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Grado new menu sampled

Gordo and Schofield kidnap a woman and force lunch on her

Written by . Published on April 6th 2009.

Grado new menu sampled

Grado is Paul Heathcote’s Spanish restaurant situated behind the City Tower, managed by Italian Marco Ficini with the English chef Steve Midgley.

It’s been consistently good over the past eighteen months, on occasions fabulous.

Gordo’s only moans being Paul’s legendary meanness on portions and a lack of interesting salads. Oh, and Marco’s habit of trying to get Gordo onto those absolutely horrific Grappas.

One thing that is happening at the restaurant is Steve’s realisation that yes, the portions are mean and yes, he does need salads.

Gordo and the editor, Schofield, were invited over to taste and comment on the new menu as guests of Marco and Steve - not a review more of a restaurant seeking an approval rating. To make sure they didn’t end up fighting, it was agreed they should find a bit of skirt. Eleanor Wotherspoon was wandering past, so they kidnapped her, refusing to let her return to her fund-raising job at Manchester Art Gallery until she was rammed with food and wine. Or until she was ‘full as a bucket’ as Schofield says in his twisted Rochdalian.

The pictures, below, tell most of the story, but two stars of the show were a couple of remarkable starters, an aubergine soup, (£3.95) which starts out as thinly sliced, browned garlic slivers arranged, flower like, in the middle of the soup plate with scattered, toasted cumin seeds, the soup is then poured around. A lovely bit of theatre but more importantly fantastic flavours. Another outstanding starter was the salad of beetroot, piquillo peppers, calcots, chilli and coriander (£5.50) which if it played football would be top of the five a side league.

Look out for the new tapas; the salt cod fritter jumps out along with the crab cake (fresh crab, mixing in the brown meat which gives the depth of flavour, possibly a bit less cheese for Eleanor). For real fans of the kind of tapas you eat mid morning in the market in Barcelona, have a look at the sardines a la plancha with capers and pine nuts (£4.25) whilst you can be challenged with the braised baby squid, which wasn’t to Gordo or Schofield’s taste but a true rendition.

The roast breast of duck with char grilled white asparagus and Asturian sidra (£17.95) bowled Gordo and Eleanor over, Schofield preferred the chump of lamb with broad beans, tomatoes, Serrano ham, olive oil and parsley (£17). Portion sizes across the board are now correct. Big enough to satisfy most tastes.

Finally, the arroz con leche with honey and roast figs (£5.50) is terrific, but the Turron soufflé and dark chocolate sorbet is one of the stand out desserts in Manchester at the moment, a fabulous, perfectly engineered soufflé with nougat in the bottom. Heaven, heaven, heaven.

Our visit wasn’t exactly a sneak in and dine affair but despite the fanfair Grado blew us there was real quality.

Have a ganders.

It’s even better if you can pull Ms. Wotherspoon for company as well. And if you can, and ask her what the Hungarian is for tomato. Talented girl.

Follow Gordo on twitter GordoManchester

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

Craig TunsletApril 6th 2009.

Back to the subject. Grado is good. It needs to go that extra mile though I've thought. This menu looks much better, much tighter and also as the write-up says (which I note also criticises dishes) the portions look fuller I'll try. Great pictures too.

Castlefields number 1 fan!April 6th 2009.

So very true. Someone must have hard a brown nose writting this advert review, surprise they could tastle the food with the poo still on their tongue.

Beefy StewApril 6th 2009.

Anonymous, clearly you are on the staff of this website I have just looked at, I am astonished. it is banal sh*te! Gordo, although boorish at times, mysoginistic, fat and bald (I have met him) along with an ega the size of a large wardrobe and dresses innapropriately, has more talent in his writing finger than every page put together on that stupid, geek-built piece of crap that is rest rooms of manchester.

Darren CabotApril 6th 2009.

Restaurants of Manchester is only any good if you want a telephone number. Not if you want a review. And I reckon that anonymous possibly works for them.

GordoApril 6th 2009.

