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Food and Drink round-up 30/07/2010

Parisian dancing, spicy swordness, Ben Fogle, big Victoria Sponge fun

Published on August 2nd 2010.


Food and Drink round-up 30/07/2010

Parisian singing
A bit of ooh-la-la is coming to the Northern Quarter. The former Sevenoaks music unit on High Street is being stripped out to make way for High Street Cafe, which, according to the planning application submitted this week, will be a ‘Parisian-style cafe bar’ – which literally could mean anything except a Wetherspoons we reckon. The company behind it is also called High Street Cafe, owned by a chap called Arthur Randall. Randall is also a director of the Purple Pussycat, the neon bar near Kendal’s, with Northern Quarter doyen Ross McKenzie. We rang Randall up to find out more, but he didn’t ring back. Zut alors.

Jazz cakes are big but the burgers are horrible
Confidential bowled up to the Manchester Jazz Festival tent and take-away bars in Albert Square this week. It’s not a brilliant offering. The best place is Sally’s which does homemade cakes, cupfuckingcakes, and excellent teas and coffees. Worth a visit. The Victoria Sponge Cake pictured here came in slices so big you needed a pair of stepladders to see over it. Then there was the burger bar which offered venison burgers and beef ones and lamb ones. All were cooked to the standard of a mobile unit outside Old Trafford, or the City of Manchester Stadium: greasy, messy, pisspoor, only good for an emergency. Bizarrely this being a Jazz Festival not a single one of Greater Manchester’s twenty plus real ale brewers had a presence. San Miquel anyone? Very very naughty in terms of representing the best of what’s local. Fortunately the music’s been excellent by all accounts. As long as jazz is your thing.

Ball where we had testicles
Mark Addy is gaining a fair bit of popularity in the city, attracting professionals as well as the NQ cook-kid types. But it truly reached the A-list last week when Radio 2 presenter and luvvie legend Michael Ball turned up for his tea on Friday. And Saturday. Then he popped back for a roast dinner on Sunday. Ball finishes his run in Hairspray, currently on at the Opera House, on Saturday. Our source said he was, as expected, the perfect gentleman. Mark Addy is of course where we ate bulls testicles recently (click here) which all seems very appropriate.

Seabass’s spicy sauciness
So the Confidential editor strapped on his breastplate, pulled his helmet firmly onto his head, carefully placed his shin pads in his socks, mounted the office chariot, and with four horses pulling vigorously, galloped off to the bank. The Cooperative Bank. Then he lurched down to Zinc in the Triangle, asked the commissioner of excess there, to look after his gee-gees and ate Seabass tandoori style (£16.50). It was bloody brilliant. Zinc can sometimes disappoint, look like form over content, but this was magic with moist flesh, full flavours and crispy spicy skin that had to be chopped into little bits to ensure it could be savoured for ages. Then the editor got the bill and for once in Zinc didn’t reach for his weapon – see below.

No need to get out the sword
Zinc was once the worst for that evil, vile, pernicious, twattery of the first order which involved imposing a 12.5% service charge on the unsuspecting expense accounts of the world. It was pure profiteering. Both Schofield and Gordo had rows with the various managers over this, calling them rude names and threatening unspeakable acts of vengeance. Now it seems that Zinc has realised its error and there is no service charge any more. As Daily Express writers say, this is a victory for common sense. After all customers have wit enough to decide if we should reward good service. The only problem remaining is that all Zinc’s main courses are still £2.50 too much – even the remarkable seabass tandoori.

Ben Fogle’s big adventure
Nature Valley was in Manchester this week promoting their granola bars and giving out free cucumber and cottage cheese sandwiches packaged by a company called ‘Simply Nice’ which seems like they’re unsure about the quality of the contents as well. Nature Valley should have just stuck with their bars. Ben Fogle, who cheerfully describes himself on his website as a ‘Presenter, Writer and Adventurer’, had adventured to Spinningfields to promote the launch and “encourage people to get out from their desks and enjoy green space”. “You off adventuring anywhere soon?” we asked him. “I’m off to Derby,” he said with a smile, “promoting these products.”

Franklyn’s deli
There’s a new coffee bar, ‘New York style’ deli, opened in the old Costa site on the corner of York Street and Fountain Street. This is Franklyn’s which is a successful brand over in Liverpool. They also have plans for another outlet in Spinningfields. Very decent food, we had a big fresh sandwiches and a class hot duck dish prepared on site, the coffee seemed strong without being bitter too. We’ll do a review in the next couple of weeks, maybe do a compare and contrast with a Starbucks. This place is ten times better. Oops, maybe we’ve just done that already.

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

NortherngeezerJuly 30th 2010.

Ed - Would it be fair to say the burgers were shyte?

AvoJuly 30th 2010.

Cupf*ckingcakes?

Craig SutheranJuly 30th 2010.

the burgers are great

D KesslerJuly 30th 2010.

This year's Manchester Jazz Festival is great. Been to the BBC live recording at Band on the Wall on Monday. Listen to it on iPlayer! Top stuff.
As long as jazz is your thing...

Sugar RushJuly 30th 2010.

Nature Valley at ASDA/ Hulme this week. They don't even stock the bl@@dy stuff...

AnonymousJuly 30th 2010.

Franklyn´s deli is in the old Coffee Repblic, not Costa.

John HarrisJuly 30th 2010.

Haqs Gordo beent old off by the producers for talking about CDWM? All references seem to have vanished...

Happy MancJuly 31st 2010.

What a complete joke of a review of the food at the Jazz Festival!!! Sally's provided and outstanding atmosphere with great coffee, hot chocolate and cakes to die for. The selection food available from the burger stall, swing grill and pan houses was well cooked, tasty and of excellent quality for an outdoors event. This was mirrored by the quality of food and drink that was also served on St Annes square!!!

Gorton PosseAugust 1st 2010.

...and there's no dickheads like at all other Sankey's-type events on the square!

Long Tall SallyAugust 1st 2010.

Gosh Happymanc, are you one of the Jazz club organisers? Never mind that; why has this festival had no promotion? I didn't notice it until it was there. Why hasn't Confidential been doing its bit like they did for the football?

D KesslerAugust 1st 2010.

...do they live in Gorton?

EditorialAugust 2nd 2010.

Er...Long Tall Sally, we've done an interview with the organisers and the done a listing of the festival. We've definitely done our bit.

BillAugust 2nd 2010.

LTS: Posters all down Deansgate and around town. Previews in ManCon, MEN etc. Flyering in town in advance. And 15 years of mjf, mostly running in the same week in July. There's a website. Sign up for free.

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