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Ithaca the review

Jonathan Schofield thinks the food at Ithaca is amazing and that everybody should go

Written by . Published on May 20th 2008.


Ithaca the review

Normally we give new restaurants at least two weeks to bed in. But since we've been waiting two years for Ithaca, we decided to forget that.

Given the lead time it wasn't surprising that the kitchen was ready, what was more of a shock was the excellence of the food. Maybe even the perennially 'disappointed in Manchester', Jay Rayner of The Observer, will find the adjective 'good' at his disposal. Although that's pushing it.

Every dish of food looks absolutely beautiful, and has the content to match the looks. This is a hugely exciting new opening for food lovers in Manchester

Not that you might guess Ithaca's virtues on first viewing. Everything is either black or silver, and often twinkly silver. It's every gangster's fantasy bedroom in every episode of Miami Vice from the eighties. Yet the more you get acquainted with it, the more the garishness magically morphs into a blank canvas waiting to be animated by the vivid shades of the food.

And the vivid shades of the punters.

This is very much a seen and be seen place: a glittery show-off den of art deco darkness. In a city which downplays its dress code compared to our Scouse cousins, this, occasionally, is good to see. And fun. On our visit the peacocks and their paramours were out in force. One girl of 22, was trying hard to be Katie Price. She had a scarlet spray-on dress, and a chest with the type of overhang even the most experienced mountaineer would find hard to negotiate.

But the food is the brightest star. It's Japanese, or maybe Modern Japanese. Or even Modern Japanese with Modern European influences. Whatever the definition, the Executive Head Chef, Nasser Laziri, previously from Nozomi in London, is doing great work.

The menu starts with sushi, then mingles small plates, large plates, sides, barbecued bits and bobs and desserts to dizzying effect.

We began with four small plates, the soft shell crab (£12.50), the braised quail (£10.50), seafood dumplings (£5.80) and the Wagyu beef carpaccio (£16.50). None of these dipped below excellent. Two were outstanding with the carpaccio mind-blowing.

This is made with Wagyu, a pampered premium Japanese beef raised in the wide open spaces of Oz. Not as expensive as the famed Kobe beef, this stuff still costs more per kilo than an average herd of Holsteins. Our Wagyu came with fried garlic slices and a ginger dressing (both of which could win an Oscar for best supporting role). The flesh melted in the mouth: it was the most soothing carnivorous experience I've ever had. It was so soothing I'm thinking of buying loads of Wagyu and starting meat therapy classes: persuade some vegetarians to move into the light.

The soft shell crab was next after the carpaccio in terms of quality. Deep fried, it was timed to the second and came with a finely crafted hot and sour sauce, and some excellently timed, nicely soaked, sweet potato. With the crab you eat the whole thing, shell and all. This produces that clever and enticing resistance to the bite, which then breaks through into the exquisite seafood beneath.

The 'large plates' maintained the quality with the poussin (£12.50) and sea bass (£20). The former was a baby chicken - generously donating its young life for my gastronomic enjoyment - braised in a sharp little sauce, with the bitter Japanese radish, daikon, plus diced beans, courgette, carrots and swede. This was easy on the eye and easy on the palate with a good range of tough cop/soft cop textures and flavours. The Chilean sea bass (£20) had been 'steeped in chili', which gave it greater substance, then roasted and placed with steamed pak choi and ginger. Another wonderful combination.

Mr Laziri certainly knows his stuff. In fact I've only one serious quibble. This was with the green tea offering in the home made ice creams (£5) which tasted like toothpaste or bubble gum. Mind you, the vanilla was superb. The caramelised pineapple dish (£5) was nigh perfect too.

The wine prices have been held at a reasonable level given the aspiration of the venue. We had a cool D'Arenburg Hermit Crab, Viognier Marsanne, for £23. Other drinks include an exquisite range of teas and, in the bar, some of the most extravagant cocktails around, including examples accompanied by herb crusted Wagyu or Godiva chocolates hand-painted with gold leaf.

Attention to detail seems written into Ithaca. It's present in the service and above-all in the food, every dish of which looks absolutely beautiful and has the content to match the looks. This is a hugely exciting new opening for food lovers in Manchester.

