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Ostara is dead, here come the panpipes

Lee Janda explains the problem and potential of Chorlton-cum-Hardy

Published on January 22nd 2010.


Ostara is dead, here come the panpipes

Ostara is dead. That lovely menu of cracking raw materials and quality British cooking is deceased.

“Chorlton people just won't pay for good food in restaurants. They will pay a certain amount and no more and that's not more than £15 for a top quality steak even if it is organic.”

This is depressing. We put the restaurant into our list of the top restaurants in Manchester earlier this month, the only one in Chorlton. Now it's gone.

The boss, Lee Janda, told us: “It was a big place but we didn't get the business despite some great reviews and customer feedback. It was frustrating. We just weren't getting the people in early week. It seems that lots of Chorlton people just won't pay for good food in restaurants. They will pay a certain amount and no more and that doesn't include above £15 for a top quality steak even if it is organic and of guaranteed quality.”

Confidential applauds the heady six months Janda and his team gave us, especially the cheery head waiter and the efficient head waitress. To get fresh oysters in a restaurant in a suburb that is generous in its provision of great food shops but less so for great food restaurants was a treat. And the savoury puddings should have been nationally famous.

But we disagree that Chorlton is quite so full of parsimonious miseries who know the price of everything and the value of nothing as Janda suggests. We think that Ostara's demise was down to more obvious problems such as being in the wrong place. It was opposite the arse-end of the jaded Chorlton Precinct, next to the busiest bus stop on one of the busiest bus routes in the city. Nor did the hard masculine – almost cold - décor in the restaurant help. It was thus never quite as comfortable as maybe this very feminine, cupcake loving suburb desired.

In fact we were so intrigued by Janda's words that we did a vast straw poll of a huge cross-section of the suburb. Well, we asked six of them. The results were split evenly. One person, Paul Angel, said when we compared Chorlton with West Didsbury and the latter's honour-call of The Lime Tree, Greens, Rhubarb and so forth: “ah, but that's Didsbury, isn't it? Used to spending there aren't they - built up a tradition almost? Different people. Different priorities.”

The other side could be summed up by this argument. If Ostara had been on Beech Road, say on the Marmalade site, it might have worked. The Horse and Jockey on the Green is going in the right direction: people in Chorlton will definitely pay the prices that Ostara had but not where it was and with its design.

Yet although Ostara might be dead Janda is not finished with the site.

He already owns Dulcimer, the excellent folk music inflected bar round the corner. He wants the Ostara site to emulate Dulcimer's success. Thus Chorlton will in February receive Charango, a South American themed bar and restaurant.

In Janda's words this will bring 'food served in a less formal tapas style with a higher percentage of thrifty vegetarian dishes alongside traditional peasant style meat and fish dishes from South America. Everything will be homemade and cooked by us with the best ingredients and nothing frozen or microwaved.'

Dishes will include broad bean, garden mint and feta quesadilla; chipotle free range chicken and chorizo quesadilla; grilled sardines marinated in ancho chilli and garlic; cochinita pibil outdoor reared pork stew served with pickled pink red onions.

Charango will trade from noon to midnight, 1pm at weekends. There'll be, in Janda's words again: 'famous DJs on Fridays and Saturdays playing music from Brazil, Cuba, Mexico and Bolivia, as well as occasional bands from South American playing live in the bar area.'A curious proposition then. At Confidential we wish Lee Janda and Charango well. Yet we will also miss the short-lived excellence of Ostara.

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

SuperMickJanuary 22nd 2010.

hang on. Where were all those Chorltonians that so fiercely support local businesses and local produce? You know, the ones that were up in arms about the new Tesco because of the damage it would do to (the over rated) Barbican (still trading)?By their reckoning, the only type of business we wanted was exactly what Ostara was offering. Good value, local, organic.Where were they all? Probably at home smoking some non-local weed.

NorthernGeezerJanuary 22nd 2010.

Why oh why do restaurant owners think opening up under another name and providing a different cuisine works??..........................confuscius he say " yer cant polish a turd".

