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MC Restaurant: the best deal in town

Sleuth treats Gordo to the biggest fine dining bargain in town by a country mile

Written by . Published on July 23rd 2008.

MC Restaurant: the best deal in town

Gordo comes charging into the office, face red, tongue lolling.

“Sleuth,” he says. “Sixteen English, that's all.”

“Sixteen English what?” Sleuth says. “Bowmen?”

“No, quid. Three courses with matching wines.”

“Where?” asks Sleuth. “Cafe Rouge?”

“No, Michael Caines place in Abode. It's the set lunch.”

Sleuth gets the choir of angels back to sing a song of air-dried salty beef, tiny pieces of chopped black olive, artichokes and a perfect measure of balsamic. He then lets them sing a hymn to the floaty risotto with the effervescent foam and the clever Parmesan.

Ten minutes later and Gordo and Sleuth are there, attended by a beautiful French waitress. She proffers menus. Gordo and Sleuth stare in astonishment, but not at the girl.

For a lunch deal this is the best. Called the Amazing Graze menu, you get three courses plus bread for £9.95, or three courses plus bread and a glass of matching wine with each course for £16.

The whole package is 5p more expensive than a single main of lamb cutlets in the bland-fest that is the Living Room.

With menus slapped down in front of them, Gordo and Sleuth have a quick fight about who's not going to write this piece. Gordo wins because he hasn't got a pen.

Freed of any responsibility except that which he owes to his belly, Gordo goes for raviolo of goats cheese and basil, peppers, spinach and rosemary cream, followed by roast guinea fowl, baby vegetables and foie gras veloute, and then strawberry parfait. His wine is respectively an Aussie Redfin Chardonnay 2005, South African Sangoma Syrah 2005 and a South African Fairview 'La Beryl Blanc' 2007.

Gordo finds a pen and notebook. He'd fibbed to Sleuth. Gordo quizzes a bewildered but talented Latvian sommelier. They discuss the Chardonnay and Gordo makes notes. “This is nice and tight,” says Gordo. The sommelier nods sagely. Gordo adds, “Some Chardonnays are far too buttery, or like a prostitute that's gone all blousey.”

The Latvian, Sleuth, Oz Clarke, Jilly Goolden and the rest of mankind have no idea what he's on about.

Sleuth chooses home cured bresoala and marinated Provencale vegetables followed by mushroom risotto, mushroom broth and Parmesan, finished off with the cheeseboard. To accompany the food he gets a smooth Italian Zaccagnini Verdicchio 2006, an Italian Veritiere Pinot Grigio 2007 and a Portuguese Moscatel Quinta del Portal.

For both Sleuth and Gordo there is not a single wrong dish or off-note wine. There is not a dish that is anything less than exquisite. Gordo swoons, choirs of angels sing.

“Is this the best deal in Manchester?” the big man says.

“The North, I reckon,” says Sleuth.

“It's on until the end of August,” says chef Ian Matfin as he passes.

Sleuth gets the choir of angels back to sing a song for the air-dried salty beef, tiny pieces of chopped black olive, artichokes and a perfect measure of balsamic.

He then lets them sing a hymn to the floaty risotto with the effervescent foam and the clever Parmesan.

He then tells them to bugger off and shut up whilst he enjoys his selection of cheeses in peace and quiet. A lovely board of richly flavoured northern English cheeses with the best being the Kidderton Ash goats.

Sleuth nearly forgets to make a note or two in praise of the home-made warm bread (baked on the premises, not just cheekily heated up on-site). The black olive and the sun-dried tomato slice is simply magnificent. Sleuth thinks he needs to re-hire the choir for another song.

Satiated and merry, Gordo and Sleuth pay their £32 and make it back to the office in just over an hour.

Actually Gordo and Sleuth couldn't resist themselves and tucked into a couple of glasses of bubbly, an extra Moscatel, another cheese platter....and so on to the utter ruination of any return to work.

But seriously folks, go.

This food and drink deal bends reality.

Rating: 18/20
Breakdown: 9/10 Food
5/5 Service
4/5 Ambience
Address: MC Restaurant
Abode Hotel
107 Piccadilly
0161 247 7744
The Amazing Graze deal runs until the end of August from noon-2.30pm Monday to Saturday

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

andyJuly 23rd 2008.

actually Wayne the problem is that for the £70 per head we paid in the evening at Abode, in London or any other top city we would get service and ambience. The size of the portions is immaterial to the quality but ordering some extra vegetables etc does not make me ignorant.The real manchester problem is the acceptance of poor service levels.

lesleyJuly 23rd 2008.

