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Food and Drink Round-up 13/05/2011

Loch Fyne closes, Choice porridge, Veggie bother, Australasia opening date

Written by . Published on May 12th 2011.

Food and Drink Round-up 13/05/2011

Loch Fyne closes

Loch Fyne has closed in Didsbury. The fish restaurant with the uneven reputation and the sustainable fish policy has been unable to sustain itself. Owned by Greene King it will revert to a Greene King pub called by it's old name, the charming: Ye Olde Cock Inn.

National Vegetarian Week

International-Vegetarian-Union-384x514-custom.jpgThe city is launching this year’s National Vegetarian Week with a free event in Albert Square on Saturday 21 May. The Vegetarian Society will be in force busting the myths of vegetarianism with interactive games, live cookery demos and food samples. It’s aimed at the whole family with human fruit machines and veggie trumps offer kids the chance to get involved with the meat-free fun.

National Vegetarian Week runs from 23 to 29 May and events are taking place nationwide throughout the week.

Living Ventures’ Australasia launches

Almost a year to the day since we first reported Tim Bacon’s plans for his antipodean Spinningfields restaurant, Australasia will finally open its big glass doors on 28 May.  The restaurant aims to bring a taste of Down Under to the city centre, recreating the atmosphere of the cosmopolitan cities from Bacon’s homeland. With a 3am license on Friday and Saturdays, customers can enjoy the late night bar at the same time as Australians commence their day drinking at a barbie. Because all Australians have daily barbecues in the constant sunlight, obviously. It’s the only thing they do have incidentally. 

Second cookbook from Riverford Farm

IMG_2756.JPGOrganic home delivery company Riverford has announced the release of its second cook book, ‘Everyday and Sunday – Recipes from Riverford Farm’ by the company’s founder Guy Watson and head chef Jane Baxter. Recipes range from quick, everyday meals to more complex celebratory dishes that you can indulge in for a Sunday lunch. Sectioned into the different months, the paperback cookbook makes it really easy to search for seasonal recipes which make the most of fresh fruit and vegetables. The editor has promised to use the book this weekend to titillate his families tastebuds, so we’ll be reporting back on how it works. 

A taste of South Africa in Old Trafford

Braai is Afrikaans for ‘barbecue’ or ‘grill’. It’s also the name of a steakhouse in Old Trafford. The Ayres Road eatery offers Shish, Kofta and steaks alongside a range of typical takeaway starters. The front of their flyer also features a sombrero wearing, smiling red chilli advising customers to let staff know whether they like their food very spicy, spicy, medium or mild which seems to be an entertaining way of engaging with customers. 

Award for Chester Grosvenor and Spa

The Chester Grosvenor and Spa has been named Pride of Britain Hotel of the Year 2011 this week. With restaurant Simon Radley at The Chester Grosvenor receiving its twenty first consecutive Michelin star and two AA rosettes awarded to La Brasserie, it’s little surprise that the hotel is now officially considered one of the very best the UK has to offer. 

Choice.jpgBritish tapas at Choice

Choice Bar & Restaurant is now serving a range of British tapas on its Sunday Brunch menu. The small plates cost £2.50 each, £7 for three or £11.50 for five. Highlights include poached egg on crumpet with hollandaise, smoked haddock kedgeree and Cumberland sausage and bean cassoulet. Jon Grieves and his team look to have come up with the goods again. 

Selfridges sets out to protect oceans

Both Selfridges in Trafford and Exchange Square are taking part in a month long initiative, Project Ocean, challenging the public to imagine a Sad_Fish_by_thezules.pngworld with ‘no more fish in the sea’. The Manchester Gallery Moet Bar & Restaurant will also be participating in the initiative with the introduction of a responsible sourcing policy. A Project Ocean Fish Guide has also been developed in partnership with the Marine Conservation Society to identify which fish should be avoided and which are the best sustainable alternatives. The guide will be available in store and also via a free Smartphone app. Why do this though? Apparently one of the bosses’ daughters has a bee in her bonnet about it (or maybe a mackerel in her fishnets), bless her. She wants to change the world, she’s got the company to help. Here’s a picture of a sad fish to emphasize the point.


Manchester Confidential Hero, John Fraser, reviews the Ramsons' experience


As a regular commuter to London, I am frequently in a position to try out some of the restaurants on offer and often look out some local recommendations.  One such establishment is Eyre Brothers’ in the Shoreditch area of London.  Very much a creative enclave, there are many and various restaurants in this East End area with Fergus Henderson’s St John establishment close by. 

Eyre Brothers’ is highly regarded and busy at lunchtimes and dinner with business people and some locals enjoying the Iberian cuisine.  On a recent visit I decided to try the cheese instead of dessert. The cheese arrived with a firm, warm slice of quince jelly. The sharp earthy taste of the goats’ milk cheese was complemented beautifully by the sweet and slightly tart quince. Very cosmopolitan, London.

Ramsons.jpgRoll on a couple of weeks and an offer appeared in my Inbox offering a three course dinner for £15 at Ramsons in Ramsbottom.

Chris Johnson is a trim, chatty and knowledgeable host who greeted us and offered both a choice of waters and drinks after we were seated. Throughout the meal, I asked questions about various aspects of the food and it became clear that much of the provenance of the dishes could be traced to within 30 miles of the restaurant.

As for the menu, there was a choice of duck, hake and pigeon among others.

For me, the haddock and monkfish pie with queenie scallops was tender and unctuous. The hake and duck were both beautifully cooked and served with rich reductions. However, it was the dessert menu that took the table plaudits. A hot chocolate fondant (a Ramsons’ trademark) was a joy. 

The revelation though was the cheese board. The goats cheese with its quince jelly, was just as sweet and rewarding as Eyre Brothers

The team serving us was always quick to refresh an empty bread dish and pour the table water and was never overly intrusive.  Although there was a wait between courses this was due to our conversation that flowed as liberally as the excellent Shiava rose wine.  It is perhaps fitting that for a region of the country that attracted so many from the subcontinent to live and work that the chef making the most of the local produce with a fresh twist is one Abdulla Naseem from Mali.

With a bill of £107 for five (including wine) the experience of good, local produce cooked with panache is a lesson that many larger and more famous establishments could learn from. 


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AttenburgerMay 13th 2011.

Sad fish. I talk to fish and they are all very sad.

Kevin HandMay 13th 2011.

Loch Fyne, no great loss. Always poor service and really poor cooking

Kevin HandMay 14th 2011.

Allowing that read to write that review is quite sweet. Odd though, what was the thinking behind it?

Jonathan Schofield - editorMay 14th 2011.

He'd bothered to do it is all. And it was ok, so I thought I'd put it up. Nice piece of enthusiasm

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