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

I was always bemused by Ostara. I think Lee has a point about people not wanting to go above a certain price threshold (certainly not when you've got the likes of Pi, Croma, Yakisoba etc for those midweek 'don't feel like cooking' quick meals out), but for someone who's created the very cosy and welcoming Dulcimer to bring us the downright austere looking Ostara always seemed strange. I live about 200 yards from Ostara, but never tried it which I think speaks volumes about why it failed...it just seemed to fail to make a connection with it's surroundings and local clientele. Looking forward to Charango opening - hope it's a success.

julianJanuary 22nd 2010.

The trouble is/was, Ostara always looks shut and offputting. Why would you pay a premium price to go somewhere that was not welcoming? Perhaps if they had made more effort at enticing people for that first meal, then they would have succeeded. The sign barely told that a restaurant was there.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Slagging off the locals when you're about to open a new restaurant in the same location as your previous (failed) attempt..... Smart! Maybe it's this kind of total lack of common sense that led to Ostaria's demise!

CommentsfromafarJanuary 22nd 2010.

The times I went there I always enjoyed myself. That said first and foremost Chorlton is a destination to have a drink and socialise with your mates. If you want to go for a good meal you generally go elsewhere in the city. Janda's decision to go for something more casual and a bit less formal is spot on. From a business point of view, if something is not working, it is better to spend money on changing things than spending it on a business that is not giving a good return. I will look forward to visiting.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

I loved Ostard but I must make a quick couple of marketing points.1) Too many different menu's available at different times or even at same time. e.g Set Menu, Main menu, Lunch menu, Voucher Menu, Brunch menu. Too confusing!2) No one menu clearly on diasplay from the road out the front as if to say "This is who we are and we're proud if it"3) The week they opened they covered the name by putting up the canopy out the front. Despite the banner Ostara became the nameless restaurant. Still not sure of the name in the first place.4) The branding just wasn't strong enough. Ostara didn't quite know what it was.The food will be missed though!

Uhhuh.January 22nd 2010.

The reason that Ostara failed is beacause it was utterly lacking in warmth and charm.A grey soulless box there was not anything about it that hinted you could have a relaxed or enjoyble meal there.Odd that the owner also has Dulcimer which is quite the opposite...Nothing to do with the prices I don't think...it just looked awful..

EditorialJanuary 22nd 2010.

sz837r this was an important closure because it was so sudden after opening and because we thought the food was very good. If any of the other restaurants in our list of top Manchester restaurants closes we'll let you know, and if we can find out we'll let you know the reason why - wherever thet are.

PJJanuary 22nd 2010.

Sorry to confirm to the owners but Ostara failed because it had no atmosphere, looked visually unattractive from the outside (what would attract you in), had poor service ( long unexplained wait), and that just doesn't equate to top of the local market pricing. Its never just about the food guys.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Sorry, what is bullshit here? The restaurant has closed, end of. If it was so 'excellent', why has it closed? There has to be a reason(s) and it's not all down to Chorlton residents

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

So it appears that many things were not right here; the location, the decor, the atmosphere, the service, the marketing, the confusing menus and sometimes the food. Looks like it was a disaster waiting to happen and the fact that it managed to survive less than six months is testimony to that. Make sure you do your research next time - it's not a walk in the park you know, opening a restaurant, and keeping it open. Too much TV in my opinion, everyone thinks they're a chef or a restaurateur

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Loved this discussion of Chorlton... its a long time since I have eaten there though shop at Unicorn (not in hessian but hi tech mountain gear. But I am tempted now to try a eating tour.

IsabellaJanuary 22nd 2010.

Thing is, everyone thinks they can run a restaurant, the same way everyone believes they are a food critic. Running a bar aint the same as running a restaurant. It sounds like a whole host of things conspired to make this venture fail, looks like there was not enough thought put into the planning. The same could be said of a well-known 'bling' city centre restaurant. Spent 4.5m on every thing that glitters but forgot to plan for a dish washing area. Ho hum, stick to the day job guys

NorthernGeezerJanuary 22nd 2010.

I refer the house to my previous statement on this subject..........yer cant polish a turd, however hard you try. People will ALWAYS see the new venture as Ostara mark 2, especially if the owners the same. However, i wish you well in your new venture, and lets hope we aint discussing the same subject in 6 months time.

FullofbeansJanuary 22nd 2010.

