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Livebait Changes Hands - Hurrah

Richard Muir shells out for struggling shellfish specialist

Written by . Published on November 28th 2011.

Livebait Changes Hands - Hurrah

RICHARD Muir, director of SBG Restaurants, has acquired the successful Manchester City Centre restaurant, Livebait.

 Muir said, “We know the Manchester restaurant scene very well having been involved in business within the city for many years – Livebait is a great restaurant in a fabulous location and we look forward to re energising the offer and providing something a little more funky.” He needs to. The current operation is looking tired and feeling tired. It needs shaking up.

Along with the much anticipated new menu, Livebait will undergo a complete refurbishment in spring 2012.

Muir currently owns the prestigious Café Fish Restaurant in Edinburgh and  has been a household name within the Scottish Restaurant and Hospitality industry for more than 30 years; starting out as a chef, and working with Grandmet , THF and Scottish and Newcastle, then becoming the Managing Director of Sodexo’s UK Corporate Business, which included the management and development of Gary Rhodes restaurants. He also bought and redeveloped the Carmelite Hotel in Aberdeen, winning various awards including Aberdeen restaurant of the year.

Despite the change of ownership the name Livebait will remain.

The kitchen will be headed up by Executive Chef, Dave Spanner who will work with the existing Livebait team. Dave has most recently been working on Yachts of Seabourn as Executive Chef de Cuisine and has worked in high end establishments all over the world; Australia, Paris, San Francisco and Edinburgh. Dave will use his expertise to create a new Livebait menu that will be introduced early in 2012. The new menu will showcase the ‘beauty and simplicity of fresh fish featuring more shellfish and grill dishes’. There will also be an excellent new wine and champagne list.

Adding sparkle to the shellfish offer is very welcome.  Along with the much anticipated new menu, Livebait will undergo a complete refurbishment in spring 2012.

The press release goes on to say: 'The excellent Livebait team including General Manger Ellen O’Donnell who has over 10 years of experience in the Manchester restaurant will all remain. Muir has teamed up with William Rollason the ex Executive Chairman of Paramount Restaurant Group and this is the first acquisition for their new company, SBG Restaurants. The business plan is to secure other central sites in major UK cities with Glasgow, Leeds and London already on their radar.'

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

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

Wall-ENovember 28th 2011.

Things could be picking up in city. Aiden Byrne opening, sole in the northern quarter looks interesting and 63 degrees is excellent. Also Jay raynor stating rumours of top north west chefs opening in city centre in his excellent cichetti review. James Martin gone quiet though.

pollolocoNovember 29th 2011.

I don't get this article at all. This restaurant is a disgrace...whether they get their seafood from a deepfreeze at Farmfoods or not is one thing, however questions have to be asked about the "Livebait team" surely?

Isabella JacksonNovember 29th 2011.

True. Worst case of illness from eating food anywhere was suffered here - the 'excellent team' didn't give a shit. Dire place.

Jonathan SchofieldNovember 29th 2011.

Under a new regime let's hope that it all changes for the better. Personally I would have changed the name as well and started again.

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

finally, livebait under a new mangement. We might finally have a decent seafood resturant in Manchester

pollolocoNovember 29th 2011.

I agree JS....the name Livebait has become well known for all the wrong reasons...schoolboy error.

the Whalley RangerNovember 29th 2011.

Why keep the name?

AnonymousNovember 29th 2011.

Once visited on a St Valentine's night. £50 a head for a glass of sparkling wine, a couple of prawns and a TWO pieces of ravioli filled with lobster. Draughty table by the door and rushed service. My Abduls chicken kebab on the way home was the highlight of the night. It would have to recieve rave reviews when it re-opens to entice me back again.

SiNovember 29th 2011.

Great to hear this news, but for as long as it's called LiveBait, I'll still steer well clear; food poisoning capital of Manchester.

Calum McGNovember 30th 2011.

Bin the name... had a very expensive and very below-par meal there. Happy to try it once it pulls its socks up (and puts its prices down... suspect that won't be possible).

1 Response: Reply To This...
MaggieNovember 30th 2011.

I've had one reasonable meal there, about 10 years ago. Since then, we've found the staff so unwelcoming that we've never eaten there again. I once tried to get a table to take advantage of a special offer, only to be turned away because I hadn't booked - despite the fact that the restaurant was completely empty! Richard, change the management, ditch the name and give Manchester the Fish restaurant it deserves x

AnonymousNovember 30th 2011.

