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Rosylee Restaurant And Tearooms Reviewed

Gordo likes the livery, the chips, the fish, the cakes but woe the rarebit

Published on August 29th 2013.

Rosylee Restaurant And Tearooms Reviewed

SCHOFIELD, Confidential's Editor In Chief, decided that Gordo was going to do a review of a brand new gaff in the Northern Quarter. Rosylee.

Look at the pictures, they don't lie. They were really gorgeous, outstanding pastry work with the choux, whilst the sponge would have been given near top marks from Paul Hollywood. 

The Fat One had forgotten about this, arriving in the office ready for a meeting at the very grown-up hotel that is The Lowry. He was resplendent in his Caruso pin stripe suit, Church brogues and a tie from Milan. To others, he may have looked like a twat, but the Maestro certainly didn’t think so. Babe magnet was in his mind. 

The Lowry meeting was cancelled and Gordo found himself, three hours later, standing on Stevenson Square sticking out like a sore thumb in that beardie Hipster paradise. Rosylee




"You can't miss it,” says Schofield. That statement is guaranteed to ensure the bloody place is invisible. (Ah that explains the expletive laden rant you left me as a message. Ed.)

And so it was. Not quite invisible, as it happens, just disguised cleverly as the mentalist cocktail scrum bar, Tiki, amongst a sea of umbrellas selling Mumm champagne.  

There it was, the exterior painted freshly white. Rosylee was described to Gordo by Schofield as tearooms “all nicely black and white, sort of Harrogate-ey with French music playing in the background.” 

French music? Is it a French cafe?  

"No, just go, even you will get the idea". 

So Gordo sat down outside, ready to see what it was all about, ordering a pot of tea (£3.50) and a small bottle of Hilden Still (£2.50). The seats are solid, good quality. The teapot, proper heavy metal along with a good-sized china teacup and saucer. The tea is own brand and good. Leave it alone for three to five minutes and your patience will be rewarded. Can we have a jug of very hot water for a fill up as well? 

The ladies serving are wearing retro black outfits, with interesting white collars; they look dead cute. Turns out they are pretty cute when it comes to service as well; on their toes with welcoming smiles. 

 Nice staff


Nice staff


The menu is not an easy one, a number of things look confused and are confusing. Sections themselves are baffling. As a good example;

Steak Crostini (£10.95): Hand carved Marinated Bavette on a Basil Pesto Crostini with Sweet Chili Courgette Fritters, Micro Rocket and Confit Cherry Tomatoes.

Is it usually carved by foot, this Bavette? What, for the majority of the British public, is Bavette?

Actually it's Flank Steak, along with forequarter beef, it’s exclusively used, for example, by MacDonald’s to make their (in Gordo's humble opinion) rather excellent beef patties. 

It is also eaten as a cheap cut of steak by the French, cut against the grain, to sort out the toughness and flash fried in most of their 'steak frites'. Again, one of Gordo's favourites. 

Now, Gordo decided not to have this. If it came rare, blood dripping on to thickly buttered toasted crostini, maybe a big dollop of Dijon mustard, he would have been on it. But, basil pesto?  Chili courgette fritters? Confit cherry tomatoes? Sounds like a nightmare. Gordo knows the chili will destroy the basil and the tomatoes will just get off home depressed.

So Fatty chose Rosylee Rarebit (£6.95). 'Open Toasted Granary Bloomer with Grilled Plum Vine Tomatoes, topped with Rosylee Rarebit, Rocket and Balsamic Vinaigrette'.

Gordo does not have a clue what an 'open toasted' granary bloomer is. Whilst, like most of the menu descriptions, there is far too much information, Gordo thought that in a tearoom, the rarebit, Rosylee or Welsh, would be top of the pride list.

It wasn't, it was a shocker, all bloomin' bread and very little rarebit, Rosylee or not. What there was, was tasteless.

Dead rarebit

Dead rarebit

The tomatoes were nice mind you, all warm and juicy. But Gordo was led to believe there was a rocket salad going on, with a balsamic vinaigrette. Fine.