Gutted, despite all the venom in these comments it was a great restaurant and I'm really gonna miss it. Best of luck with Charango Lee I hope its as exciting as it looks from driving past, like the bright new colours.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Where has the Ostara chef gone? If I was the Horse & Jockey management I'd sign him up ASAP. The Jockey is trying to do the same concept as Ostara but Ostara's food was infinitly better quality and value.

HmmJanuary 22nd 2010.

hmmm... if you search ostara's reviews then many are less than favourable. I ate there when it opened a couple of times and was very happy with my meal but this place went pretty rapidly downhill. Loooong waits for food and the place was freezing!! Hope the new place is a sucess for them though.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Oh dear, this guy has not done himself any favours has he? He wants to re-open in the same spot after having allienated half of the local community

brookieJanuary 22nd 2010.

Ate there on a saturday night - food excellent (mouth watery belly pork!), great value, atmosphere was buzzing. But said at the time said 'no way would I want to eat here if it was quiet'. Soulless, cold, unwelcoming. Point about not displaying menu outside is spot on. I have befuddled memories of a south american restaurant in Chorlton where Bar is now. Anyone remember it? What goes around comes around.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

I am sad Ostara is no more in terms of food - it was really delicious and what Chorlton needs i think. But i agree with the rest of the comments - the decor put me off completely - not the prices. Uncomfortable eating to say the least. also. no marketing - I recently heard Ostara did breakfast - and would have been a regular customer had I known before as Chorlton is lacking in good breakfast hang-outs. For what it's worth - I shudder at 'themed restaurants'. Don't like the sound of the new idea at all. Just need to soften the space and carry on with the good quality cooking I reckon.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Went once, the food took ages to arrive and the beef was very tough and dry. As if it had been sat under a heat-lamp for ages or was just old. Very poor.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Northern stealth - since you know so much and your Lee's mate why didnt you tell him what was wrong?

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Has anyone noticed that there's a recession on?

Scottie dogJanuary 22nd 2010.

It was good but not good enough. The service was slow and the food though good was over priced. People will pay those prices but you have to consistently deliver more to justify the extra money. The location was wrong, and as others have mentioned the interior was cold and uninviting. To put it simply it was better to go to Croma (surely Chorlton's best restaurant - it's always busy) for a better atmosphere and service and more importantly half the price (especially in these times of recession.)

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

The food was good and the staff friendly but the ambience was non existent. I live in Chorlton and I thought the meal was overpriced for the whole experience. The tables were too close together and the room felt cold and plain. I am looking forward to the next place though. Just dim the lights and get some colour on the walls.

williamJanuary 22nd 2010.

Off topic, but seeing as it's been mentioned a couple of times, i'll ask. There have been rumours around (since the opening of Oddest) that Simon Rimmer is mulling over a possible new restaurant in the Marmalade location. Can anyone confirm this?

chorltonuniteJanuary 22nd 2010.

“Chorlton people just won't pay for good food in restaurants. They will pay a certain amount and no more and that's not more than £15 for a top quality steak even if it is organic.”for this comment alomne i will do everything in my power (not much) to stop people going to anywhere runn by this ****er.... ALTHOUGh - dulcimer is alright

BobJanuary 22nd 2010.

In my humble Chorltonian opinion the problem with Ostara was the slowness of the service....I don't mind paying for good food, I do object to waiting so long I forgot what I ordered in the first place....

carabuJanuary 22nd 2010.

I avoided this place because of very bad worth of mouth. Could it be that Ostara failed because it was a bad restaurant or at the very least inconsistent. If it was so very amazing, it would have surely survived alot longer - however ignorant you seem to think Chorltonites are.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Yes, I have read your comments, thank you, and yes, I have been there. I know there is a recession ongoing - I own a restaurant myself - but this place opened up slap-bang in the middle of it - when you need to be twice as savvy as normal. I wish Lee well in his new venture but it's no good just changing the name and lowering the prices - people will remember what was there before and expect more

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Yep, this is bullshit. I don't know Lee, but I went to Ostara a couple of times and each time it was really good going on excellent. As for the person above talking about a 'disaster waiting to happen' - you're an idiot. A total prick.

sofagoatJanuary 22nd 2010.