But Ithaca has to be careful. It has to be food first, second and third. Then a bar. We don't want the boys who frequented Mash and Air visiting Ithaca and demanding free champagne. Those fellas go under the generic term of 'nasty t**ts' and, if encouraged, can not only ruin a good night out but a whole business. Flash bars are their target and Ithaca is flash.

Because of this Ithaca should downplay the members bar on the third floor, carefully vetting would-be clients. Indeed, to my mind, the members bar is a needless up-its-own-arse metropolitan addition, one which has never worked in Manchester. Time will tell.

Fortunately the bosses at Ithaca seem very aware of the dangers of becoming bubbly central for the D&G clad classes. Because if the food stays this good then Ithaca will become a food destination for the North of England.

Go. As soon as you can. Lunches are a good bet too.

Meanwhile those meat therapy classes start on Wednesday. The location is the room above the Unicorn Grocery in Chorlton. Although I'm waiting confirmation of that.

Rating: 19/20
Breakdown: 9.5/10 Food
5/5 Service
4.5/5 Ambience
Address: Ithaca
36 John Dalton Street
Manchester
Mon-Sun noon-3pm,
6pm-11pm
(bar noon-1am)
www.ithacamanchester.com

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

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

Sorry to say I was disappointed. Every single dish except the sushi was far too sweet and the black cod didn't taste particularly fresh. Chef needs to take lessons in modern Japanese cooking from the likes of Roka in London- much to my regret I don't think that Ithaca is ever likely to get Manchester its first Michelin starred restaurant.

TanyaMay 20th 2008.

Carol Voderman.. hmm impostor! :)

Carol VordermanMay 20th 2008.

Shouldn't that add up to 18.5/20?

YumYumMay 20th 2008.

Food was never great. But does it matter as it has now gone BUMP. Another faliure for Mr Arnie (BS) Hira

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

FI - the fish is called black cod not blackened cod, it has nothing to do with the way id is cooked. the wagyu is not from new zealand, it is australian which is of better quality and no, it will not be frozen but chilled, the large amount of fat in wagyu preserves it perfectly when vacuumed for months. and as for the talk of a star, i do not believe ithaca are after one so why the emphasis. so much for the open minded critic you pretend to be.

LouMay 20th 2008.

As a lover of all things Japanese I was so excited to try this place out. Went last night and I was so disappointed. Mediocre at best, offensive at worst. Thank god I had an offer and only spent 60 quid between 2. Get me to Michael Cains this instant!

Suzi - not lil miss suzie aboveMay 20th 2008.

to the anonymous critic above who thought the food bar sushi was too sweet, I'm inclined to disagree. Having been to Ithaca twice to dine now, lunch and dinner, I have had the opportunity to sample quite a lot of the menu. The Black Cod is excellent - easily comparable to that served in Nobu or Zuma in London (I have not been to Roka...) The staff go out of their way to be personable and polite, and aside from the garish silver wallpaper in the entrance, this place is sure to become my new favourite Manchester restaurant. I can't think of anywhere locally that provides top-end Japanese cuisine and Ithaca certainly fills that void. Perfect for business lunches too as the service is particularly quick, which is helpful when you're rushing back to the office

AkayMay 20th 2008.

WELL DONE ARNIE & NASSER ! The place is spectacular in every way. The fish is the finest I have ever had in the uk ! Soft Shell Crab was gorgeous. The Black Cod melted in my mouth and then there was a spectacular taste explosion dancing on my taste buds. The Wagyu Beef was tantilisingly tender and tasty. All the cocktails and bar staff were the finest I have come accross outside of London. The Wine list was extensive and the staff were great. Nasser is an extremely humble and amazing talent and I wouldn't expect Arnie to let anyone else be in charge of the food. The bar upstairs is very private yet welcoming and again the cocktails were super. An individually toffee glazed red cherry topped off the cocktail and it is this kind of attention to detail that makes this bar THE BEST. Not detracting from the restaurant which is itself a spectacular sight but, the food speaks for its self and screams of quality and passion. I had my HSBC Premier Card in my back pocket and I was expecting it to take a hammering. I was pleasantly surprised, the food is exceptionally excellent value for money with many of the main dishes hovering around the £20 pound mark. Once again well done Arnie, so you spent a bit more money and took a little longer to get it open than expected but hey dude... it was worth the wait ! ”

arnie s hiraMay 20th 2008.

no gordo, i haven't, you know the food is awesome.... in fact, err, i have put half a stone in a very short space of time, cos proudly i can say, it's that good.... Talk about a "see"food diet!!!! x

KarenMay 20th 2008.