I have dined in Livebait on many occasions and have always found Ellen and her team to be fantastic! Don't slate the team, remember it's often the company who owns these restaurants who make life difficult, not the team who run it. Good luck to the whole team with the new venture. !

IzzyNovember 30th 2011.

Don't care who owns the company, there's no excuse for rude, ill-tempered, obstructive and un-welcoming staff who quite simply don't give a damn. If you don't like dealing with the public, get a job sitting on your arse staring at a computer all day long. Simple. And the food is lousy.

AnonymousDecember 1st 2011.

I posted a positive comment on here a few hours ago, nice of man con to remove it. always knew you were biased

1 Response: Reply To This...
Mark GarnerDecember 1st 2011.

Anon, we don't lightly remove comments, you have to be pretty rude, bullying or obnoxious to have that pleasure. I shall investigate. I may not like your comments, but have built my reputation on defending your right to say it on here.

pollolocoDecember 1st 2011.

I can't really find anything positive to say about Livebait, although like Maggie, I had a decent meal there when it first opened. The food offering is indeed appalling the; the same happened to Loch Fyne when taken over by a large chain....centrally bought seafood=frozen shite+e coli. Staff run by head office bean counters soon lose the will to live. I might well be tempted to return after some positive reviews but certainly won't be risking it before thanks.

Janice SaxonDecember 5th 2011.

I went on Saturday night with a group of friends and had a fantasic meal could not complain about anything.

AnonymousDecember 12th 2011.

Ive eaten there many times and found both the food and staff to be excellent, cant help feel from reading Mr Mark Garners comments now and in the past that he seems to have a personal problem with the place and isnt giving it a fair go..
Also feel that if you put post my rant at the bottom of the comments page your inviting negative comments rather than genuine comments and consturctive cristicism if warranted.

AnonymousDecember 12th 2011.


James RandleDecember 12th 2011.

I do not understand the negative and somewhat scathing feedback?? The food and service has always been top notch!
I'm looking forward to going back and seeing what the new owners have done with the place!

Jonathan SchofieldDecember 12th 2011.

James look at the Sleuth about polenta on these pages. Livebait has massively changed.

Stef MillsDecember 29th 2011.

Has anyone got a link to their website? it seems to have gone off the main Livebait website? Thanks

AnonymousJanuary 14th 2012.

One word - Norovirus. Ruined my friends wedding the next day for me. I spent it with my head down the toilet.
Livebait = my nemisis.

Julie StoneJanuary 31st 2012.

walking past the place is bad enough it stinks,the bins need to be emptied daily. went in there when it first opened was ok,but went steadily down hill, shame really because theres no other seafood place in manchester SUPER FRESH FISH is the only way and no silly prices,just because you do a refurb. WE CAN ALWAYS GO TO THE FISH MARKET YOU KNOW!

1 Response: Reply To This...
AdamFebruary 6th 2012.

Totally agree!

AnonymousFebruary 3rd 2012.

I'm going there tonight, booked a table for 4. I'll post a full unbiased report either tonight or sometime over the weekend. I seriously hope that the negative reports are untrue...

Liddy199February 15th 2012.

I really love the place and have always had great service and delicious food. They did a few good 50% off offers from time to time which I'm not sure will continue. Can't find a dedicated restaurant website to investigate either...anybody know??

Sean ForshawFebruary 21st 2012.

came here back in 2009 food was the best i have tasted and the waiter was brill.... but since then its gone down hill have they changed the head Chef or something????? went back not so long ago big disgrace!!!!

AnonymousFebruary 22nd 2012.

didnt you used to work their as Head Chef Sean???!! think someone is a little biased to the Head Chef eh?

Wall-EFebruary 22nd 2012.

They are changing the name after refurb.

angJune 9th 2012.

Had a meal last night - nice but overpriced. £9 for a scallop starter with 1 scallop!!! £27 for wine that was served warmish. It took until the last glass of wine to get to the right temperature

1 Response: Reply To This...
RayJune 11th 2012.

That's a bit steep for only one scallop, but was it hand dived? Many restaurants serve trawled scallops which are cheaper but the process (trawling) causes appalling damage to the seafloor. That said, I would have expected say, three scallops for, say, a tenner or so.

M-Dog ManchesterJune 13th 2012.

LIVEBAIT. Grrrreat value set menu offer, I like the newly refreshed restaurant and hope more pups trot in. GOOD WORK. Keep it up!

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