However it was just a few bits of cheffy green stuff, with a few cheffy drops of vinaigrette blobbed about and some cheffy balsamic blobs squeezed out of a cheffy squeezy bottle onto the vinaigrette.

Gordo was feeling depressed.

As a matter of interest, Gordo considers Ferguson Henderson's rarebit example, at St. John in London the best he has had. And the easiest to replicate in a domestic or pro kitchen. There's a hint there, get the book.

Fish and chips followed. (£11.95). 'Cod Steak, Battered with Twice Cooked Chips, Manchester Caviar, Rosylee Tartar Sauce and Saffron & Lemon Mayonnaise'.

Excellent fish and chips


Excellent fish and chips


The plate looked the business, the two small steaks of cod, lightly and crisply battered, turned out to be things of wonderfulness, the cod cooked just so. The twice cooked chips were good; but why ‘twice cooked?’ What does that description bring to the party? All chips are twice cooked, every one in the land who cooks knows that. Some lucky little chips are ‘thrice cooked’ in the Heston manner.

Gordo is starting to believe that whoever is writing this menu is a frustrated poet.

The lemon mayo was an utter honey and the tartar sauce better than Gordo's. Gordo breathed a sigh of relief. A lovely dish he will eat again.

Two puddings were ordered. Chocolate éclairs (£3.75) and Victoria Sponge cake with fresh whipped cream and jam (£5.25). Now folks, look at the pictures, they don't lie. They were really gorgeous, outstanding pastry work with the choux, whilst the sponge would have been given near top marks from Paul Hollywood. 

An attractive pair of red topped mouth delights

An attractive pair of red topped mouth pleasers

The descriptions did the business here. Chocolate Eclairs £3.75.10/10 to whoever wrote that description. Just the two words did it for Gordo.

Rosylee is a contemporary take on the great tearooms of fifties London, but the menu has been overworked, the descriptions over-flowery and with not enough classics. And the classics must be delivered immaculately; that Rosylee rarebit was a poor effort. But, it is a soft opening and Gordo feels the place can only get better.

There is a short and very reasonable wine list by the glass and bottle. It shan't be winning any medals soon, but good enough and mostly under twenty quid.

Service was slightly mis-timed but enthusiastic, and when those girls wear their shoes in, it should sing.

Whoever is writing the menu, a quick point. Remember less is more. And think about your ingredients, currently you have more than many fine dining establishments. When you get busy, whoever is on the tools is going to have a nightmare getting this lot out quickly.

Unless he/she gets the brigade in two hours early. Breakfast anyone?

You can follow Gordo on Twitter here @gordomanchester


Rosylee, 11 Stevenson SquareNorthern Quarter, M1 1DB

Rating: 14.5/20 (please read the scoring system in the box below, venues are rated against the best examples of their kind)

Food: 7/10 (tea 8, rarebit 3.5, fish and chips 8, eclairs 7.5, Victoria sponge 8)
Service: 3.5/5
Ambience: 4/5

PLEASE NOTE: Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away.



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

David BishopAugust 29th 2013.

Do the writers get paid more if they say something "sings" or "sang"? It's in almost every review here. Surely another verb they can use ?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
EditorialAugust 29th 2013.

Yes we do. And also if we use the word Carthusian but that's harder to fit in food reviews.

GordoAugust 29th 2013.

Whats a verb? Eh?

AndrewAugust 29th 2013.

The fish & chips looks great, but please loose the mini bowls for the chips and tartar sauce.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
TimbucAugust 29th 2013.

Aargghh!! No they don't!! Those are not chips. They look nice. I would really enjoy eating them. But not if I was expecting chips. I'm sick of pubs and restaurants serving me those hunks of potato and calling them chips (or thick cut chips).

AndrewAugust 30th 2013.

It is a an easier way to prep them i suppose, but have to agree. I want a chip that resembles the ones my mum used to me make me. Not a slab or par boiled potato.