Went to Ostara a few times and had a lovely time, great food, friendly service, bit minimal on the decor but so what, sorry to hear its closing and hope the new place works out. Don't understand all these pathetic whining twats, get a life ! bet they never ate in the restaurant anyway, 'Chorlton Resident' - You ever tried reading the offer flyer you had in you're hand first ?

sz837rJanuary 22nd 2010.

Looking forward to post-mortem reports on other recently closed Manchester restaurants or was this report return purely because of its location ?

MarvinJanuary 22nd 2010.

I thought the food in Ostara was fantastic, so good I returned three times and recommended it to countless friends. And that was despite the fact that the interior felt cold, the temperature was cold and the noise of chairs scraping on the floor was horrid. It was simply the decor.

PJJanuary 22nd 2010.

I for one am gutted. The people of Chorlton complain about Tesco's being opened up and taking away from the "keep it local" mentality, but they prefer to sit in their houses all during the week, eating lentils rather that supporting a restuarant that had all the right intentions. We needed a good British food restuarant in Chorlton, with a bit more support and customer interaction, it could have been brilliant.

peteoJanuary 22nd 2010.

location, location, location........

Chorlton BoyoJanuary 22nd 2010.

Anyone who thinks Croma is Chorlton's best restaurant is a turd nugget. Leo's, Yakisoba and Asian Fusion are far better than Croma and their cardboard pizzas.

NoMoreInsideJobsJanuary 22nd 2010.

These Chorltonites are a chippy lot aren't they ?

John FJanuary 22nd 2010.

Personally i'm gutted to see it go, the quality of food for the price was, imho, an absolute steal, breakfasts especially were legendary and you could eat it without being surrounded by scores of toddlers a la lead station. That said it would have been served better had it been located on the old Marmalade site, hopefully this new venture will be a runaway success and allow the Ostara concept to return there at some point in the future, I for one miss the scallop and bacon stater already!!!

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

How very short-sighted it was for the owner to be so short-sighted in his judgment and criticism of the Chorlton community. A bad workman blames his tools - a poor judge of the community he sets up in clearly blames anyone else but himself. Maybe better packaging, situation and a bit of attention to the current economic climate rather than such a snobbish get-out clause is what he needs in realising success within the food industry. There are plenty of other successful restaurants and eateries in Chorlton - who haven't gone under. In years.Offended, Chorlton.

M30January 22nd 2010.

Very high-handed comments from the management - blaming the punters for their failed business venture smacks of sour grapes. As with regard to the location being wrong - it's hardly Blackley or Openshaw is it?

simonJanuary 22nd 2010.

When I went the food was lovely but the wait was appalling (1 hour for pate starters when a restaurant is not at all busy is pretty poor). This type of service was experienced by everyone I knew who went and that's why it quickly ran out of repeat business.

snJanuary 22nd 2010.

@ David Fox, if you are the Tampopo Mr Fox, offtopic, but how is your Fulham branch doing? good luck w everything! i never tire of telling southern mates about how Tampopo is a more diverse, superior Manc version of Wagamama, essentially ;-)

duncsterJanuary 22nd 2010.

I went to Ostara once on a quiet Monday night, five tables in max. I ordered a starter which arrived in good time. However, the main courses came 40 minutes later by which time my girlfriend was dribbling with starvation.....I would love to pay fifteen pounds for a top quality steak if I knew it would arrive in good time.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Yes, I have read your comments, thank you, and yes, I have been there. I know there is a recession ongoing - I own a restaurant myself - but this place opened up slap-bang in the middle of it - when you need to be twice as savvy as normal. I wish Lee well in his new venture but it's no good just changing the name and lowering the prices - people will remember what was there before and expect more

Northern StealthJanuary 22nd 2010.

