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Food and Drink Round-up 14/01/2010

Chip fight, beer festival, two new Italians, Chocolate caff closes

Published on January 13th 2010.


Food and Drink Round-up 14/01/2010

Chipping in London
Bury's representing us in the finals of the National Fish and Chip Shop of the Year Competition on 21 January at the Riverbank Park Plaza Hotel, London. Or rather Metro Fish Bar is. This is the twenty second year of the competition and will be presented by TV chef Aldo Zilli. The awards mark those shops producing the best fish and chips, as well as 'raising industry standards in areas including seafood sustainability, customer service, training and innovation'. Confidential is a little confused by seafood sustainability though: how can a chippy promote that, unless it has it's own trawlers?

Sad news from the Lowry
Confidential's favourite hotel manager in Manchester, Jason Harding, is to leave The Lowry to become the General Manager of 'The Palace – The Old Town in Dubai'. Jason will be missed; he is gracious, calm in a crisis, tres amiable and he genuinely likes Manchester. He will duly be replaced by Peter Kienast from the Hotel Schloss Elmau in Germany...which looks a right dump, see pic below. Confidential wishes Jason lots of luck, but we'd like to see photographic proof of the Old Town in Dubai before we believe it actually exists. Or maybe they mean the bit of Dubai that survives from 1990.

Rio being grand
Rio Ferdinand will be fundraising throughout January at his new restaurant, Rosso (click here for our review). His charities are The Genesis Appeal, Manchester Children’s Hospital and Rio ’s Live The Dream Foundation - all Manchester based. £2 from every Bellini cocktail sold will go towards the charities. Sweet. This isn't the first time charity and cocktails have worked together in Manchester, the Forever Manchester cocktail, for Forever Manchester charity, is already sold from Simple on Tib Street and Harvey Nichols on Plush Street. Or something like that.

Manchester: breaking news on culinary breakthrough
Benjamin P Holden has produced a very good egg. Co-Director of web-design agency Cahoona is a regular of The Castle pub on Oldham Street. While snacking there he discovered a fondness for pickled eggs. So in his laboratory at home he took a pickled egg and wrapped it in a duvet of breadcrumbs, Cumberland sausage, Bury black pudding and venison which he then deep fried. By these means he perfected the Scotch Egg and created the Manchester Egg. The punters at the pub loved this pioneering leap forward with its vinegary tang and prime meats. BP Holden then registered the domain name Manchesteregg.com and got busy. There will be twenty eggs selling on Friday nights at £2 per egg in the Castle from this Friday. Bengy PH will be repeating this until he cracks the world market - or gets bored.

Beer, beer and more bloody lovely beer
National Winter Ales Festival is almost upon us running from 20-23 January. There will be more than 200 British and foreign beers, real ales in bottles, ciders and perrys. Confidential loves how the www.alefestival.org.uk writes: 'We lay down the challenge that we will be able to find something which suits your tastes.' Given there's a choice of 200 plus they're probably right, but you might be too pissed to realise it. The celebration starts off with a horse and dray procession in the city centre. The main event will be the award of the Champion Winter Beer of Britain. The only downside is that the event is in the Sheridan Suite which lies a mile up Oldham Road out of the city centre. Nothing wrong with the venue as such but that's an awfully long stagger when you've located the perfect beer and stuck a few down your neck.

Cocoa-no go
The Chocolate Cafe on Deansgate, offshoot of the Chocolate Cafe in Ramsbottom, has closed. Whilst the latter thrives both online and with walk-in customers, the former has failed. Paul Morris the owner of the business admits the location was difficult and small, but thinks it was an experience worth having in sounding out the Manchester market. Then he said something controversial about Manchester and its public. See next paragraph for the controversy.

The coffee/chocolate controversy.
Paul Morris (see story above) of the Chocolate Cafe was testing out Manchester to maybe open a proper teashop in the city in bigger premises - think Betty's in Harrogate or Slattery's in Whitefield. “Talking to other people,” he said, “ we feel that people in Manchester city centre appreciate the big chain groups rather than the independents and would rather go there.” Confidential disagrees: just because the chains are more obvious and better sited than the independents doesn't mean the Manchester public doesn't appreciate independents. Maybe the truth is that independents frequently aren't good enough to compete with chains – or simply can't afford the deals on offer in prime locations. But please, says the Voice of Manchester, all you entrepreneurs out there bring them on.