Castlefield, it's called La Boqueria and it is quite stunning. Take pictures. As to the menu at Grado, most of this is experimental marketing; Heathcotes are advertisers, but we will be doing stuff where we eat and give our thoughts as we see them, some people will be advertisers, some won't. We still do the reviews unnanounced and where we pay. These will be scored. This type of piece will not be. However, go and try it. If you genuinely believe that our comments are hyped for money then i will pay your bill and give the job up.

tblzebraApril 6th 2009.

I ate at Grado on Monday, using the 50% off offer from Man Con.Despite the fact we were the only customers in at 5.30pm, the service wasn't good e.g. we ordered 2 draft lagers & it 'wasn't working' so instead of being asked if we wanted an alternative, we were brought 2 bottles, with the tops already removed. The jug of water only arrived on the second time of asking.Most of the food, although very tasty, was tepid at best; we sent back a side order of olive oil mash.The portion size was disappointing & the beetroot dish we received didn't have the green stuff on it your photo shows!I was glad we only paid 50% for the food & will go elsewhere for more authentic Spanish tapas in future.

Pedro1874April 6th 2009.

The best Tapas in the Boqueria market is not on the outside but in a few rows and only has about a dozen seats so you may have to queue. BUT, it is well worth it. If you like ox tail theirs is to die for and everything else is fantastic. Grado looks to have improved, I will try it again. La Casona in Stockport serves the most authentic Spanish tapas to my mind also El Gato Negro in Ripponden.

CastlefieldApril 6th 2009.

Bit of arse kissing from me:What's the name and location of the market in Barcelona as I'm going there on Thursday - do you want me to see if they want to advertise? (joking! but would like the name of the market, thanks)

Chris BApril 6th 2009.

'Kidnapped?'She needs little encouragement.

CastlefieldApril 6th 2009.

Can we wait at least a week before throwing praise on the latest restaurant to advertise.I've been to Grado several times and it's good, not out of this world but good.If I hadn't this would put me off as it's so obviously been paid for, however you dress it up. Obviously you need adverts to survive but less obvious arse kissing would be nice.I've gone to restaurants in the past wholly on your say-so but now 'reviews' or 'approval ratings' will be taken with a pinch of highly commercial salt.

cig papersApril 6th 2009.

Could you imagine gordo and schofield reporting back that the place was a $hit hole after they've obviously keep Manconf open for another wk?! erm nope!

JinkiesApril 6th 2009.

I wish Jay Z was here, he'd know what to do to all the haters

CastlefieldApril 6th 2009.

Grahm and Trevor, as I said 'however you dress it up'. And 'approval ratings'.What do you think the liklehood of Grado not getting 'approval' would have been, given their recent Mancon advertising?

Restaurant ownerApril 6th 2009.

Hmmmmm...Looks like these guys are paying your bills Gordo?

CastlefieldApril 6th 2009.

Just been on restaurants of manchester and in the top ten French restaurants are 6 cafe rouges. Nuff said.

foolish apeApril 6th 2009.

If a little bias keeps this fine publication going I'm all for it. I think they're pretty fair usually, to be fair. Fairly.

Grahm ArcherApril 6th 2009.

You're right Trev. Castlefield's missed the bit at the end as well where it says, 'Our visit wasn’t exactly a sneak in and dine affair but despite the fanfair Grado blew us there was real quality.' I don't mind pieces like this as long as they aren't trying to fool us. Good job though that the pictures are good otherwise I might doubt the words.

LouiseApril 6th 2009.

Only been to Grado once, when it first opened. The only description I would use for the experience would be shocking. OK menu, but very poorly executed brought to the table via terrible service. The visit just confirmed that the Heathcote restaurants under whatever incarnation are all the same, having had a similarly bad experience at his other in place in town near Bootle St.Even if Gordo says its good I couldn't bring myself to go again.

Plastic BertrandApril 6th 2009.

