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Food And Drink Round-up 30/10/2012

Cloud 23 Re-opens, The Worst Food in MCR, Teepee And The Sunday Times Top List

Published on October 30th 2012.

Food And Drink Round-up 30/10/2012

Sunday Times List - A Bit Lazy?

The Sunday Times published its top 100 restaurants last weekend. Only three entries from the NW made it - none particularly close to Manchester. There's L'Enclume (11), Simon Radley at the Grosvenor (17) and Northcote (36).

In the top 200 there were five Manchester representatives, Michael Caines at Abode, Wing's and Yang Sing in the city centre, Aumbry in Prestwich and The Lime Tree in West Didsbury.

The national list is compiled by The Sunday Times with Harden Guides using 7,500 readers who provide 75,000 brief reviews - ten each, eh?

While the Manchester winners are worthy the choice is mostly predictable - a case could also easily be made for 63 Degrees, Cicchetti, Red Chili, Zouk, Australasia and many others.

Maybe the demographic of the Sunday Times outside London is a bit county for this type of survey? Confidential is not sure how representative any of this, and therefore how valuable.

Still it could be worse - ridiculously - there is no restaurant from Merseyside or Wirral in the Sunday Times list. No Michelin-starred Fraiche, no London Carriageworks.

Honestly it could be enough to give a region a complex. 

An Illustration Of The NW Food Scene From The Sunday TimesAn Illustration Of The NW Food Scene From The Sunday Times

Big Heap Good Fun In Teepee

Incongruous structures are proliferating in Spinningfields. Next to the Oast House there's now a massive Christmas teepee - top picture on this page and below. There's no rhyme nor reason for this, no pretense of trying to theme a Mohawk traditional festive season or something, but my-oh-my it's an impressive thing. Food and ale comes from the Oast House next door, otherwise there's a bar inside. There's also a real fire with a fire monitor who only allows four logs to burn at a time - so don't bring along any redundant office furniture to ignite. All in all, very pleasant, and very cleverly delivered.

Teepee nightsTeepee nights

Pretty Design Is Key

Confidential does like the design of the promo-material for the Teepee as well. It's attractive without being cheesy. Attention to detail and all that. 

Good festive designGood festive design

Design ledDesign led

Lavazza Opens Manchester Coffee House

The 100 year old Lavazza company is to open one of its Espression cafés in the Trafford Centre on 1 November. It will provide coffee of all descriptions prepared by 'expert baristas alongside designer food'. Apparently Lavazza are looking to combine 'creativity and quality with contemporary design'. The unit in the Trafford Centre will be 220sqm. The coffees will be 'Rainforest Alliance certified Tierra coffee, and the Lavazza Espression Arabica and Robusta blend'. Confidential question: Is the word 'barista' denoting a coffee shop person traditionally used in Italy, or is it simply a bit of marketing? 

Lavazza Coffee HouseLavazza Coffee House

Best Fish And Chips?

Perhaps fish and chips should never be eaten in a restaurant, it's a fast food and should be fresh from a proper chippy. Still a recent visit by Confidential to Harvey Nichols showed that there are versions of good fish and chips in upmarket dining places. Manchester's increasing tourism also means we must have fish and chips on the menu as overseas guests expect it. The Harvey Nichols version comes as cod, fat chips, beautifully textured mushy peas, and absolutely gorgeous tartare sauce. It costs £13.50. Bit stiff for a take-away, but get a bottle of Albarino and you can make an afternoon of it. Confidential might do a Best of Manchester Fish And Chips in Restaurants after Gordo gets his Best of Manchester Breakfasts sorted this week. 

Flaking flesh and glorious tartareFlaking flesh and glorious tartare

Zizzi Bottom - Why Do Chains Get It So Wrong?

Oh dear, off to Zizzis in Spinningfield's we went on Saturday because a) we were passing, b) everywhere else was full. We had the cicchetti menu. It was grotesque. It was rubbish. It was an insult. The spiedini di pollo, skewered oven baked chicken, was so dry, you could have soaked up red wine stains. The sliced steak with peppery rocket tasted like the nastiest frying steak, the risotto was a Saharan sand-dune, there was an aubergine clogged with a vile tomato paste and shrivelled basil. The pizza was all right. How can chains, where the only virtue in the cooking can be consistency, get simple food so wrong? Unless this was normal and the food is consistently bad. Five cicchetti pieces of food, by the way, cost £20.

