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Rice, Piccadilly

Lynda Moyo goes flaming mad, and we mean insane, over Rice

Written by . Published on September 25th 2007.

Rice, Piccadilly

With winter in our midst it’s no wonder that I find myself often searching for something warm and fulfilling on my lunch break. The cold rain led me to run for cover underneath the atrium just by Piccadilly bus stops when I, hungry, wet, tired and fed up was given a sign. The sign said ‘Rice.’

Entertaining to watch, I had to stop myself from saying ‘wow’ out loud when the Chef had a ‘flaming wok’ moment.

With its canteen system it’s little wonder why Rice has famished workers forming snake-like queues on their lunch break. It’s certainly the type of restaurant where you could easily get lost in the menus. Chinese eateries alone always have a very long menu. Rice fuses Chinese, Indian, American, Thai and Indonesian. In fact basically anything that can incorporate rice. Not only do they have regular menus, they also have a daily specials board and a menu of salads and healthier options from the grill. And before you think its all rice, rice, rice, they do plenty of noodle dishes as well. Despite being busy, the staff narrowed down my specifications to the Chicken Bulgogi (£5.49). Bit of a risk, given that I had no idea what it was. My colleague opted for the Pad Thai (£5.49).

The Bulgogi came as thinly sliced pieces of meat, in this case chicken which has been marinated in a tangy, vinegar dressing served over savoury rice with a side of Chinese lettuce. What is special about Rice is that you can watch it being prepared before your very eyes and follow your dishes progress before collecting your meal at the end counter. And it’s not just watching a sweaty chef getting all hot and bothered in a stressful, hygienically challenged kitchen. The team work as smoothly as a synchronised swimming team, and the kitchen is immaculate. Entertaining to watch, I had to stop myself from saying ‘wow’ out loud when the Chef had a ‘flaming wok’ moment.

Pad Thai came like many of the dishes at Rice, in an authentic Chinese take-out box. You’re given the option of chopsticks or forks as well as additional sauces such as sweet chilli at no extra cost. For those that don’t know, Pad Thai is a dish of stir-fried rice or noodles with a combination of bean sprouts, prawns, chicken, or tofu, garnished with crushed peanuts, coriander and a dash of lime. Chefs are more than happy to adjust it to taste, for example with my colleague who has a deep dislike for coriander. Upon request it was simply not included despite it being a staple ingredient of the dish.

Meals at Rice are filling and although the dessert list, with the likes of Black Sticky Rice Pudding (£2.99), is tempting, for most stopping by for lunch you’d probably spend the rest of your day at work in an unanticipated food coma. Not to worry you can come back, Rice is open in the evenings and serves alcohol.

Rice feels confidently but not cockily ahead of itself in Manchester. It’s fast, funky and fresh. It makes for an entertaining lunch break, people watching in Piccadilly Gardens. Piccadilly mixes up the different cultures and types of people and Rice complements this. Rice is as electric as the city which surrounds it and is a must-go for anyone who fancies a change or just simply enjoys tasty, healthy food.

Rating: 15/20
Breakdown: 7/10 Food
4/5 Service
4/5 Ambience
Address: Rice,
1a-1b Piccadilly Gardens, City
0161 244 5540
www.ricemanchester.comEstablishments are rated against other similar establishments

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Brendan KeelySeptember 25th 2007.

Shocking!We got the offer from Man Con for a main meal at £4.99 only realising that is £1 discount as main meals are £5.99. Still, mustn't grumble, yet.Asked for a vegetable Java, picked up the pot and sat down to find out it was a chicken Java! Took it back and they said sorry. Waited a few minutes and received a replacement and sat back down to enjoy my vegetable Java again. Halfway in, I spotted a small piece of Chicken! As a vegetarian this upset me as I'd eaten about half of the pot. I took this back and with no apology was offered a third meal but by this point I was disgusted with the lack of response from the staff and refused. There was no farewell from the staff on leaving or apology, nothing. What did they do? Did they accidentally put a small piece of chicken in by mistake into the 2nd pot or did they take the majority of the chicken from the first dish out, throw some bamboo shoots in and reheat in the same sauce and everything that the chicken was cooked in?As I said, Shocking and will definitely not be going back!

scoteeeSeptember 25th 2007.

Er; i'd say the latter Brendan...

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