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Marmalade, Chorlton, closes down for good

John Quilter’s labour of love on Beech Road is the latest victim of 2009

Published on April 28th 2009.

Marmalade, Chorlton, closes down for good

A Michelin recognised British bistro on Beech Road has called the receivers in. Marmalade was the recipient of the French company's Bib Gourmand award, a couple of years back.

This is a shame because boss John Quilter had tried very hard here. Above all he was brave. He had an uncompromising policy of pursuing British classic dishes, and top-notch British food often from the North West. He was religiously passionate in his belief that we are neglecting a proud food and drink heritage in the UK and losing age-old techniques.

His idea with Marmalade was to produce a version of the French small-town bistro and embody his enthusiasm for the best of British. He thought that every suburb and town should have a Marmalade to raise the standard of the average eating out experience.

Talking exclusively to Manchester Confidential, Quilter said: “It’s been the toughest six months possible, we’ve been robbed three times and had a fire in the kitchen. There’s also been the tough trading conditions. But what’s been the straw that breaks the camel’s back has been the agreement I entered into four years ago with Punch Taverns.

“I’ve tried my best to re-nogotiate this but when many other bars, some twice the size very close by, are paying £24K a year rent, I’m on £65K. I’ve not taken a penny out of the business for four months and I can’t live like that. In the time I’ve been here Punch has had five regional managers and whilst they sympathise they aren’t able to move on the rent or the tie with alcohol. If I was a freehouse I could buy a keg of Stella for £70 but it costs £120 through the tie. People often complain about booze prices in pubs but that’s part of the reason why. We have to try and make some profit.

“I can’t complain too much, because I was foolish when I entered into the agreement, but that lease is 75 per cent of the reason we’re closing. And I believe Punch could have been far more flexible. Then we woud have survived, we still do good business through the tills. I’ve always paid the rent and I never wanted to harm the suppliers or make people redundant but things have come to a head and it’s time to close the business.”

John Quilter will pay a big price for collapse of Marmalade: “I will personally lose everything, the house, the transport. I will go bankrupt. If there were another option then I’d take it, but struggling to keep afloat is taking a personal toll. All I’m doing is falling down in the sand as I try to run faster.”

Quilter has some consultancy and media work which he can fall back on, but the sorry story underlines more than anything else, the need to get the right lease agreement and tie with the big boys in the first place.

And possibly if you’re new to the business to try and avoid working with Punch Taverns and the other pub companies. These boys seem to be unrelenting over leases even when a good business, which has established a reputation in an area, and has potentially a successful future, gets into difficulties.

At Confidential we’ve requested interviews with Punch in the past but we’ve always been blanked. Part of the problem is now of course that the pub companies have borrowed huge amounts of money on leases now worth less than anticipated. Where have we heard that sort of thing before?

The upshot of this is that good establishments go under, such as Marmalade, and the harsh rentals and ties on products mean getting in good but costly raw materials to produce interesting food and drink becomes less cost effective. Thus the British consumer gets to enjoy frozen lasagnas warmed up in microwaves in its pubs.

We wish John Quilter, his staff and his suppliers, the best of luck. This writer remembers with affection having one of Marmalade’s magnificent Port of Lancaster Smoked Haddock pies with peas and melted cheddar late last year. The closure is a crying shame.

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

LauraApril 28th 2009.

Greedy landlords are squeezing the life out of independent businesses in this country - not just in the pub/resaurant trade but retail too.Having said that, I have only eaten in Marmalade once, on a quiet midweek early evening. Had to wait about 20 minutes for our drinks order to arrive, almost an hour for the food and then our supposedly amazing pies weren't even warmed through properly, one was actually cold in the middle.Needless to say I haven't been back since.

Ron D'VouzApril 28th 2009.

What? At those prices. Serves him right. There's enough old shops posing as bars in Chorlton anyway. I heard that it was going to be a Subway, thank god some decent food on Beech rd for once.

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

The rent was way too high, what was he thinking of. Been many times but always no better than average.Bring back the Blue Note

Trevor KApril 28th 2009.

