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Food & Drink Roundup WK37: Livebait Closes, Dogs'n'Dough Opens And Much More

Jonathan Schofield with tasty stories

Written by . Published on September 12th 2013.

Food & Drink Roundup WK37: Livebait Closes, Dogs'n'Dough Opens And Much More

Livebait Closes

This was inevitable. Since Aussie chef Dave Spanner left several months ago it looked like Livebait was caught in the nets. Spanner raised the game of a restaurant which had hobbled along for a decade. He was its last best hope. Now its gone.

Funny place Livebait, it rarely shone as a fish restaurant, seemingly getting lost in its own theme. There was a period when steaks featured. People said that Livebait showed Manchester wasn't ready for a fish restaurant. Asinine nonsense. Manchester can cope and will welcome any restaurant that does it properly - as the recent Good Food Guide last week displayed and as Michael Caines points out below. 



Spanner On The Tools At Australasia

Just in case you missed Sleuth last week, here's the news about the Aussie Mr Spanner again - and here's the review of when he transformed Livebait for a season. 'Dave Spanner, the-Aussie-that-says-it-as-it-is, is now heading up the Australasia kitchen as Executive Development Chef. This is good news. Australasia is an excellent restaurant and with Dave’s experience of Pacific rim cuisine it can only get better. He’s a proper quote machine as well. This is him during the interview with David Blake on Confidential about his attitude to team work: ‘I can't stand working with fucking idiots, people who are dirty, or lazy. I can’t stand laziness or unprofessionalism’.' Crikey.

Dogs'n'Dough Opens

There's a new place opening this week on Bow Lane and it's going to be 'bringing you gourmet hot dogs and pizzas with a side of frosty beers and crisp music in an underground setting in Manchester.' But where's Bow Lane? It's that tiny ginnel that starts on Cross Street next to the Caffe Nero close to Albert Square and finishes next to Frank Rostron shirtmaker on Princess Street. Dogs'n'Dough is opening in the old Leonis (and latterly Santiago) site. It'll open until midnight most nights except Friday and Saturday when you can rock with your dog until 2am. Review to follow. A naked dog will be £4.50 but promises 100% beef Frankfurter, a chilli dog is £6 with chilli and sour cream, a New Yorker, again £6, contains pastrami, jalapenos, 'Swiss', horseradish mayo. There are more dogs too.



The Dogs'n'Dough site when it was Santiago restaurant

Brewery And Beer Bonanza

The latest edition of the Campaign for Real Ales, Good Beer Guide, has found that seven new Greater Manchester breweries opened in last 12 months making a total of 35 Greater Manchester breweries. Meanwhile 46 new Greater Manchester pubs are featured with the Baum in Rochdale named as one of the UK’s ‘Top 16’ pubs according to CAMRA. Impressive numbers. The new breweries are: Blackjack Beers Ltd, Manchester; Privateer Ales, Manchester; Deeply Vale Brewery, Bury; Fool Hardy Ales, Heaton Norris; The Hay Rake Brewery, Littleborough; Ramsbottom Craft Ales, Ramsbottom; Ringway Brewery, Stockport. 

Astounding Fact Of The Week

There are now 5,200 British beers being produced. Variety is the spice of life and all that, but how's a man supposed to fight his way through all those even with an extended lock-in. Ten years ago there were around 2,000 less British beers. 

Yuzu Sweetly Overjoyed

One of the new venues in the Good Food Guide was Yuzu, the tiny Japanese restaurant located in Chinatown. Yui Nagama of the fine establishment said: "I was delighted when we received the letter (from The Good Food Guide) of course. I couldn't believe we would be on it. And also felt that our hard work had finally paid off, as we make everything from scratch unlike other 'Japanese' establishments that use frozen products." That's a cunning expression of joy eh? Suprise, happiness and at least two subtle digs for less 'Japanese' restaurants and their preparation techniques. Gordo's review of Yuzu here.



Michael Caines Plump Smoking Breasts

It was a privilege to see Michael Caines at work on Wednesday cooking away on a tiny hob outside the kitchen on the ground floor of the Abode Hotel. It was also fun to see people running around in a panic when his plump smoking breasts set off the fire alarm - pheasant breasts of course (main picture at the top of the page). He prepared some carrot soup too. This was part of the promotion of his upcoming book Michael Caines at Home - remarkably for a 'celebrity chef' Caines hasn't yet 'done' a book, even more remarkably this one hasn't been ghost-written but is all his own work. It should have been released on 3 September but will now be released on 3 October. "My fault," he said with a rueful grin, "I've been busy."