Secret whatever....why the pseudonym?...there's nothing clumsy about it. Just funny. Great review. Mountaineering around a bosom, come on we've all seen tha sort of fakery tittery. But you're right what is that anonymous's axe she's grinding? Do you think she was Ms Katie Price junior?

James AllenMay 20th 2008.

Just about to say what a great meal I had at Ithaca, but was distracted by the comment above. What's going on there?

lil miss suzieMay 20th 2008.

I just have returned from ithaca, i don't think it has been opened for longer than a week, and the restaurant was fully booked. What's more astonishing is that, this review is spot on. The food is tremendous and really a delight. I had the black cod, it really really melts in your mouth. The soft shell crab is tantilizing and the sushi is yummy. But Belinda Carlisle, although her career short lived, i have to agree becuase Heaven is a place on earth, Oh dear lord, the chocolate cake was perfection in every sense. The venue is beautiful, and I will be netertaing my cleints there for lunch. Well done, I think Manchester has got a reason to step it up a level now....

A-M.May 20th 2008.

Having waited for over 12 months for Ithaca to open, I can say categorically that it didn't come even close to living up to the hype. The food was undoubtedly excellent and the restaurant service was above average. The whole dining experience however was totaly diluted by, a ridiculously small restaurant, tables far too close together, very questionable black and silver glittery decor, far too loud piped 80's music, all rounded off with haggling guest list wannabes in full view and earshot of the restaurant tables. The incongruity of the restaurant menu and the restaurant atmosphere was unbelievably stark. This is not the sexy, atmospheric destination restaurant the quality of the food merits and it's a real shame because the place is utterly devoid of atmosphere and class.The bar too was the ultimate let-down; dressed to the nines and expecting to party in an uber-glam space, the tiny, gloomy half-empty bar just didn't cut it. Also, the automatic 10% bar service charge added to our bottle of bubbly, (which we had to stand at the tiny bar to drink and pour ourselves!) really did take the prize for pretentiousness. Ithaca Management should seriously rethink this policy - some of the classiest bars in London wouldn't be so arrogant and Ithaca unfortunately isn't even in their league.Ithaca should lose the bars, they're just unspeakably dire, distance itself from the chavs which it's unfortunately attracting, refocus on the restaurant, giving it a classy look and feel to help it live up to the quality of the food, which is first rate. If it doesn't, it is definitely doomed.

fehcMay 20th 2008.

If you could get rid of the owner and bring back the people that where there from the day one were every thing was good especially the food, then you could really have a successfull place. But now it is too late to do so because it's just not happening.I think that place needs to close the doors "as it will evantually" and give it to the right people to run it.

Hannah JohnsonMay 20th 2008.

Why is Nassor getting all the credit, he is hardly ever there? Norman and David should be getting the credit for the food. They are wonderful and seem to be doing all the hard work while the so called excutive head chef can be found in the northern quarter smashed out of his face spending his ridiculously over paid salary, on most week nights! great restaurant, great food, wrong credit!!!

fehcMay 20th 2008.

I DO HAVE TO SAY FOOD IS JUST NOT GREAT THERE ANY MORE WE WISH TO FIND A NICE JAPANESE RESTAURND IN SORRY IS NOT WORKING

billy one earMay 20th 2008.

not convinced about the chairs, they are really weird when it's quiet, let alone when it's busy. However, the wine list is superb. The mark up must be fairly low to be fair. My lamb chops, although a fabulous flavour were a bit tough. Everything else was just fantatsic

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

who the hell do you people think you are. The food at ithaca is amazing and if you knew anything about food at all you would know that all the food even the £52 wagyu fillet is of a fair price. Also the drinks are of excellent value too, especially the wines.

GordoMay 20th 2008.