Fabulous place and we can't afford to lose businesses like this.

AvoApril 28th 2009.

Do you mean a blowjob Lenny?

PeterApril 28th 2009.

Dear AnonymousI'm a greedy pig who'll eat just about anything but I couldn't actually finish the dried shrivelled up part burned thing that was stuck in front of me when I ate there on TWO occasions. I'm not being mean - I really loved the place itself - I'm pointing out the realities of being in business. I run my own business, and I don't expect repeat customers if I've failed them.

Ray LangtonApril 28th 2009.

Once again , suppliers trousers are taken down and as usual rogered for thousands . Its the same old story , do you keep supplying them whilst hoping and praying all the stories you keep hearing are not true . Let me tell you the damn truth , they know long , long before hand that its going down the pan , so hang fire on the paye , vat and ask for more time to pay . Its the suppliers who suffer as well . As for suppliers who " promised to keep in touch " , I know people in the trade who definately would keep in touch , they have been done too many times . By all means supply small indepentants , ask for a bond , say a grand up front and either cash on delivery or a cheque on Friday . If they don't like it , go elsewhere . I have a mate in the Fresh Produce business who can't literally sleep at night because his large and I mean large overdraft is so close to the limit that another restaurant failure would sink him and his family business . Keep the relationship professional .

GngSnpsApril 28th 2009.

Have had more than a few gorgeous meals in Marmalade - one of my favourite Chorlton restaurants. Absolute crying shame, I'm so sorry.

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

I think what the chap fails to understand is that when looking for TV chefs, the brief doesn't usually run to 'failed chef who shafted his partner, owes piles of money to suppliers and produced so-so food in an environment where service was patchy', however good he is at surfing!

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

I cant believe people are so heartless by posting mean comments- the guy has lost everything! I wish him all the luck in the world and hope he comes back quickly and successfully. I own a small business in Chorlton and times are very very hard, if people want better independant businesses in Chorlton they need to support the ones that are already here- put your money where your mouth is. There are too many empty units and more coming. Setting up a business is REALLY hard and its hard to keep standards perfect when money isnt coming in. Give us a break guys- some of us are really trying our best.

NedApril 28th 2009.

Heard there are more than 5 interested parties in talks re the marmalade site . Blimey , thought there was a recession on . Perhaps they are M.P.'s eager to use up expenses

charlie jonesApril 28th 2009.

bad news for anyone putting their nuts on the line but however much i wanted to love it i never could. despite looking good + getting a decent press the actual dining experience was always a let down. average service and massive wait for food - 60+ minutes for our last sunday roast - left you feeling like a spurned lover. you wanted to love them but were never allowed. what is shocking is how the scroats continue to make life hard for everyone - the police need to have a long hard look at how they're failing to protect. what is their slogan? "fighting crime, protecting people"?

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

It is an interesting point about police protecting small businesses from armed raids - I believe this is one of the biggest barriers to small busineses setting up. My partner and myself have considered setting up a small deli/cafe in areas of whalley range and trinity, salford - the areas are up and coming and there is a demand.However our biggest hurdle is the fear of gangs walking into the premises and asking for money - therefore we have not bothered.There is alot of passion in south manchester about the importance of independents. If independents are to thrive then their security needs to be assured. Perhaps the independents should get together to form a security group to collectively safeguard their interests and lobby the police to assure their security.

Simon TApril 28th 2009.

Quilter definitely has his heart in the right place and loves what he does, let's hope he can extricate himself from this mess and come back stronger.

M30April 28th 2009.

From many of the fellatious comments regarding the proprietor, many seem to think that he was a saint running a charity. I have been to Marmalade twice, and on both occasions I was served food which would disgrace a boarding house in Fleetwood, and the rudest service I have ever encountered. I was challenged, chastised, and reprimanded for having the nerve to complain about the food. Good riddance to bad rubbish. The tapas bar down the road (if it's still there) is wonderful.

tuttifruitiApril 28th 2009.

It is a crying shame, no one could have worked harder - he is a great guy and his loss will be felt. Punch Taverns should be ashamed of what they have done. Good Luck John - we love you!

keith pullenApril 28th 2009.

