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Food and Drink Round-up 01/11/10

Alchemist to open, new bars for the city, marmite, more vast burgers

Published on November 2nd 2010.

Food and Drink Round-up 01/11/10

Alchemist set to be gold for Spinningfields
Living Ventures, owners of Grill on the Alley and Gusto, is set to open the Alchemist in Spinningfields in a month. We’re promised according to the publicity ‘a bar and restaurant unlike any other in the city. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner it will offer everything Living Ventures is renowned for – excellent service, innovative cocktails and great food.’ The hyperbole is for once based on fact because Grill in particularly is notable for its service and consistent food. Let’s hope the place lives up to its billing. If it does Confidential predicts total success for The Alchemist. Spinningfield is desperate for a scene-setting restaurant and bar. Gold from base materials indeed.

Service as standard
To back up those claims about service Living Ventures have been named as the top of the pile in the five brands delivering the best customer service. This comes via an industry benchmarking survey by the National Skills Academy. The other winners were John Lewis's cafes and restaurants, Wagamama, Premier Inn and Maison Blanc. The survey looked at indicators such as the warmth, welcome, personality, staff product knowledge, training, perceived value for money and the customer's likeliness to recommend. Living Ventures got 90.78% and John Lewis 86.89%.

MediaCity seems to be going down a different route to Spinningfields, or rather the same route until the latter area saw the error of its ways and started seeking individuality with projects such as Alchemist rather than uniformity. The luvvies from the Beeb can so far expect institutions such as a Costa Coffee, Wagamama and...wait for it...hurrah, a Wetherspoons. Yes that favourite of the latte drinking classes will roll into one of the units and offer the trendy-spectacled ones all their favourite real ales and the cheapest steak and ale pies. Brilliant. Let’s hope we have some more exciting announcements on the catering front soon, otherwise it’ll be a straight drive in drive out situation après work for the incomers.

Spread the love of Marmite
A pair of ‘Marmite stores’ has opened in Selfridges Exchange Square and Selfridges Trafford Centre. They will sell in excess of 150 Marmite themed products, ranging from t-shirts to tableware, cufflinks to chocolate (yes chocolate) and stationary (sic) to snacks. Apparently they are ‘quirky, fun and distinctively bright (with) the design including an oversized egg and soldiers, flying toast and even the odd giant banger (the sausage variety) and of course Marmite'. What next eh? Pot Noodle Stores?

Two new NQ bars

Two new bars are set to open in the Northern Quarter. The first, Terrace, will be at 43 Thomas Street (opposite the Bay Horse) while the second, Port Street Beer House will be, unsurprisingly, at 39 Port Street. Both have applied for alcohol licences and a planning application for Terrace was submitted in June. More news when we get it.

Pizza this, pizza this
The large restaurant unit in St James’s House on Oxford Road has been let. It was a Pizza Hut, now it’s going to be a Pizza Express. The more things change the more they stay the same as the Frenchman said. Let’s hope interest in the new place can be created. This should be easy with the sort of rigorous, exacting and comprehensive post-work training programme presently being experimented in the South King Street branch of Pizza Express (click here). The windows are bigger on Oxford Street too and there are more people passing.

Four fillets, you buggers
After news of our favourite crazily massive filth burger (click here), Locos on Whitworth Street West, has developed through their team of fast food technicians, Professor Von Burger and Professor Burger Van, the Quadruple Chicken (£3.60), a bonanza of a beast that keeps on filling you up days after consumption. It’s big - and pretty clever for that price.

Bar Lorenzo points the finger
The saga of the closure of Bar Lorenzo seems to be drawing to a close in Chorlton. Readers sent us multiple variants of this picture over the weekend, see below, of a notice put up in the window of the Beech Road premises. Now after pressure from the police the notice has been removed. The handwritten sign had laid blame for the closure on neighbouring business, clothes shop, McQueen – despite the fact that it was the police and the council who acted to revoke the licence. Sarah Johnson, owner of McQueen, is level-headed about the notice. ‘It was the city council and the police who decided that Bar Lorenzo hadn’t been complying with the rules. Putting the notice up was silly, there were a lot of local people as well as the authorities complaining about the way the place was run not just us. It seems to have backfired though, I’ve had lots of people coming in from other Beech Road businesses expressing sympathy with us.”

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

JPNovember 1st 2010.

The 'individuality' of Spinningfields is somewhat of a mirage. On my last visit (admittedly many months back), many of the eateries were London-wide chains making their first Manchester offerings.

AnonymousNovember 1st 2010.

Two points; I defy any venture to be all things to all people (The Alcehmist, choose to be one and be the best at it. Secondly, I had Marmite-flavour cashew nuts at the weekend. They were ace

ManjkjfkdsNovember 1st 2010.

JP the point is that it's changing - Spinningfields that is

GrapevineNovember 1st 2010.

lorenzo, where can I get my coke now?

WhitesidesOnsideNovember 2nd 2010.

For Alchemist read Le Mont and Establishment. Manchester will never have a top, high end, destination restaurant - the city just isn't cut out for it and to be frank, just isn't busy enough during week day evenings to support one.

Christopher BryanNovember 2nd 2010.

Bar Lorenzo.

That's what happens when you try to bring a little Spainish bar culture into England. You just get nimbys, bureaucrats and moaners wanting to poop the party.

Typical English jealousy of other people having a little fun. So much for "bohemian" and "individual" Beech Rd.

Spelling BeeNovember 2nd 2010.

Aaargh! Can you really get Marmite stationary or is that just a description of eating it while stood still? Whatever happened to E for Envelope as the guide for correct spelling?

EditorialNovember 2nd 2010.

Our fault for quoting from publicity. Thanks we'll change

AnonymousNovember 2nd 2010.

The Grill on the Alley was featured in the Sunday Times "The Food List" - Foodie destinations across the nation...... Along with Yang Sing + the Lime Tree etc. So maybe those southeners are coming round to the North (of Watford Gap)!?

Piccadilly PikeyNovember 2nd 2010.

Ooh, so Terrace Bar from Picc station are opening an NQ outpost!

Let's hope it's not....

Peter HarrisNovember 2nd 2010.

Why don't you ranters grab a gravatar?


meowNovember 7th 2010.

Bar Lorenzo-well it would seem that the first nasty comment slagging off the bar from the last article was from someone who sucked lemons and was very very bitter, lowering the tone and couldn't wait to bad mouth. Ahhh but nobody likes a taste of their own medicine. Nice bit of photography, do that a lot.

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