RIGHT ! this is bulls**t, I'm a close friend of Lee's and greatly admire his commitment to what he does,firstly he's not slagging Chorlton off and being a resident of Chorlton himself why would he ? The points he makes about the prices people are prepared to pay for food are right, why do you think The Atlantic Fish Shop, Chunky Chicken, Abrakebabra have all opened up ? Has anyone not walked around Chorlton looking at all the signs for 2 meals for a £7 etc etc posted up outside the pubs ? Croma's most expensive Pizza is under 8 quid ! For a working class lad to single handedly come this far I think you should give him a break !!!! I know how upset he is about Ostara closing and agrees with some of the comments people have made but why DID'NT YOU ALL TELL OSTARA HOW YOU FEEL WHEN IT WAS OPEN ?!?!? maybe they'd have changed a few things ! For someone to recognise a problem, learn from it and have the strength and balls to change and put everything they've got back into their business is the mark of a man !!!!And if you're reading Lee don't let the negatives get to you there's plenty of support out there and CHARANGO is gonna be excellent.....we all love ya x

Chorlton residentJanuary 22nd 2010.

What Ostara was trying to be is exactly what Chorlton needs and exactly the kind of place we'd love to eat - and pay for. So when it came to organising for a group of friends to eat out in Chorlton I thought it would be great to take them all to Ostara - support a new, local, independent restaurant and at the same time introduce a load of other people to it. The other attraction was the promotion they were advertising. Came to book a table, however, and things start to go pear-shaped. As soon as they realised we wanted to use the promotion they were advertising they were really off and put up every barrier possible to enabling us to use it. They made it so difficult that, in the end, I lost patience and told them we'd take our business elsewhere. Needless to say I shared my awful experience with all our friends who then no doubt didn't bother giving it a try. Don't blame the customers/potential customers if you can't run a business. Look a little closer to home. Can't say I'll be falling over myself to try this guy's new venture. Talk about how to win friends and influence people!

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Yes the point about no visible menu is a good one, people aren't likely to walk inside a restaurant to find out what kind of food it serves (especially one as unwelcoming-looking as Ostara) - word of mouth is fine but passing trade is useful to0!

Uhhuh.January 22nd 2010.

PS The South American idea is just never going to work.Sorry.

CasJanuary 22nd 2010.

M30, you're alive! Anyway, don't blame the customers that's just spiteful. I think South American food is in short supply in the area and I love it, so get going on that.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Living in Chorlton the cahnces of me trying Mr Janda's new place will be about zero after being branded a cheepskate just because he didnt provide a restaurant that apeals to people.

KATIELOUJanuary 22nd 2010.

I went to Ostrara once. For the record it was not the prices that put me off going again but the atmosphere (big, cold, souless), the slow service and the small portions. Totally disagree with owners comments re: price - I reckon there are plenty of people in chorlton who will spend good money to eat decent food. But I do agree with the early weekday comment- I bet pretty much all manchester restaurants struggle to make much money early week and think thats one of the reasons the quality of the restaurant scene here is inferior to London.

GordoJanuary 22nd 2010.

Hit that one on the head, poor position and really uncomfortable interior. Everything else stupendous. the day I went with you Jonathan (i rememeber that savoury pudding, chicken it was, the suet pastry was lush) if we hadn't have been able to sit outside on a warm day it would have been nowhere near as good an experience. The Lime Tree is in a lovely spot, trees, lovely houses and a bit like yer mum, blousy, cosy, softly lit and welcoming as a building and interior. You can take anyone there from your irritating nephew to your grandad, they will all feel at home. So, it gets its visitors from near and far and doesn't have to rely on local residents only. And, lets be honest, they are a bit of a dungaree demographic aren't they? That includes you Jonno as well!

ChorltongaryJanuary 22nd 2010.

I eat out at ostara on a number of occaisions and the food was always excellent (and I didnt think it was particularly expensive). The trouble was the place was an atmosphere vacuum. It was cold and drab and the seating was uncomfortable and that is most probably why it failed.

DescartesJanuary 22nd 2010.

Hm, Confucious didn't say that.

tofuloverJanuary 22nd 2010.

i didnt eat there becuase the three times i tried they had no vegan options

Northern StealthJanuary 22nd 2010.

Not sure you've actually READ my comments ? I did'nt say it was all down to Chorlton residents. And as to why its closed, the recession could be a factor with people having less disposable income ? wait for the change then decide for yourself, but actually go there don't just rant on with no real solid opinion.

LwoozeJanuary 22nd 2010.

