I think I'm beginning to get the point that you don't believe The Modern has any atmosphere...

S QuarnfordMarch 12th 2010.

This place is the proverbial dogs bollocks... Well impressed with the vegetarian and halal food on offer - nice to know that there is somewhere nice open in the early hours that caters for this sort of thing. Great service too!

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