Michael Caines Talks Sense

The two-starred Michelin chef also said: "We came here with fine dining five years ago. People said Manchester wasn't capable of sustaining fine dining. I heard so many people say to me 'What is the matter with Manchester?' I knew all that was rubbish, but we came here determined not to pretend to be reproducing a London restaurant. We decided to do away with dress codes, formalities, we wanted people to be themselves, not tell people how they should behave. That seemed to fit the bill. Now we have 120 covers on a Saturday and that makes the restaurant profitable. We proved that it could be done here. Now with Simon Rogan at The Midland and Aiden (Byrne) opening Manchester has become a food destination. The people who said it could't be done were wrong. Negative people usually are."

Michael Caines in action

Michael Caines in action

New Hotel For The Northern Quarter

The Business Desk website has reported that 'Muj Rana wants to convert the former Unique Women clothes shop and textile warehouse at 57 Newton Street into 17-bed hotel...called the Cow Hollow Hotel.' Not sure whether there's going to be a restaurant or bar but the name probably refers to a trendy area of San Francisco. Isn't it always a bit pathetic when places in Britain name themselves after places in supposedly trendier cities? Toe-curling. After all Mr Rana had the name in front of him all along: The Unique Woman Hotel would certainly have raised eyebrows. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield or connect via Google+

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

Mark HaireSeptember 12th 2013.

Livebait was nice but the amount of fish/shellfish they presented you with was appalling. I'm not obsessed with portion size, but when I ordered the seafood tagine I received a dish with 4 mussels in it and a couple of measly pieces of non-descript white fish. Mussels are one of the cheapeast, most abundant ingredients on the go, and they were still determined to give you very few. It was barely a fish dish at all!

1 Response: Reply To This...
IanSeptember 12th 2013.

food was good when spanner was there but it was still in need of redecoration inside.

JaySeptember 12th 2013.

Manchester doesn't like fish!

AnonymousSeptember 12th 2013.

Jay sucks Bwalls

AnonymousSeptember 12th 2013.

I see old Spanner is still heading UP at Austalasia. What's with all this adding UP when it is not needed. Give it a break UP

Poster BoySeptember 12th 2013.

"...unlike other 'Japanese' establishments that use frozen products." Can you read that Gordo?

Richard KiddSeptember 12th 2013.

It's sadly true; considering its size Manchester doesn't really embrace fish (metaphorically at least… no idea what people get up to behind closed doors these days). The fish stalls at the Arndale in the city centre are a fraction of what they used to be a decade or two ago; the menus of many good eating establishments' fish sections are somewhat conservative… and we punch well below our weight at fish and chips compared to other cities in the north. Shame really. Incidentally… surely it'd be 'less beer' or 'fewer beers'?!

paulSeptember 12th 2013.

I embrace my fish n chips most Fridays

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Steve5839September 12th 2013.

But not at £17.50!

paulSeptember 13th 2013.

Good point Steve .

AnonymousSeptember 12th 2013.

That location makes a better café.....

Christine KilbySeptember 12th 2013.

I have enjoyed several excellent fish courses at San Carlo ...

AnonymousSeptember 12th 2013.

Rebecca really enjoyed her homemade fish finger sandwich the other evening...

FoodLover1September 13th 2013.

All this interesting info & still no review of the new Indian Tiffin Room?! Best restaurant I've been to in many a year!

Jonathan SchofieldSeptember 13th 2013.

Where is Tiffin Room Foodlover1?

AnonymousSeptember 13th 2013.

Chapel St Cheadle, Manchester, Cheshire SK8 1BR 07841 510094 since you ask.

paulSeptember 14th 2013.

Oh It was an Advert

MeSeptember 16th 2013.

I love fish, livebait just never had the appeal. Following two mediocre meals there I never bothered going back. I often find that when I eat out, all I order is fish. So many restaurants have a great selection of fish courses, ones that were much better than livebait, so I don't need to visit a fish restaurant to get my fish fix.

1 Response: Reply To This...
TimbucSeptember 17th 2013.

I agree. I love fish too and invariably order it when I eat out in Manchester. But I had one meal at Livebait and it was average at best. Never went back.

Simon TurnerSeptember 17th 2013.

Dogs N Dough; " hot dogs and pizzas " The infantilisation of our population continues...

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 17th 2013.

What makes you say that?

Simon TurnerSeptember 17th 2013.

Food for kids fed to adults. Its the eating-out equivalent of an adult reading Harry Potter.

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