Restaurants of Manchester is shocking. It never offers a judgement merely a description. I think I'm right in saying Mancon pays its writers to have an opinion not just give a description. I was looking up Leonis the other day and Restaurants of Manchester offered this gem of crap advertorial: 'If you want to celebrate a special occasion with family and friends in a great atmosphere then Leoni's is the place for you, with a choice of tapas, a la carte and party menus'. Pure Cheshire Life bollocks that doesn't tell me whether the food is any good. Leonis probably have that written in a brochure somewhere. Mancon had a witty, amusing write-up about the dated decor and finished off like this: ' Leonis isn’t glamorous anymore – it’s a surprise it ever was - but it’s fun in an odd little way. It will never be a destination but if you feel like you want to dress up in Slade/Pan’s People outfits and take a significant other then it might be worth dropping in? At least it seems to come from the heart. And in that, if nothing else, it pesses all over places like Pisto.'

CastlefieldApril 6th 2009.

'Media Onlooker', not sure what you mean about other much bigger agendas? No Dirk Dastardly here!Just to have an opinion is not bitter, it was the closeness of the advert and 'semi-review' that worried me. I actually love ManCon and on Thursday will be feasting on tapas at Barcelona's La Boqueria market thanks to Gordo's advice.

esquiloApril 6th 2009.

Why the kick off? - nowehere does it say this is a review. Unlike the "accidental" review that was MrThomasgate

Gullible JohnApril 6th 2009.

Let's all subscribe to Restrooms of Manchester.com . Sounds good to me...

Media OnlookerApril 6th 2009.

Bloody hell. There are a lot of bitter people in your readership, aren't there? Do you mean to tell me the Confidential should be afraid to publish a favourable piece about someone who happens to advertise, in case it all gets twisted by readers, who, ironically, seem to have their own (much bigger) agenda anyway, and can freely go under the cloak of anonymity to spew it. Nasty.

AnonymousApril 6th 2009.

Oh please. Why are all the reviews on here representative of how pally Gordo is with the owners, or how well they've lined the Manchester Confidential coffers?!Grado is a decent eatery sure, but this review is completely over the top. Grados food is technially good, but about as Spanish as black pudding, portions are small, its quite pretentious, and very overpriced for what it is.For more honest and impartial reviews, check out Manchester's biggest and best food and drink guide at - http://www.restaurantsofmanchester.com

the king of spainApril 6th 2009.

Very dissapointed with Grado having been shortly after they opened. My girlfriend had a paella that was more like a risotto (no unctious sticky goo on the bottom of the pan) and i had belly pork with no fat and no flavour and some sort of apple sauce. The only things I liked were the wine list (if overpriced) and the pimenton dusted almonds on arrival. Much better Iberian food available in Manchester, especially at Luso.

TrevorApril 6th 2009.

Doesn't it quite clearly say this is not a review at the beginning and the end of the piece? 'Gordo and the editor, Schofield, were invited over to taste and comment on the new menu as guests of Marco and Steve - not a review more of a restaurant seeking an approval rating.'

Kevin PlumbApril 6th 2009.

That turron souffle is dead fit as someone said about someone else on the tea-shop story. Yummy yum yum. Can this be voted the most articulate rant of the week? And the most important.

CraigApril 6th 2009.

Agree the pictures look great. I have eaten there before and was not impressed but will try it now on the back of those pictures rather than the review.

mark mApril 6th 2009.

About as Spanish as BlackPudding??!! Since they make black pudding in Spain extremely well (Morcilla) I wonder just how much you know about your food?

Michael WayneJuly 1st 2010.

Spanish tapas bar, Italian manager, English owner and chef! What do you expect. Just look at the menu. I eat regularly in one of the best tapas establishments in Spain located in Madrid's financial district and one of the second best in Girona old city. None of the stuff on the grado menu is available on the menus in Spain. Are they trying to tell us something!!!

NortherngeezerJuly 1st 2010.

FFS Sherlock, its taken you this long to rant on an article published over a year ago, wassup, couldnt you find it?. Also, not all of us have access to Madrid or Gerona, sum of us never get outside the walls of our own fair city mate.

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