Gordo concurrs, if that's the correct spelling. My visit on Friday was extraordinary. The sushi and sashimi, normally served too cold, hit the table at room temperature and were exquisite. I can't wait to go again.

samMay 20th 2008.

actually its 19/20...this country....:)

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

I totally agree the food is 100% but unfortunately there are a number of problems which should bring the score down. At this price point everything is important... Let’s leave the décor down to personal taste and well what we have is a small restaurant with a poor design the first floor is next to a busy corridor leading to the bars, its noisy with lots of people waiting and haggling over the guest list. This should have been a restaurant only destination it’s just too small for both, this way dinners would have had a nice place to drink afterwards on the so called VIP floor. Next the chairs are appalling, uncomfortable and impractical and in no way cool. Then there is the service well trained staff, but not silver service they understand the food as it’s obviously been drummed into them but they are not professional, not rude just not professional. The courses came to fast; the small plates were uninspiring, well executed but the accompanying sauces poor. The mains were good, sea bass exceptional although the sides were tiny and average. The desserts were hit and miss the vanilla ice cream was excellent the crème brulee over powering way too much flavour with the green tea variant disastrous. In summary the fish is great, sashimi superb skip the small plates and stick to fish and it’s the best seafood in Manchester. Its just a big shame after two years it feels like and over the top prohibition, which is no place to serve what we hope will be Michelin star food. Chino Latino in Nottingham pulls of an identical feeling with great food and for less money, its been open for two years and looks tired already if you want an in site into Ithaca two tears on….

daveMay 20th 2008.

Plenty of folk in Manchester have money to spend and want to eat well, what doesn't wash here is the sort of stuffy pretentiousness that IMO did for the likes of Le Mont and Establishment.

Jonathan Schofield - editorMay 20th 2008.

The waiting staff are superb. They do have a 10%; service charge which those staff must see, I suppose, since they're so efficient. Still service charges are naughty. We're adults so we should be able to judge for ourselves. My advice is ask for the service charge to be removed and then tip what you want.

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

I have never had the opportunity to dine at your exclusive venue, so if anyone would like to "sponsor" me, I would be more than happy!!! To be quite honest, I am not really interested in your "stunning menu" or your "dark, glittery, lacquer" décor (as 'too many shoes' stated earlier in rants) or even what time you close!!! I do believe though that I deserve to be there. You see, you already have a HUGE part of me with you every day and while this part is there, I am without my proudest achievement. Hey ITHACA - count yourselves very lucky.... Wish I could see him as much as you do!!!!So mum's boy, I love you very much and miss you madly.... LOVE YOU DAMIAN DE WET...... Big hugs and kisses

too many shoesMay 20th 2008.

I fully expected to loathe Ithaca. Mainly because it took 267 years to open (I'm not a patient woman) and as for the dark, glittery, lacquer décor well that's just not my cup of tea at all. I was also concerned that it'd turn out to be just another "see and be seen" place where typically you get charged £9 for a cocktail and the food is average, blah de blah rubbish. Last week I decided to put my little prejudices to the side though and go to see what all the fuss is about. Happily I was proved totally wrong and the food was quite simply fantastic. The yellow fin sashimi was incredible (all the sushi was superb actually). And as for the wagyu beef; it was the best thing I've eaten in the last decade. Yes the 52 quid price tag is horrendously steep, but these cows get a daily massage and soothing music played to them, so there! The wine list was varied too and reasonably priced which is refreshing for a City Centre eatery. Also big thumbs up to the serving staff (particularly my waiter Darren), who were eager to please and touchingly nervous. You get the sense that they all really want this to be a huge success and if my first visit was anything to go by then I reckon it will. So well done Arnie, but here's a tip - food first and bar second is the way you'll go the distance in Manchester. We only need one Panacea in town; there's no room for another Star Wars bar and they’ve got the niche on that. So keep your focus on the food and you should be fine.

RaceMay 20th 2008.

I also paid a visit on Friday and although smaller than expected inside, well worth the wait.A great excuse to get out your finery.

Real Business PeoleMay 20th 2008.

bad place that treats stuff very unfairly

redlipsMay 20th 2008.

saying that the food was very nice, it was the price for what you got

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

Hi James AllenJust a mother from RSA having a moment...... Hope it will be taken as lightly as it was meant (re ITHACA). Can't wait to be there!!Love from Cape Town

fehcMay 20th 2008.

The place is so beautiful on the outside but is ugly on the inside I saw a member of Staff Protesting outside the Restaurant because He and Many members have not been paid. How sad for those poor people that have to go through such things.They got rid of 6-7 staff in a month there has to be some thing wrong there.....EDITORIAL COMMENT: Fehc that's enough now methinks. You've had three attacks on this place and it's beginning to look a bit axe to grind-ish. So keep on topic and talk about the food and drink and service there and that's fine but not rumour or innuendo. We were there a week or two ago and the food was excellent.

