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Katsouris Reviewed

Jonathan Schofield gets as full as a bucket

Written by . Published on August 28th 2014.


Katsouris Reviewed
 

I JOINED the queue for the counter about a mile out, close to Salford Crescent and finally dined at dawn the following day. Katsouris, I concluded, is a very, very popular lunchtime destination. Perhaps the most popular in this area of the city centre for that combination of take-aways and stop-ins.

Customers at Katsouris can sidestep all the health food and diet fadism and stuff their faces with great gobfuls of hot meat sandwiches and piles of cream addled cakes.

There are three reasons why. 

Starting to get busy, early doors

 

Starting to get busy, early doors

First off it offers something a little different, with far more meat. Instead of the usual array of soup/ sandwiches/ wraps/ fruit salads and yoghurts in Pret or Philpotts (even moreso in newcomer Wahu), customers at Katsouris sidestep all the health food and diet fadism and stuff their faces with great gobfuls of hot meat sandwiches and piles of cream addled cakes.

There are crazy paellas too (which aren't really paellas but have a passing resemblance to the famous Spanish dish) plus lots of lush desserts incuding baklava revealing the Greek origins of Katsouris (a company, incidentially which began on Bury Market several decades ago). 

Then are a more straightforward pair of reasons to the popularity. The prices are low and the portions are huge.  

Katsouris

 

Katsouris

I went for the paella (that isn't a paella) with onions some 'hot sauce' and a massive sliced French garlic sausage (£4.50) the old Benny Hill programme would have loved. There are several other varieties of sausage available from the deli counter for taking with your paella.

My-oh-my this was one hell of a plate of food. I couldn't finish it. Didn't get near finishing it. It was a belly bothering full-on gut groaner. Turned out I was a wimp, nearby people were sighing, patting their bellies and then wiping their mouths after completing the challenge.

The sausage was decent, the onions added more ballast, the rice was great but could have come from an Uncle Ben's sachet. The sauce was a strange goo which did a fine job of adding fire. 

Do another four or five people want to help me with this?

 

Do another four or five people want to help me with this?

I've been told this 'paella' is a superb hangover cure, carbohydrates and fatty things are always popular in that capacity and are invariably more diverting than alka seltzer, so, yeah, I'm prepared to believe that. But I'd say stick with the hot pork or lamb sandwich for the same price and size - you get better flavours. 

A rumbaba dessert, a vast pastry, suffused with alcohol, and smothered in cream topped by a cherry for about £2, was another unfinishable product. This was as big as a softball and for those with the sweetest of sweet tooths.

Katsouris seems to be saying with all the food, forget the finesse, observe the scale, feel the width. 

Do another five or six people want to help me with this?

 

Do another five or six people want to help me with this?

On the way to the vast queue I'd met a friend who'd said, "I come here for the bread which they get from the Barbakan bakery in Chorlton. I can't eat anything like Warburtons."

It was a wonderfully bourgeois moment but I understood her completely and it underlines the deli nature of Katsouris, with the range of cold meats, cheeses, canned products, cakes and so on. 

A proper deli too

 

A proper deli too

By the way the handsome sandstone building that hosts Katsouris dates from 1876, although some of its fancy gables were blown off during WWII bombing. What makes it sort of distinctive is the cute statue of Queen Vic on the exterior.

She apparently loved a Katsouris beef sizzler (half £3, full £6).

"Prince Albert was always very kind and used to bring me a full beef sizzler at 1pm prompt every afternoon," she would remark. 

Something like that. 

As for service forget about smiles from the staff at busy lunch times. If you've ever been in a deli in New York with the staff snarling and shouting, this place matches that. The man who served me - and looked like the manager or supervisor - had either just received some very bad news or eaten a whole nest of wasps. 

"Sparkling water, cabinet on your left, get it yourself. Who's next?"

It made me laugh.

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

ALL OUR SCORED FOOD REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL AND PAID FOR BY MANCHESTER CONFIDENTIAL. REVIEW VISITS ARE UNANNOUNCED AND COMPLETELY INDEPENDENT OF ANY COMMERICAL RELATIONSHIP.