Really disappointed Ostara has shut, was looking forward to trying it. Looking forward to trying the new place too. . . . but that’s probably the problem in a nutshell – I live within spitting distance of Ostara but still haven’t got around to trying it despite it being there a number of months. . . personally, I will eat in chorlton but look for a more cozy food experience, like Pi, Electrik, the Bar. . . .if we want to eat more ‘restauranty’ food in a more formal atmosphere we go into town, not least because that’s where your diners club, city scene, mancon etc offers are! On a separate note, each time I walked past Ostara I did wonder if it was abit too large to last in chorlton . . . anyone any thoughts on that?

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Ostara didn't work because of the way it looked, cold and uninviting. I'm a foodie and was looking forward to having a bistro/upmarket restaurant in Chorlton but never went to Ostara b/c of how it looked. The bus stop didn't help but wouldn't really have put me off. The prices were ok for the kind of place it was aiming to be. Will see how the new place goes, what chorlton needs it somewhere to dance after a few drinks too.....

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

Just want to echo the comments about poor service - I went twice, the food was fantastic when and if what you ordered actually arrived. I'm very happy to pay for quality food, but only if I have a pleasant evening as well.

David FoxJanuary 22nd 2010.

Three observations -1. A food led place (i.e. a restaurant) being opened by people with wet led experience (I love Dulcimer) is a learning curve. Quality of food is only one aspect of the experience. Ambience and price point really matter. 2. You can get really good value meals in town outside a Fri/Sat evening. Local restaurants need to recognise that and price accordingly. I remember Primavera on Beech Road - £10.95 for 2 courses or £12.95 for 3 Monday to Thursday. People to not have loads of dosh to spend. It needs to be priced at a "discretionary spend" to get people eating more frequently. Choose dishes intellegently to reflect the price (i.e. pay extra for steak). Be busier with people spending £15 a head Mon-Thu than a few at £20+ a head. Its a tough market out there!3. Chorlton is not Islington/any other trendy London suburb. With a few exceptions most bar's/restaurant's in Chorlton are lifestyle businesses - lovely if you live there, tough if you own it - little margin for error. Use it or lose it.

NorthernGeezerJanuary 22nd 2010.

Yer right Descartes, he didnt, but he would if he'd come from Chorlton and ate at Ostara.

SteveJanuary 22nd 2010.

"dungaree demographic"....spot on Gordo...went to Chorlton for a stroll with the wife and new nipper last Saturday. Dropped into the Unicorn Grocery for the first time...hessian dressed tree huggers everywhere! Superb fresh veg though..got some lovely fennel and Sicilian lemons. Chorlton is a great place for food shopping.

snJanuary 22nd 2010.

@Uhhuh. idk, don't you think those four dishes listed as examples by ManCon sound quite appealing? they read quite Chorlton ish to me ;-)(and chorizo in a quesadilla works very well.)if they can get a good ceviche ironed out, they could make hay.

Johnny MJanuary 22nd 2010.

We went once and never returned due to total lack of atmosphere and food! 2 course dinner took about 3 hours (they didn't even have to warm the starters). When we got it the food was quite underwhelming. So when we fancy a decent bit of steak we'll go to Leo's down the road, and ....shock horror... quite willingly pay more than £15 for well cooked steak in a charming little italian. I'm a huge fan of Dulcimers and go quite often for a pint or two. As for the location argument, Palmiro is still going isn't it? I'm up for the South American idea, however not if I have to eat dinner in a doctors waiting room as per the previous effort. I look forward to a favourable review from the likes of Gordo.

AnonymousJanuary 22nd 2010.

P.S. Went to the Jockey at new year and the food (bar the superb chips), was still poor. What is the point of a ribeye steak that is about 3mm thick?

RyderJanuary 22nd 2010.

I went here once - food was really good (the Venison scotch egg was the best thing I've eaten out in years - and that includes the Fat Duck), but it took absolutely ages to be served. On the occasion we went, that was OK - but having heard that lots of other people had also had the terribly slow service, I was neither really motivated to go back and - crucially - I didn't recommend it to anyone else.

I think it was really nearly a success. I also think the location was OK - there's actually a lot of successful businesses in that area (Croma is only about 50 metres away), but the restaurant was not quite there.

If the dictionary needs a definition of shooting oneself in the foot though, this chap has given them one.

Nige CookJanuary 22nd 2010.