Mr Quilter , instead of " going surfing " how about finding a way to pay your out of work staff and as usual the poor and shafted suppliers . Perhaps a little less time in the TV studios and a bit more time at the stove . On the last two times I was in , on both occasions you was in London filming . I am not saying that this was the total contributing factor but in todays world you have got to have total focus and all this running around " look at me " DOES NOT HELP . As for the suppliers , I weep for them . There is one wine supplier who I have observed over the years being shafted soooo many times , I don't know how he has the confidence left to speak to these beggars . Surfing... it really is beyond the pale . I can't remember the figure , but it's something like 80% of new catering business go bust in the first 12 months . Jerry Springer moment now ...Punch Tavern's , you really are the Devils child , I have had dealings with them in the past and nothing that they do or say would surprise me . Do not be amazed when the Marmalade site becomes a Subway

LukeApril 28th 2009.

Gutted! Was planning to go back next month, have some fond memories of that place. Great food too!

molly rangeApril 28th 2009.

This article saddens me so much I'm local to marmalade and will mis eating and drinking there greatly. Many pubs are closing down because of ridiculous pricing expectations from breweries. I hope Quilter bounces back in the future.

ancoats girlApril 28th 2009.

What are the police doing to try and protect bars and restaurants from armed raids? Three times in six months is ridiculous. Very sad.

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

Whilst appreciating it is hard to set up your own business, the service and food at Marmalade was very patchy. The 100 year old recipe for French onion soup tasted like swamp water last time i was in there.

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

I have to agree with Ray here. I pay my suppliers, all of whom are small or medium sized businesses themselves, on a weekly basis. It's better for both parties. The suppliers get regular payments and I don't have several huge bills arrive on the 1st of every month. It makes even more sense in the current economic climate. I heard from one delivery driver last week who went to collect over £10k from a customer - must have been months of invoices - only to find the restaurant boarded-up. Jack Frost was owed over £8k I believe before he forced the closure of Juniper. On the other hand, why do the suppliers allow a customer to run up such a huge bill? I suppose if the business is ordering on a regular basis the assumption is made that the produce is being cooked and sold therefore things must be OK.

Bleeding Heart SurgeonApril 28th 2009.

Get real! What you refer to is simply economic evolution - survival of the fittest in a modern economy. If inefficient businesses dont have the skills to kill their competitors and maximise profits, reduce costs and shed lazy labour they will die.It makes sense, we dont want lame ducks in our economy.

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

The recession means a lot of small suppliers are struggling as much as the restuarants etc. It's in everyone's best interest to keep up regular payments, even if they're smaller and it takes longer to clear invoices - just talk honestly to the suppliers. Sorry but the main reason for the downfall of this restaurant is the outrageous lease agreement John Quilter signed - madness. I am not impressed with his apparent plans to 'go surfing' either - although I understand his desire to get away. Try paying your 15 redundant staff or at least something to your suppliers first

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

Not suprised its shut. Over priced rubbish. Walked out one luch, took back 2 x gin and tonics on another occasion and told by the manager they were fine!.......

JohnoApril 28th 2009.

JQ and Marmalade are both favourites of mine; John for being such a decent guy and Marmalade for its great service and quality, honest food.I'm therefore very sorry to hear about this closure as it will be a loss for the Manchester food scene as a whole. I wish John and his team the very best. Good luck for th future dude, hope we see you return

HarleyApril 28th 2009.

A damson in distress is not a mess , good luck to Steve Pilling, has he been operated on yet ? Shame about marmalade ,,,these pub companies sound like awful beggars

depressed monkeyApril 28th 2009.

I loved the staff in Marmalade and I have to say the wine was lovely - but very expensive (although after reading this article I have a better idea why). Unfortunately the food wasn't up to scratch for me, the price did not reflect the standard. I hope someone brave can take it on as Beech Road is a great place to hang out when its buzzing on a sunny day.