Katsouris, John Dalton Street/Deansgate junction, City centre.

Rating: 12/20 
Food: 6/10 (paella 6, rumbaba 6 - marks awarded for scale and value) 
Service: 2/5 
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, 18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20, we get carried away

 

Can you spot Victoria?Can you spot Victoria?


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

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

'As for service forget about smiles from the staff at busy lunch times.'? I've been when it's quieter and they're still a miserable bunch. There should be happiness questions that you need to answer before moving to this country.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
CasAugust 28th 2014.

Ask "happiness questions" before you move to the country??? Very P.C. You're in a deli, not some ten-a-penny, carbon copy Living Ventures restaurant where people are groomed to smarm their way into your pockets before you've even sat down... This place is great and I'm surprised that it's taken this long for it to be reviewed, (unless I'm mistaken it's not been in ManCon before??). Maybe they should ask "ironic tolerance" questions of some of the clientele before you enter....!!

Prince_HarmingAugust 28th 2014.

I'm sorry, are you saying that all the staff in Katsouris are miserable immigrants? Yeah, you totally sound like the voice of tolerance. I hope never to be stood next to you in a queue.

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

Could they be British now though? Regardeless, they are still a bunch of moody people.

GimboidAugust 28th 2014.

I love Katsouris but yeah, the service is surprisingly grumpy for a city centre venue. I could describe individual staff who never fail to give the impression you've ruined their day, but I won't be so rude. There are a couple of ladies who are always smiley enough though.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

YAY!!! Gimboid and I agree on something :) "You want smiles?...you go to Hotel Bastardos around corner!"

Annette RimmerAugust 28th 2014.

great veggie breakfast for £3.50 and amazing music from all over the world.

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

Who goes to Katsouris for the service? You're paying very little for a huge amount of delicious food.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

'Who goes to Katsouris for the service?' Errrr...this is ManCon! Service is a big deal in their reviews.

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

I have to agree with comments about grumpy service. I have found this in Manchester and it's the same in the Bury branch of Katsouris. It must be a pre requisite to work for them. We avoid going in because of this regardless of the food.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

Careful! Cas [above] will acuse you of being non-PC!

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

Agree on the service front. Last time I went in there, I was screamed at across the room and then chased for not paying. I had paid. The woman didn't even apologise. Not been back in since.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

The food's ok, but do you think there's a language or cultural barrier with some of the staff? Either way it needs sorting before I go there again.

PaulAugust 28th 2014.

Have to say, I've never had a problem with the service, but it might just be I'm a miserable sod too. It's the food that I'm paying for and I love the food from Katsouris.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

Me too! Good quality/choice of food, I dont want/expect a megawatt smile when I am hungry, just give me my food!!

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

@Anon Clearly you're easily pleased.

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

Why are you reviewing a place that has been around for years and people know/love? It is what it is and regardless of the bad service the place is constantly busy so it cant be that bad!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Obollox The GaulAugust 28th 2014.

Not everybody knows everywhere. Especially newcomers and visitors.

GimboidAugust 28th 2014.

I've been going for years and personally it was useful to read that it's not just me who finds the staff attitude a bit off.

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

The grumpy staff I have been served by were English, no "language or cultural barrier" there as suggested by earlier.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 1st 2014.

It must must be just the culture of the workforce from the top down.

Hero
The AffsAugust 28th 2014.

I love the super grumpy Frenchman in there, he's awesome. Brilliant place Katsouris. Top quality for a double decker bacon and egg full ciabatta breakfast too.

Samantha MoranAugust 28th 2014.

Please get one in the Northern Quarter!! We need something around this way that's good value for money.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

...and not selling burgers ;)

Ghostly TomAugust 28th 2014.

....dirty burgers are over...so 2012...

Trish KarneyAugust 29th 2014.

Because that walk from the NQ to John Dalton Street is like *way* too much? I enjoy the fact it's without NQ pretention and posiness.