SquirrelitoAugust 29th 2013.

whoever's handbag that is under the tea urn, might not be so pleased, now her hiding place has been plastered over the internet.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Calum McGOctober 21st 2013.

What a wonderful, helpful post. If the bag is easily visible, it's just scruffy. It should be in the staff room!

Axel LariatAugust 29th 2013.

Referring to one's self in the third person is acceptable (indeed, quite quirky and amusing) once or twice per article Gordo, but there are at least 18 instances in this review. Do try and rein it in a little bit, eh? "Less is more", as you say in your penultimate paragraph.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoAugust 29th 2013.

Axel, Gordo has been criticised for the past ten years over this and it's why he only has 400,000 readers. He's a complete Twat

AnonymousAugust 29th 2013.

Arf 400,000 readers eh? I take it you're counting bacterial microbes on your actual reader's faces then. ABC verified that number I take it? Hahaha, fuck off with that.

GordoAugust 29th 2013.

Oh its you! Gordo loves you. You're very sweet. Come on out of the closet, uncle Gordo can see you peeping through those IP addresses. We don't use ABC, they are useless. We use Google Stats. Now, would you like to come over with £100 in your pocket? If I am telling little porkies, then you can donate my £1000 to your favourite charity. If I'm telling the truth, then your Uncle Gordo will take just the £100 off you for his, but then be allowed to take your trousers down and spank you on camera. You know you really want that don't you, you naughty little troll...

AnonymousAugust 29th 2013.

So much more fun staying anonymous as it clearly winds you up to the point where you make these wagers. Seen them a million times before. We both know it's not going to happen so you can keep your 400,000 fantasy and your £100... or is it £1000?! That little slip shows that I've got to you so you can drop the pseudo condescending act too. For the record I've not commented from this IP before so you're off there, also Google Analytics is not a verifiable measure of circulation - and again no way in a million years does this site have a 400,000 circulation, thats pretty much 1 in 5 of the entire GM conurbation. Fantasy.

Barry MaginnAugust 29th 2013.

Google stats of what? Page views or unique visitors, maybe something else? Be very surprised if there was 400,000 unique users. Most likely just the same small band of people constantly going back on the sit to see if anyone has replied to their pathetic comments. Also, Justin Beiber has 16m twitter followers, doesn't mean that we should bow down in reverence to his high quality output

Pedro1874August 29th 2013.

I don't think the Chef of my favourite London restaurant will be too pleased if he saw your misspelling of his Christian name Gordo, unless Fergus is a shorter version? His recipe IS great! www.countrylife.co.uk/…/Greatest-Recipes-Ever-Fergus-Henderson-s-Welsh-rarebit.html…

1 Response: Reply To This...
GordoAugust 29th 2013.

Quite right, Gordo is very silly

Peter SlackAugust 29th 2013.

sat for twenty minutes in here last saturday night desperately trying to get one of the numerous waiting staff to stop chatting amongst themselves and get us a drink before giving up and going to Grill on New York st for some decent service...

1 Response: Reply To This...
The BlanketAugust 29th 2013.

why didn't you just shout at them?

Jenny CollinsAugust 29th 2013.

Sigh... grow up children... actually no please don't I'm rather enjoying Anonymous' awful grasp of Gordo's bet post and triumphant 'win' (read again re monetary amounts) Gordo's simply stating that he's rather more confident and will put up more money!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 29th 2013.

Shit. Right you are. Oops. +1 to Gordo. And don't worry Jenny, it's only a bit of fun really. Even if Gordo does make it a bit weird with the spanking references. ;)

JaysaphineAugust 29th 2013.

Ate here 2 days after it opened and the goats cheese bon bons and salmon pancakes were delicious. The gentleman in the picture was very friendly and attentive. However, I went back here a couple of days later with the intention of trying the tea cocktails. The service was shocking and I saw two couples leave. When we finally got the cocktails, they were watery, tasteless and not very impressive at all.

Jenny CollinsAugust 30th 2013.