Light and music with a certain accentIn case you missed our Sleuth postings on Friday last week, here they are again but all chopped down. 'Two restaurants are set to arrive in the city centre. One is on Church Street, in the Light Apartment block, where the Colisseum shopping arcade was, and will be called Bulb. The other is in the old Square Albert pub next to Tampopo in Albert Square and will be called the Bla Bla Jazz Club. They're both going to be, surprise, surprise, Italian. Let's hope they are as 'authentic' as they promise. In Bla Bla the restaurant is on the the ground floor, downstairs will be the Jazz Club. There's a happy echo of the past as well, the venue used to be the Kardomah in the fifties and had live music then, and is round the corner from the site of the Oasis Club, orginally a jazz club, which then became the main beat music venue featuring young bands such as the Hollies. The latter used to have all-night sessions, Bla Bla has applied for a 6am licence. What goes around....'

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

Little DJanuary 13th 2010.

Good boy, Schofield. Next time you'll get 200 lines.

DrakeJanuary 13th 2010.

I was just thinking the same thing about the lack of independent teashops in town whilst I was sitting in Teacup

Jonathan Schofield - editorJanuary 13th 2010.

You buggers. You've got my mouth watering with all this chip talk. I'm off to Lloyd's caff and chippy, on Lloyds Street right in the city centre. Full set of gubbins I'll have, chips, fish and mushy peas.

fish fanJanuary 13th 2010.

Do you mean Metro Fish Bar in Bury that won a regional award last year. If so this is not over the road from the interchange in Bury, I think thats Metro Cafe and its not known for fish and chips. Metro Fish Bar is on Manchester Rd Bury on the Bury/Whitefield border.

Coffee and cakesJanuary 13th 2010.

The problem is the rates. Think Suburb on Deansgate. The only place for these places is the NortherN Quarter. It's a shame.

Little DJanuary 13th 2010.

Tut tut Schofield... 'editor' indeed: "Whilst the latter thrives both online and with walk-in customers, the latter has failed". My oh my, the recession must be dire if we can thrive and still fail! Can i be the new Editor if i promise not to let these slip by? EDITORIAL: No you can't. Thanks though and now corrected.

Fish FanJanuary 13th 2010.

Do you mean Metro Fish Bar in Bury that won a regional award last year. If so this is not over the road from the interchange in Bury, I think thats Metro Cafe and its not known for fish and chips. Metro Fish Bar is on Manchester Rd Bury on the Bury/Whitefield border.

DescartesJanuary 13th 2010.

I had one of those eggs on Saturday. Absolutely blew my mind, what time are they going on sale, cause they went fast last time, I almost missed out and that would've been criminal.

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2010.

The chocolate cafe was a rubbish idea so I am not suprised it has closed - A Betty's or Slattery's would be a completey different proposition and would work in town as long as the location was right. St Anne's Square or where the starbucks used to be at the pedestrianised end of King Street would be an ideal spot.

MrsJouseJanuary 13th 2010.

Phew! Thanks for that. If you're doing the 6pm tour, hello in advance....And quite right on the vinegar not mayo.

HowardJanuary 13th 2010.

Are the Metro's mushy peas repeating on you Fish Fan?

AndyJanuary 13th 2010.

Besides best chippy in Bury is on The Rock, near to the camera shop. Wish I could remember its name.

MrsJouseJanuary 13th 2010.

Jonathan, since you are posting on this rant, can you tell me exactly where the hell we get the real tickets for your ghost walk? I've paid my money and that's the last I've heard about it!

EmmyJanuary 13th 2010.

That chocolate cafe was in a dreadful location- who really wants a view of Deansgate while they drink their coffee? Also, I've been to Teacup twice and both times the tea was dreadful, though that was over a year ago now. Has it improved drastically in the last 12 months?

WhoJanuary 13th 2010.

I have had the privilege of tasting a Manchester Egg - Mr Holden is some sort of egg genius.

AnnieMJanuary 13th 2010.

Fish & chips at the Metro are good, but last time we went it was B freezing in there, and they refused to let me have a glass of tap water (which I think is illegal?), so it wouldn't get my vote!

Jonathan Schofield - editorJanuary 13th 2010.

Mrs Jouse a fine day to you. The Paypal receipt is the ticket, an email will be sent out next week for where to meet in the city centre. And I expect my chips to be fatty and flavoursome and the fish to be lush madam.