Get thee behind me SatanGet thee behind me Satan

The Living Room New Menu

There's a new menu in that stalwart veteran of Deansgate, the Living Room, and they've sent us some lovely pictures to emphasise this. The pork and chorizo burger with a smoked paprika aioli on a brioche bun with chips looks a delight. The 10oz ribeye with all the trimmings at £20 is competitive. There's also a set menu (2 courses £12, three courses £15) between noon and 7pm,  Monday to Friday.  

Chorizo burgerChorizo burger

And Finally...Cloud 23 Has Re-Opened

Deansgate Hilton's Cloud 23 bar has re-opened. Review to follow soon. People can once more take a lift and catch the fabulous views from the 23rd floor of Beetham Tower. Yes, the least divisive bar, in terms of the Manchester public opinion, is back with us. (Surely some mistake? Ed) In Confidential we're taking bets on how quickly somebody will be ranting about the queues, the wait for drinks...

Cloud viewCloud view

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

DavidOctober 30th 2012.

Didn't know Gordo was doing a breakfast one?? Fantastic, I just rely on Katsouris or Gorilla. And a fish and chip one would be great. Was randomly in the mood for one at the 101 Brasserie (Townhouse) and had the battered cod cheeks and chips, which was pretty decent, if not a little expensive. Also, Brioche burger buns really do seem to rule at the moment...

3 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoOctober 30th 2012.

Brioche or sesame for you David?

DavidOctober 30th 2012.

Depends what mood I'm in. If it's decadent it's brioche. If It's healthy it's sesame. I find with Solita and AF available I'm mostly in a decadent mood.

Chris HawkeOctober 30th 2012.

Most interested to see a breakfast list. Something I miss after living in Sydney is more breakfast cafe culture. I’ll often end up at Cafe North because its close. Perhaps Katsouris, Alchemist or even Giraffe if I’ve the energy to travel a bit further toward Spinningfields

Alaka ProdhanOctober 30th 2012.

Excited about the Best Breakfast feature - I want to know where to find the best Eggs Benedict! Mmmm.

7 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoOctober 30th 2012.

ham or crispy bacon for you Alaka?

DavidOctober 30th 2012.

Gorilla do a good one, Alaka.

AnonymousOctober 30th 2012.

Cichettis - Best Breakfast for only £6.95.

AnonymousOctober 30th 2012.

Best take-out fish & chips - the chippy opposite Altrincham football ground. The fish is done in a lovely tempura crispy batter

AnonymousOctober 30th 2012.

Cichettis also do great Eggs Benedict - the eggs are so fresh - a real orange colour.

Dalai GuevaraOctober 30th 2012.

I prefer to take my Eggs Benedict in the Vatican - it's all about 'terroir'. But my second choice would be the lead station.

Julia FazackerleyOctober 31st 2012.

Tea Cup NQ

AnonymousOctober 30th 2012.

Crispy Bacon - always!

Alaka ProdhanOctober 30th 2012.

Oooh... probably crispy bacon, but I'm a bit of a non-traditionalist. I quite like smoked salmon. OR other variants such as chorizo and mushroom.
e.g. www.facebook.com/…/…
Damn. Hungry now. :(

Alaka ProdhanOctober 30th 2012.

Here's one more delectable close-up:

Btw that place also did one of the best burgers I've ever had. It was foodgasmic:


AnonymousOctober 30th 2012.

Why do writer's get it so wrong?

Sloppy punctuation of subhead's (sic) should be avoided.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
EditorialOctober 30th 2012.

Thank you, punctuation police. Now corrected.

GordoOctober 30th 2012.

I generally get it wrong cos im a shit writer. Can't half shag mind you...

Dan McGlynnOctober 30th 2012.

You seriously think that the likes of Australasia and Zouk are within the best 200 restaurants in the UK?

4 Responses: Reply To This...
DaviesOctober 30th 2012.

Do you seriously think Wings is? Or The Lime Tree? Australasia is way better than the Lime Tree.

AnonymousOctober 30th 2012.

hear hear, no way Zouk should get a look in

Dan McGlynnOctober 31st 2012.

Australasia is little more than nice presentation. Over engineered, overpriced food which is ok, but thinks it is a lot better. Just another typical Manchester restaurant- fancy interior, at the cost of good food.