I completely agree. A fantastic offer.We went yesterday, 25/7.Beautiful food . The "grazing lunch" was exceptional value.We did wait a while for our order to be taken but had already been given water. The staff were very pleasant and for us that was a minor complaint. We have already recommended it to others.Definitely the best lunch deal in the city.

angieJuly 23rd 2008.

my friends and I ate at ithaka on tuesday, the food was amazing the sevice gr8.. and th ammeretto sours with a toffee cherry were to die for!!! but the deserts were awful the worst i have ever tasted no one ate any of them. please try and sort them out... urhh

RayJuly 23rd 2008.

Wayne & David G are spot on. The inability of diners in Manchester to appreciate quality food is astounding. Small portions? Certainly not in calorific terms. In fairness, service levels need to be good in view of the aspirational nature of this restaurant, and the comments here do suggest something is awry. I would hope, though, that service is not equated purely with friendliness - it's the small touches, the attention to the well-being of the diners, the timing of food arrival that all count and not necessarily a smile (although of course that's a good start). My experience was reasonable some weeks ago. The food was of high quality and the bread was excellent. The wine list is a touch on the modest side though in terms of depth and breadth. This deal sounds fabulous, though, and I will certainly be trying it out.

Clive RonayJuly 23rd 2008.

Stu is somebody who clearly has no idea about food and no appreciation of the care and effort people put into food. Anonymous has no idea about the web. The articles on this website are usually fair minded the ranters often aren't, wonder if they are insiders who screech and hate competitors such as ABode which is excellent. And probably more people have enjoyed the offer than ranted here. The deal is amazing, Manchester let us enjoy and appreciate because it won't happen again for a long time.

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2008.

Is this offer on all week or is it just mon-thursday? Any news

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2008.

sorry neil we weren't there outside with your cigarettes. we will be next time!!! only to rush your cancer on a little...

JanieBJuly 23rd 2008.

All very well but this is a practically Veg free restaurant - and I HATE foam! Foam - somebody please tell me what the point of foam is?

CliveJuly 23rd 2008.

So Kane...have you been? is this not a good deal whether or not Abode advertise...it's £16 for gawd sake

David GreeneJuly 23rd 2008.

The one thing I really hope from this is that the cynicism apparent in some of these postings doesn't rub off on all who read this. This is carefully, thoughtfully prepared, beautifully presented food full of flavour with the capacity to surprise. No it doesn't do two kilos of chips like Leo's on Oldham Street but then if you go and think it will then you're not thinking straight. Please, please try this place and see what you think yourself not by listening to these anonymous idiots. I work in another restaurant in town and I really wish we could food like this.

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2008.

and to all the misfits pouncin by their keyboards to correct my english-get some head!!!!!!!

NeilJuly 23rd 2008.

Food is fantastic, but unfortunately the service is sub-atrocious. Service or lack of, really, really lets the restaurant down. We dined as a 4 and waited 20+ mins for drinks, which we then poured ourselves. Wrong starters brought to the table, finding own coats in cloak room when popping outside for cigarettes etc, etc, etc. We wont return in a hurry

WayneJuly 23rd 2008.

Actually the problem is this. Many people think they know what good food is but wouldn't know it if it fell on them. The guy above with his small portions comment...... Really. This ignorance is a problem in Manchester - anywhere - outside London for restaurants that offer this quality.

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2008.

Take it this is another hyped-up place that has failed to deliver? Not been yet but it's not looking too promising from both here and people I've spoken to who have eaten there - Emperor's new clothes again??

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2008.

just pretty typical of the comments that the restaurant and bar workers of this city have to endure with everyday from this website. i didn't think the service in tesco was great this evening. Had to run around find my own stuff, checkout girl surly-paid £180 for the pleasure. didn't feel the need to run home and comment on a website. just wound my own neck in and got on with it. think this site needs to adopt a screening system for it's comments. no more personal attacks on industry workers!!! is a disgrace. personal opinions are obviously fine but if you air them away from your friends and colleagues then at least be honest-state who you are and were you work. will enjoy coming down telling you how to your job-for the tuppence it's worth.

Wayne JJuly 23rd 2008.

Honestly support this place. This deal is astonishing and the food is superb, I've never had a problem with he service. Or the decor. Go and enjoy

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2008.