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

my point was i was there with her, why does the guy feel the need to pick on her cos he thinks she looks like katie? we get it all the time its boring yes we know she does and why shouldn't i make a comment? wouldn't you defend a friend who was picked on cos of a way she looks? and as for the big titted comment very mature grow up

BowksMay 20th 2008.

Great to see 2 new great additions to the Manchester dining scene in Ithaca and Michael Caines @ Abode although are either of these ventures going to give Manchester a much coveted (and probably needed)Michelin Star?

Food LoverMay 20th 2008.

James, i am not shocked at all about your experience. It seems to be getting worst and worst at that place. I think they thought the more they spent on it the better, the bigger the chairs the better. Also why employ on sexy staff, you want good service not just a nice blonde!. i can think of 10 restaurants in manchester i would spend my £130 on if i was you James. The other question - service charge. It is not a must to pay, its a option. They can not make you pay the service charge if you do not feel it is right. If your paying £100 on a bit of microwave food - why is the service charge not included!. and also James, why do they need to get the manager involved over not paying the service charge???, its a optional charge not a must. I would think everyone who has had bad service here, should refuse to pay the service charge - they will soon get the hint!

FiMay 20th 2008.

Given it another go. Tried my best to put the last experience behind me. Sorry, won't be going again

Sarah BauerMay 20th 2008.

sorry i missed a line out, the reviews in the manchester evening news and on manhcester confidential speak for themselves, comparables such as ikan are simply a joke!

ClaireMay 20th 2008.

I agree with you FI. i did think a few years back that you had to spend loads and loads to have a good night. but thats so not true, you can have a great night out and spend half the amount, its the people your with not the amount you spend. your also right that it was abode last month, ithaca this month - the big question is which restaurant will be next month FI?. u want take bets?

M FrigeMay 20th 2008.

It's a great restaurant but they do have to be careful they don't get the idiots with lots of money but no taste. As for Anonymous's friend...well she could quite easily change her style or clothes or whatever to make herself look less like KP if it's that obvious. Maybe you should send Mancon a picture so we can compare.

JinkiesMay 20th 2008.

Two important questions before I dine at Ithaca: Do they have a mandatory % added to your bill for a tip that the staff will never see? And does that mean the waiting on staff are friendly or moody?

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

went on saturday night with a couple of distingiused guests, was absolutely amazing, great wine and great food !!!

Search me!May 20th 2008.

How come when I search for 'Ithaca' this article isn't listed? And even for 'Ithaca: the review' it's half way down the page...

redlipsMay 20th 2008.

i agree with lovefoods - Ithaca was a little too over priced really and not too keen on service - staff have a bit of a attitude really, i think i will stick to obsidain or the restaurant in that area. there are loads of places in manchester its great so much choice but i can not see me going back to Ithaca

JonathanMay 20th 2008.

Ah yes Carol, sums. Never been much good at those tricky things. Thanks, now changed.

secret squirrelMay 20th 2008.

Karen...it was ironical, you know the bit about being clumsy...I give up..;-)

Carol VordermanMay 20th 2008.

Who is this Carol Voderman you speak of? I bet she couldn't beat me in a sudoku comp

DrakeMay 20th 2008.

19 from Schofield? YeGods, the place must be good...

secret squirrelMay 20th 2008.

Anonymous calm down..I think what J is trying to say in his typically rather clumsy way is that your friend is a big titted slapper...HTH...;-)

anonMay 20th 2008.

I have eaten in Ithaca twice since it opened and the food was amazing on both occasions. Decor is incredible and service was too. All in all I think these put together make for a great night out and would recommend everyone to try it.

rawopinionMay 20th 2008.