Kris CullineyOctober 31st 2012.

Rose tinted glasses or deluded, I cant think which Gordo.Ego mad chefs that think they're the bollocks, and poor poor service. The restaurants in the north west have to look at the south or go to France and learn what Michelin starred food and service means. I agree with all of the above. I also cant see a Manchester getting a star in the near future unfortunately. As for the restaurants that did not get in.Take a long hard look at yourselves and improve for the next list.

Dave ThackerayOctober 30th 2012.

Just indulged in the fish and chips at HN as part of the Supper Club offer. 3 courses for £15, and each one of them an absolute delight. Fast becoming my automatic go-to place in MCR when friends come to visit. They rarely return because they're too jealous that our fab city has such a place. Well that's the reason they give me... :-o

Poster BoyOctober 30th 2012.

Anyone else expecting er, Cicchetti, in Gordo's Best Manchester Fry Ups. Just saying like...

2 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoOctober 30th 2012.

Oh Poster Boy, you're such a joy. I see you didn't even like Bond? Which was incredible. Is there not a publication out there in moanville that would suit you better? Just sayin' like...

Poster BoyOctober 31st 2012.

Oh Gordo, you are nothing. If not predictable.

One day you will see the wood, and not the trees.

Matt RigbyOctober 30th 2012.

I'd take a regional review over national any day of the week. I live here, I work here, and I enjoy myself here, so I value the opinions of people that do the same much more highly than some home counties toff who had to come to Manchester on a work trip and had pre-formed opinions before he even bought his train ticket.

So no, the Times list doesn't matter to me very much at all.

Carolyn O'hanlonOctober 30th 2012.

We booked one of those teepees tents for our wedding so might pop down to the oasthouse for a preview.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousOctober 30th 2012.

I went to a wedding with one of them and it was brilliant.

AnonymousOctober 30th 2012.

Cicchetti does a damn good breakfast to be fair!

AnonymousOctober 30th 2012.

If you are doing a breakfast feature, you MUST consider Deli Lama on Bexley Square, Chapel Street - not only for it's excellent name, but also as its full english is really quite something including amazing organic homemade beans (spicy!). And also cos the area remains a bit of an urban desert so the place needs all the help it can get!

1 Response: Reply To This...
GordoOctober 30th 2012.

new one on me, will give it a try for the next list

Swiss JamesOctober 30th 2012.

Can the breakfast feature please, please not mention the Koffee Pot. It's hard enough trying to get a bloody table in there as it is!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoOctober 30th 2012.

Ha Ha! wait and see.

the Whalley RangerOctober 30th 2012.

Get up earlier then Swiss James

Natalie WatsonOctober 30th 2012.

I'm confused, where did breakfast come into it? I like Cafe North though.... always tasty.

Also, re Zizzi in Spinningfields, went with the girls int he summer and it was rubbish then too. We complained and they acted like we'd done them a great injustice by doing so. Not that complaining made one iota of difference.

1 Response: Reply To This...
James KayOctober 31st 2012.

From the article, "might do a Best of Manchester Fish And Chips in Restaurants after Gordo gets his Best of Manchester Breakfasts sorted"

Hope that helps.

AnonymousOctober 30th 2012.

Any chance of an honourable mention for the odd veggie contribution in your forthcoming breakfast review Gordo? No doubt the usual suspects will take the opportunity to whine about pandering to an insignificant minority. Still, worth a punt.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoOctober 30th 2012.


IanOctober 30th 2012.


Yeah Cafe North is good, I go there every now and again

SaffronOctober 30th 2012.

As another member of said significant (less of the in-!) minority I had considered the same question but realised it was pretty pointless. With a small band of friends I've already begun a quest for the best veggie breakfast place in town. At least there’s no danger that Gordo will have got there first and scoffed the lot.

AnonymousOctober 30th 2012.

TeaCup does great Eggs, little bit steep at £7 for Eggs Benedict when its 2 eggs on a slice of (god quality) bread. Koffee Pot with a group of mates every time though, especially when the Mexican specials are on

pollolocoOctober 31st 2012.

Wings and Yang Sing....what a joke! Just goes to show what a poor guide this is.

James KayOctober 31st 2012.

The White Lion in Castlefield does better Chinese food than Wings!! Top 200, my arse!

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