Ostara is a real loss to Chorlton. The Horse and Jockey comes nowhere near it and Yakisoba is too casual. Big shame.

Hero
Alistair NivenJanuary 22nd 2010.

When I went very early on the food was good but atmosphere was lacking. I'm happy to pay if first the atmosphere is good and second the food is good. I looking for a good all round experience - Price of food always comes into focus if the atmosphere is flat. If the place is fun and I've really enjoyed my visit the price loses its importance. I don't think it was fun and it certainly didn't look fun from the outside, so inevitably it failed. Chorlton people like everyone else want a good time!

NortherngeezerJanuary 22nd 2010.

Nige, you cant really be comparing the horse and jockey, a pub thats been around for decades, to a restaurant that opened 6 months ago, its not fair on either establishment. At least the jockeys trying to cater for its clientele where, based on the above rants, Ostara didnt give a toss.

OSTARAJanuary 23rd 2010.

I'd like to clear up a few things on here, firstly it was never said that 'People of Chorlton would not pay for good good, nor was it ever said that they will pay £15 and no more' What was actually said is 'We're in a recession and people 'IN BRITAIN' don't have as much disposable income and are eating out less. We agree and take comments and points made about the atmosphere and at times the service being slow. The last six month have been extremely hard for us just like alot of other restaurants across the country, so I have decided to close OSTARA and make alot of changes based on the current climate and listening to peoples comments. Being a resident of Chorlton and also having a well know bar in the town why would I attack potential customers within the area ? I hope people don't just listen to one persons opinion on this subject. I'm sorry OSTARA did'nt work out and I'm sorry some people seem to be so offended by the place but what we tried to achieve, which was providing good well cooked regional British food just did'nt work with such a big establishment to fill every night. CHARANGO is and will be very different from Ostara but our passion is still the same and we will still aim to provide the best we can for you all, the Opening night for CHARANGO is Friday 29th Jan, all are welcome and we hope you like the new look.

why?January 24th 2010.

Why is it Man Con's issue? I cant see schofield miss quoting someone to be honest!

CasJanuary 24th 2010.

Given the comments by Northern Stealth, a 'close friend' of the owners which seem to back up the owners points, I find it a bit hard to believe the comments were not that way in the first place.

Also I would assume that seeing as the guy did an interview with Schofield that he then read the article, strange therefore that he didn't mention he was misquoted earlier.

Seems to me like he saw the backlash and decided to make the above statement of denial. Either way I hope the new place does well but it may be wise to not take pops at the spending power of your customers, whether that's narrowed to Chorlton or not. All restaurants, in all areas, are subject to the current climate. That some make it and some don't is down to nothing other than that particular restaurant and how it was run.

L RhodesJanuary 30th 2010.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: This rant was removed. Personal attacks on individuals are not allowed.

AnonymousFebruary 5th 2010.

1. Chorlton needs more upmarket restaurants, otherwise it will continue to lose to the other suburbs. (Although Mr Fox - can't we have a Tampopo?!) We need another Marmalade / Ostara. Perhaps a destination restaurant to bring others into this suburb where they could also enjoy the fantastic bars.
2. This is the worst recession since war-time. The failure of a single restaurant, in six months, during this period - is neither surprising, nor the fault of local residents.
3. "Chorltonites" are not all hippies. There are some - granted. But there is also a high proportion of young professionals. They may not be as openly flashy / pretentious as some other suburbs. But it is the people that makes Chorlton one of the more enjoyable, friendlier places to live.

AnonymousFebruary 10th 2010.

Looking forward to sampling the new place. I've lived in Chorlton for two years and love it, wouldn’t be without ‘Out of the Blue’ and a few other shops, while the bars make for a good night out. However, we do not have enough decent restaurants and I often find myself in Didsbury or the city centre. Regarding Ostara, it seems to be a mix of location, poor timing and miss-judging the clientele.
I ate there twice and had a mixed experience on both occasions. Food was average to good, however service was slow/ orders missed, etc. On the second occasion a woman in her mid-50s urinated on the pavement outside at about 8.45pm. Granted, this doesn’t happen often (at least i hope not), but needless to say I didn't fancy dessert.

NortherngeezerFebruary 10th 2010.

She'll have been an interloper from Stretford Anon, hehehe.

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