EditorialJanuary 13th 2010.

Thank you so much. We've sacked the editor who thought the Cornmarket chippy was the Metro because he'd drunk too much ale at the East Lancs railway buffet bar and couldn't distinguish night from day or chippy from chippy. Changed now folks.

PhilboJanuary 13th 2010.

How about, instead of Italian restaurants, we get in an English restaurant along the lines of Fergus Hendersons St. John Restaurant?

DidsburyGirlJanuary 13th 2010.

I agree, When I went in Chocolate Cafe The service was rude and it was too overpriced for the everyday office staff you get around that area.

Fish FanJanuary 13th 2010.

Do you mean Metro Fish Bar in Bury that won a regional award last year. If so this is not over the road from the interchange in Bury, I think thats Metro Cafe and its not known for fish and chips. Metro Fish Bar is on Manchester Rd Bury on the Bury/Whitefield border.

everyones_a_criticJanuary 13th 2010.

"Prices too high"... "service not good enough". At least the guy gave it a go people. The world needs more people like him... if no-one ever tried anything new we'd all still be living in caves, so give the guy a break and hold your critical tongues or better still... grow a set and do it for yourself . To the owner... i say good luck out there brother...i'm sure you'll come back stronger for the lessons learned. From a fellow independent.

DiscoutureJanuary 13th 2010.

I'd like to vouch for the Manchester Egg. I was there. I tasted. It's a winner. Let the eggy culinary revolution begin, long live the Manchester Egg.

burt CodeineJanuary 13th 2010.

Isn't there an independent coffee/cake shop directly across the street from said Chocolate cafe (Cafe History) that seems to have been around for a good few years? It wasn't the view (it's quite a busy intersection...it's in the middle of a city) as plenty of other venues do very well on Deansgate (albeit the other end and a rack of 'nu-chains' such as Living Room). I went in this Choc Cafe once to 'grab an espresso'. I think there was room for three people in total...as a family, half of us had to stand up, and although the girl serving was polite enough (and, admittedly quite fit) the service was on the cooler end of the scale. Rates and the ridiculous size of the place I guess (Who am I? ***ing Noddy?) didn't help. Suburb seems like a long lost dream now...I'm surprised it made it as far as Deansgate to be honest. We can get great ales in this city, but struggle to find real independent coffee sadly.

Rebecca AlexanderJanuary 13th 2010.

I went to the the Deansgate Choc cafe twice and both the times the staff were apathetic and rude. That's why it probably didn't do well.

AnonymousJanuary 13th 2010.

The Tea might be good in teacup but the breakfasts are pants and expensive, dont go for brunch!

scoteeeJanuary 13th 2010.

The chip shop in the mocha arcade in salford...you may need a kevlar vest and a helmet to hang around more than five muntes but if you have the balls to do that then you will find the chips sacred.

Jonathan Schofield - editorJanuary 13th 2010.

That was more suitable for a Tweet really wasn't it? A simple me, me, me statement which no-one pays any attention to but somehow makes the tweeter feel part of the world. Still chips here I come. With vinegar not bloody mayonnaise.

NorthernGeezerJanuary 13th 2010.

Great if you live in Bury Andy, not so good for the rest of us eh. Personally, i cant think of a decent chippy i'd rave about, i like fish 'n chips but theres no where i'd travel to get 'em, other than Mrs Geezer's home made fayre.

MancuniaeggJanuary 13th 2010.

The Manchester Egg will rise

EditorialJanuary 13th 2010.

You're right about Teacup Mr Quack but it's not exactly on a main city centre street is it? Where's the indie tea/coffee shop on Cross Street or Deansgate or in Albert Square? We'd love one. We'd use it.

JohnJanuary 13th 2010.

The big issue is the cost of the rates for a location such as Cross Street, Deansgate or Albert Square. Whilst landlords might be keen to do a deal on empty premises at the moment (and half of town is empty currently) - the rates are static and astronomical. Many smaller independents would love to stake a claim in the city centre but it's just not practical.

Jonathan14656January 20th 2010.

The chocolate cafe was a rubbish idea so I am not suprised it has closed - A Betty's or Slattery's would be a completey different proposition and would work in town as long as the location was right. St Anne's Square or where the starbucks used to be at the pedestrianised end of King Street would be an ideal spot. ”

DescartesJanuary 20th 2010.

So this cafe, was it *made* of chocolate?

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