Thanks Anonymous... typical woman wading into a spat... do, please all you Anonymouses (is that a word?) out there keep up the good work!

Poster BoyAugust 30th 2013.

"Babe magnet..." Oh dear. #denial

AnonymousAugust 30th 2013.

I might be being an idiot here, but what's Manchester Caviar?

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 1st 2013.

mushy peas

IanSeptember 2nd 2013.

He says 400,000 readers as if they are hanging on his every word. Did you know he lived in France, and published a book? He is an expert! People look at the pictures and that's pretty much it.

SimonSeptember 23rd 2013.

Can never work out who comes on this site to have a go at the reviewers. I mean, who are these people? The Reviewer's Police? Anyway, I went to RosyLee's on Saturday night and I think this review sums the place up perfectly. I'd add that, on the night we went, the service was smiley and friendly though not much more proficient than it is almost everywhere these days. We ordered Lamb Balatine (sp?) and the chips, a sweet potato parcel thing and the bavette. The lamb was good but the sweet potato dish was the star. The bavette was underwhelming. I don't care how many times the chips were cooked or what they were served in; they were proper chips and tasted like it. The place itself is lovely; feels comfortable and authentically Parisian (though I admit it's a long time since I was in Paris). The menu seems to be aiming at lunchtime trade so appears a bit strange for a place on a Saturday night. I'd definitely return.

SimonSeptember 23rd 2013.

... oh and I forgot to say, (how could I?) that the Manchester Tart was so delicious it would have been worth going there just for that.

FLIPSeptember 28th 2013.

20 years ago my wife and I used to work in what’s now pretentiously called the Northern Quarter and decided to see how much it’s changed. More people, plenty of places to get drunk but still a culinary desert. Then we came upon Rosylee Tearoom which claims to be a restaurant as well. Great decor, attentive host, beautiful polished and/or new glassware and cutlery. Quality napkins; fabric would have been good but they were decent quality paper anyway. Waitresses wear lovely pearl collars which add a touch of elegance to black. We were told the place has been open just 5 weeks. It shows. Staff are either dozy or untrained - the management needs to spend less time strutting around looking important and see how much real training the top restaurants put into their serving staff before they’re let loose on the public. The layout of menus is confusing, the choices are minimal. It didn’t help that the first one the server handed us was empty clear plastic pockets, the second at least had sheets inside the plastic but they’d been put in by an illiterate. Desserts first, mains second, starters last. Service was painfully slow. If a restaurant wants to puts its kitchen on display it should make sure the chefs are actually cooking something. The food was tasty but pretentious and over-priced. My wife’s fish of the day (monkfish) was well presented and if the portions were small they were an interesting combination of flavours. My chicken parcel was supposed to have breast inside. In fact there were clumps of barely cooked pastry and a few scraps of chicken. You’ll get more meat in a portion of chicken nuggets. Apart from chips and the spinach under the chicken parcel, the only extra vegetable available was a side, battered zucchini in a sweet chilli sauce. We ordered a portion to share as a starter but it arrived with my main course - my wife’s fish followed a few minutes later. Whether the zucchini came out of the deep freeze is a moot point - it certainly wasn’t fresh batter and Sainsbury’s sells a sweet chilli sauce that tastes and looks exactly the same. Finally when we paid the bill the lack of staff training showed again - the waitress left it to the customer to enter in the amount of the bill! OK atmosphere, but no place to go if you’re hungry.

SimonOctober 20th 2013.

Just been back to Rosylee's. The food is great here. Had the fish and chips. Crispy batter encased perfectly cooked fish though the star dish tonight was the bavette. Looked superb on the plate (as did everything else). The menu still needs some working on but the place, the staff and the food make it worth a visit.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
JimOctober 21st 2013.

It's very small though the fish and chips. 5 big chips and 2 small pieces of fish.

IanOctober 21st 2013.

I thought the fish and chips portion was an ok size and it was fresh. The steak crostini was a little small for the price so ordered an extra side.

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