Obollox The GaulAugust 29th 2014.

NQ to John Dalton Street is about 15-20 minute walk... way too much if you're on lunch.

AnonymousAugust 29th 2014.

The junction of John Dalton Street and Deansgate is very busy with traffic. I don't why anyone would endure the petrol and diesel fumes to sit outside.

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

The Angry Chinese man is the prime example

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

Haha. I was going to mention him too. The women are friendly though

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

I dated one of the women, but she turned out to be angry.

GimboidAugust 28th 2014.

I wasn't going to say so, but that guy is particularly who I had in mind.

AnonymousAugust 29th 2014.

Well you've said it now Gimboid. It's good talk sometimes.

AnonymousSeptember 4th 2014.

Yea, the angry little chinese guy is doing the company no favours at all. I wholeheartedly avoid that place purely down to never wanting to ever see his face again.

Aaron CornishAugust 28th 2014.

The chicken Ciabattas are awesome. The 'paella' is very very bland in my opinion.

Hero
ashimotoAugust 28th 2014.

Great place but not a patch on Bury however if you buy a full ciabatta and ask for a second plate, for your friend/partner they charge you for 2 half ciabattas which works out about 1 pound more so when we go we eat off the same plate or the serviette .

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

Are they friendlier in Bury?

Maria SaleAugust 29th 2014.

I love the Bury shop: absolutely lovely hot sandwiches and wonderful coffee. And I don't see any problem with staff attitudes.

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

This place is clearly popular so why don't we get more similar places in the area instead of over priced burger joints?.The restaurant business seems to be ignoring what people actually want.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

I agree. Less burgers with friendly Mancunian staff.

Obollox The GaulAugust 28th 2014.

It is curious that there doesn't seem to be anyone trying to compete with them directly. Maybe they've got a really good deal on their rent that makes it more viable to keep their prices low?

AnonymousAugust 28th 2014.

See things haven't changed. Good food but stopped going years ago after getting rude service

Jonathan Schofield - editorAugust 29th 2014.

I'm going to go in again and tell them I wrote this and see how angry they get

1 Response: Reply To This...
Obollox The GaulAugust 29th 2014.

They'll force you to eat a bumper plate of paella with sausage AND chicken, 'Se7en' style.

Larry SagarAugust 29th 2014.

NQ to John Dalton St 15 to 20 minutes,are you going via Ardwick Green?

1 Response: Reply To This...
Obollox The GaulAugust 29th 2014.

No, that's how long it takes Larry. Longer depending on which side of the NQ you're coming from.

MarkkennedyAugust 29th 2014.

The guy who owns the market one and this one is a miserable money mad ....even the market business he sours the food and the staff with his grasping vibes....the olives are bobbins... on the market theres a new delhi...ex employees..italian buryites..top happy people.....you can taste the difference. .

AnonymousAugust 30th 2014.

Good place and know their BURY outlet....NOT a fan of the self service but is what it is...

Larry SagarAugust 31st 2014.

I will walk from thomas st to jd st next wed and see ow long it takes me.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Obollox The GaulAugust 31st 2014.

You do that mate. I'll be on the edge of my seat waiting to find out if your pedantry was justified or not.

AnonymousAugust 31st 2014.

Loads of people can't stomach Chorleywood bread tbh...nothing bourgeois about it.

TrevorSeptember 1st 2014.

The Soup Nazi from Seinfeld is exactly the staff at Katsouris: www.youtube.com/watch…

Peter CoppingSeptember 1st 2014.

Luckily this TA type rant won't affect the custom.

AnonymousSeptember 2nd 2014.

Aside from a certain gentleman who's already been identified, most of the staff are OK. Always stop by on my walk from Victoria to Spinningfields for my lunch. Great value for money. BUT, be wary of anything with chicken it (esp the butties), often tainted with a fishy flavour, which isn't that they've used the same knife as for the tuna salad, it's because they're using REALLY cheap chicken which is fed on fishmeal to keep costs down.

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