Having dined at Ithica just a few days ago I have to say that I left feeling very disappointed. Although the sushi and sashimi were the best I've had in this city, which isn't saying much as every other place is so low end I've resigned myself to only eating sushi and sashimi during trips to London, the cooked food I had was dreadful. Even comparing the tempura to the worst I've ever had, my opinion of it didn't improve at all. And the rice cake, which was destroyed by the same thick, gooey, fatty batter as the tempura tasted more like a doughnut than something claiming to be 'Japanese'. It's such a shame that Japans beautiful cuisine gets butchered by so many, and I'm very sad to report that Ithica is not a place I'd expect to see any Japanese people dining in. Considering the price of the food, and drinks (£4.50 for a glass of Yebisu!!!) I expected top quality throughout. I'm afraid this is another attempt to pull the wool over peoples eyes whilst digging deep into their pockets. For reference I do really know what I'm talking about with Japanese food, having been to Japan several times, eating in local places that make the food in a traditional and authentic way (not watering it down to suit a fussy western palate), and having eaten in many many Japanese restaurants in London, New York, Hong Kong and Toronto to boot.

JamesMay 20th 2008.

Agree whole heartedly with Fi, we started by making a reservation by email as requested on the website. No response, so phoned to be informed that the email address was wrong. Gave up with the chairs which were too heavy to move, so sat on the bench. Sake ordered but no request if it would like to be warm, then told if we wanted it warm it would lose its alcohol (2 minutes in the microwave and steaming it arrived. Miso soup may as well have come from a packet for the flavour, sashimi was then plonked down, no engagement to inform what fish was presented, normal for Nobu. Felt like we were in a fast food joint, and dinning with the noisy, rude table adjacent. With no exemplary service I asked to have the service charge removed, they said they would have to speak to the manager, you would have though he may have cared and come over. Just the bill arrived again and still had to wait to pay until I glared at “Katie Price”. Spoke to "Katie Price" on leaving that the service was poor and go soorrryyy as a response.There’s better ways to spend your money in MCR, this one at £130 for 2 was not.

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

Service was erratic, even less happy when having spent £340 a member of waiting staff was berated for having not ensured we spent 'enough'. Food was generally good, but the tempura was way too salty. Overrated and prententious.

Sarah BauerMay 20th 2008.

huh? do you work for IKAN? ho can you compare such a grotty little sh*t hole to ITHACA, understand if you were comparing Wings or San Carlo as they are nice restaurants, but IKAN and ITHACA, lol, please come on. Go do you PR somewhere else, the reviews in the Manchester Evening news and on here. I have personally been to ithaca and think it is fabulous, the decor and the food are consistently good. However the service needs tightening up, its up and down at the moment... Teething problems I assume! Got my custom either way! x

Footballer's ex-wifeMay 20th 2008.

Gordo had the system sorted on Friday: bypass the obnoxious waiters and deal directly with the chef. The food is this ugly place's only redeeming feature.

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

I only sampled the bar but I won't be returning. Plans for a quiet afternoon drink were ruined by the bar staff jumping over each other every time United scored (No customers were showing any interest in the TV showing football so it certainly wasn't for our benefit, the people who do care probably went to Sports bar)The decor is garish and the staff were unbelievably rude and arrogant. It strikes me as the sort of place people will go simply because they think they should, and as such they will accept rude, dismissive and belligerent staff, in reality people should vote with their feet and go elsewhere!

NielMay 20th 2008.

Agree with the above comment - Emperor's new clothes methinks - most underwhelming

GordoMay 20th 2008.

Arnie, have you got people on backhanders here ;-) ?

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

Itheca is great i put it on a par with London road restaurant in alderley... Well done guys keep it up

Graham TattersallMay 20th 2008.

The food is lovely. I went there on the Saturday. It's worth the money and the occasion. Well done Ithaca.

GordoMay 20th 2008.

Yum Yum, its still open, new management. As it happens, I have just come out of their, I have decided to do a Strictly Deal with them as Radek Zalsky has the food completely under control and they appear to now understand what they are; A really good Nobu- style restaurant. None of those birthday parties upstairs in the bar.

FiMay 20th 2008.

Black or blackened cod; still does not excuse the fact it was very poor. Australia, New Zealand; what's a few thousand kilometres when you're flying produce in from the other side of the world? Vacuum-packed? I take it you work there, why else would you know? Not the sort of information generally imparted to a customer. Have you been been bigging-up Ithaca on the main page rant too? As well as slagging off the management?

DanielMay 20th 2008.