As well as a great deal you also get a comedy sketch the service is so bad it is laughable! I'd prefer to pay a few more quid a go somewhere where waiting on staff can actually smile. Apart from the French lady who is lovely apart from remarking how she couldn't understand my Russian colleagues Manchester accent!

ANDYJuly 23rd 2008.

Do you have shares in this place?I went on Friday night and the service was a joke.The restaurant was barely a third full. We were put in the bar area. A lot of staff running around and in deep conversations with each other.Ignored for 15 minutes. Grabbed someone to get wine list. Ignored for another 15 mins and flagged down someone to take order.After 10 mins hauled over someone to take food order. He told us what we couldnt have and went into deep shock when asked by my guest if the dish came with potatoes? Went to table - no one re filled wine glasses so we did it ourselves and left empty bottle on table.Not a waiter in site never mind a sommelier!Maybe they were too busy giving service to restaurant critics to get 5 out of 5.Embarrassed with this I flagged down suited gentleman who might have been some sort of boss. He said what had happened was inexcusable but they had issues and which was why restaurant was only half full.He offered us a bottle of wine but was never seen again to check if everything was alright.The food was top rate though the portions small throughout the categories and without suffient accompanyments. There was no atmosphere at all.To get the "London" experience one needs top rate food,service and ambience. Manchester is desperate for one first class "non asian food" restaurant.Such a pity when the hardest part was achieved.

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2008.

Completely agree with anonymous, the food portions are tiny, service is atrocious, prices are extortionate and when you come out, you are so hungry but too poor to be able to buy anything else.

StuJuly 23rd 2008.

Awful service, snobby clientel and staff. I will never go there again. They are only interested in raking in your money.

AnonymousJuly 23rd 2008.

clive i do know the web. far more than you obviously realise but i do feel my comments are justified. and i do agree with your comments about manchester actually appreciating what they have. i don't work or have ever or will ever work at abode-i just think the snide personal attacks on hospitality workers on this site have gone far enough. morale is low enough-i came to work this morning and read on a website (not this one) that some joker commented i looked edgy and my body posture wasnt correct. had no compliant about service, food, ambience etc. just took a personal dislike to me. for ****s sake!!!!???!!! you start your day like that!!

Very reasonableJuly 23rd 2008.

Hey anonymous read the thing. 'The Amazing Graze deal runs until the end of August from noon-2.30pm Monday to Saturday.'

rosieJuly 23rd 2008.

re:Wayne,David and Ray's comments,I remember reading(on this website)similar comments about Juniper,where I had one of the best meals I've ever eaten.No,the portions weren't huge but if all I want to do is stuff my face then I'll go to my local chippy.Quality not quantity.

JoanJuly 23rd 2008.

Went today for the lunch offer and took the wine option. Superb, with each course better than its predecessor. Service prompt, accurate, helpful and pleasant. The staff took a pride in what they were serving and in its presentation. Would recommend it. Don’t skip breakfast though!

KaneJuly 23rd 2008.

Andy they don't have shares in this place, MC's advertise with them! I'll leave the rest to you to think about . . .

jasonJuly 23rd 2008.

I went with gf on saturday - the food is very nice but the offer DOES NOT include any wine. Apparently they have not been running it as such for the past month or so as they cant price it (ie make money) so the £16 is just for food.

lady boy chaserJuly 23rd 2008.

very malty

allyslifeJuly 23rd 2008.

They have great evening deals on as well. The food is amazing and genuinely home cooked (the best I've eaten in ages) although the decor is a little bit Travel Lodge. Sorry!

RGKJuly 23rd 2008.

their website says this offer was only for July... I was hoping to try it out next saturday too. Have others generally found it neceassry to book , especially on a Sat lunchtime say?£16 for 3 courses and mathced wines is def an excellent offer, though I'm hoping the service is not as poor as some comments suggest, as much as I hate too formal, top-up-your drink avery minute diligence... there's no excuse for truly bad service and I would have to make it known!

AnonymousJanuary 10th 2012.

I went Abode for the first time the week before Christmas. I shall not be returning! The service was WOEFUL. We were ushered to our table, despite trying to enjoy a drink at the bar 'so that our orders could go in before the next party arrived'. There was one other table of two in there and the 'party' was another table of around 8. We had pre-ordered food and it arrived/cleared/arrived/cleared as I suppose you would expect, but that was all. The white wine was not chilled. I asked for an ice bucket and was given a wine cooler. The drinks orders were slow. It was really appalling. God knows how this place got a 5/5 for service few years ago.

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