What can I say - was not impressed. Food portions were too small, and the blow was deepened when the bill came. Was too expensive, probably still helping to cover the cost of the tacky decor. So they obviously have no idea of the concept of value for money. We were there on a friday night, so was busy, which I like. But just because it was busy, it doesn't mean there was an atmosphere. Just felt uncomfortable, awkward even - which is a fairly common feeling I get when eating in pretentious reaturants such as this.

love foodMay 20th 2008.

This place was ok, but i think Ikan is better value. its was a little over the top on price really. I might go again BUT i tend to eat in Ikan more.

Simon TurnerMay 20th 2008.

Ithaca and Michael Caines @ Abode more likely to fail than to get a Michelin star. There's not a big enough market for expensive dining out in Manchester. The only reason there is a market in London is all the foreign millionaires living there. In Manchester the millionaires are footballers (who deep down prefer eating at KFC), gangsters (who deep down prefer drinking champagne to fine dining), property developers (who are currently sh***ing it on account of the credit crunch), and the Cheshire set (who venture into town only rarely and who aren't very discerning at the best of times).

Laughing like madMay 20th 2008.

It's a good job Gordo didn't clap eyes on the Katie Price bird, all hell would have been let loose....

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

bizarre that you knew that was who the writer was talking about though aint it?

fehcMay 20th 2008.

****haca that is the name..........

FiMay 20th 2008.

OK, so I've been to Ithaca, with open mind as promised. Food? Good, but not that good. The best being the sushi, not that hard to get wrong; the worst being the vastly over-rated blackened cod which was tasteless and slimy and the 'home-made' vanilla ice cream, so white it was verging on blue. How does that happen then? Memo to chef; brulle does not work well in a Japanese dipping pot. Food aside, the atmosphere is non-existent; I felt like I was sitting in a 70's porn film set and I couldn't quite get a handle on the music. Whale song or Buddah bar?? Dunno. And those bloody chairs! Pure stupidity. Every time I wanted a wee, it was like trying to solve a Rubik's cube just to get out of my seat. The shininess and glitter of the place makes for every surface being covered in finger prints, even the light fittings. No napkins on the table when we were seated, had to reach and grab them from the adjoining table, dirty glasses (twice), somewhat indifferent service and a constant stream of staff coming and going via the main door and wandering through the restaurant, did not add up to a particularly pleasant dinning experience. We were amused however by two oranged-tinted 'ladies' on the next table, blah-blahing and air kissing throughout their meal, which probably typifies the average customer. You can spend the Royal Mint on furniture, fixtures and place settings and employ eye-candy staff but if the food and service do not come up to scratch, what's the point? If this place does get a Michelin star, I'll eat my own hair which I guess will be a touch more enjoyable than the blackened cod. At this level of pricing, you simply cannot afford to overlook the basics - sadly, Ithaca seems more bothered about packing in WAGs and wannabes than providing the top end, high quality dining experience they promised. Finally, what's the thing with serving Japanese food in a restaurant named for a Greek island? Anyone?P.S. Claire; it seems that the flavour of the month award has gone to Robert Owen Brown and his latest venture at the Angel

KevMay 20th 2008.

Appalling service, food was good but in our party we received a raw poussin!Waiting staff dismissive and the head waiter was arrogant and as if to prove our complaint about the poor service, took to arguing with us quite openly!Food delivery was a shambles with people having to eat starters and mains at the same time, didn't have the wine or cocktails we wanted either.Overrated, overpriced tasteless blingtastic nonsense.

FiMay 20th 2008.

Anonymous, who the hell do you think you are? People have a right to comment instead of just being swept away in the tidal wave of fawning every time a new restaurant opens in Manchester - last month I seem to remember it was Abode. I have yet to visit Ithaca and when I do, I will do so with an open mind. I am however fed up with the obsession of certain restaurants and chefs in this city in their quest for an all-elusive 'star'. Good food, good service is what a restuarant is about, not how many millions have been spent on the decor. Quite frankly you could serve some people horse **** on toast, call it Japanese FukiWooki beef and they would still pay £100 for it. BTW Anonymous the Wagyu beef served here is from New Zealand I believe, so you're payin £52 for a 4oz piece of frozen meat.

AnonymousMay 20th 2008.

excuse me that *woman* who u claim is trying to be katie price happens to be one of my good friends she is NOT a jordan wannabe she looks and has always looked that way if anything jordan looks like her. . . i was with her that night and the dress was versace PINK and NOT spray on

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