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

there is definitely another side to this story. it would have been a different story if john quilter had put half as much energy into his restaurant as he did into surfing in cornwall, and trying to develop his far fetched dreams of starring in his own tv show and writing a book. he is just lucky he has the punch thing as an excuse....even if he owned the building it probably would have gone tits up. the one i really feel for is his business partner - john hasnt even mentioned him in any of the reports ive seen and his life has been ruined too. john quilter, what a winner.

outragedofm1April 28th 2009.

Although it's a shame to hear of an aspirational young operator like this going under, personally I'd get used to this for the next few years. All the brewco's I've dealt with are charm itself in signing you up to a site and often, you don't fully realise the implications of a full tie on draft, cask, bottles, minerals and wine - i.e. your gross profit will be capped and margins squeezed. Worse, should you decide to buy the odd cases of beer out of tie and find yourself in trouble, you can't go cap in hand for help because the Brewco will ask for VAT returns and stocktaker reports which will quickly show the discrepancy. Now, 3 years ago having a pub in the right location was a real opportunity to make money, but now it's just too often an open ended liability with no real value. Punch are bad, but by no means the worst. At least there is the potential mechanism at the moment for an operator to buy their freeholds while they need cash. Enterprise are by far the most intransigent as their financial position is more sound, so they are happy to let natural selection take it's course. Sad.

kateApril 28th 2009.

crying shame - marmalade is fabulous both practically(with gorgeous food) and ethically.

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

I have to say the people in that area clearly don't know good food and service, both of which were average to say the least.....

PeterApril 28th 2009.

I know there must be good reason for it's reputation, but I ate at marmalade 3 times, once it was less than mediocre, the other two times it was jaw-droppingly bad. Much as it's a shame that such a cool little place has gone to the wall in such circumstances, you can't be that inconsistent with your cheffing and expect to stay in business.

Ali McGowanApril 28th 2009.

What a sorry story - good luck to John for the future. I once at at Marmalade and had a great meal. How pathetically short-sighted of Punch. How utterly, utterly foolish. They're now left with a unit with no-one to occupy it (who's going to open a new place in the current climate...or agree to the same rent John was paying??) and thus no rent coming in at all. You'd have thought some re-negotiated rental income would be better than zero rent - but hey, sounds like corporate short-sightedness on their part. Shameful.

HelsApril 28th 2009.

Ah what a sad shame! What will occupy this building now - i can't see anybody new opening up. Fair play to John, have had some lovely food and drinks here - and its right on my doorstep.

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

what a horrible shame - and terrible loss. twas one of the best restaurants in Manchester without a doubt. fingers crossed John and his lovely food will be back soon - and hopefully still in Chorlton!

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

John - I'm so sorry, gutted for you. You must have been to hell and back, especially coming to this condition. Your health comes first mate. Get your head back ontrack and you'll be set to fly high again - and we'll all be waiting for you:-)

catherineApril 28th 2009.

It's a sign of the times.Now we've had a 'credit crunch''recession'now we're heading for 'Depression'I've ran a Business for 13yrs.Paid suppliers always on time I will not take credit even from other's in the same business as me.Credit is what made the world go around now it's being pulled from people who used it.All because the Retail banks etc made bad investments.Now the ordinary man in the street will pay for this.

Cool What?April 28th 2009.

Do one Adele.

ConnieApril 28th 2009.

Marmalade was lovely, comfortable and with good food. It's a shame it's closed. To Richard and Anonymous this was a neighbourhood place, not a Mayfair venue, the service could be good and could be indifferent. I always thought the food was way ahead of anything else in Chorlton, which isn't saying that much admittedly. Richard maybe thinks in a narrow minded way that the service and food would always be exquisite in some little French number in the Dordogne if you went ten times a year. No of course not it would have it's off days. Talk sense.

Punch LandlordApril 28th 2009.

Punch Taverns have Marmalade advertised on their website and have now added what they think their new "partner" would make out of the business. They are saying around the £30k mark. I wonder if the previous now bust occupant would agree with that figure?!

ShellbellApril 28th 2009.

Have to agree....visited twice - first time was amazing, second time - service not great and food not great when it eventually arrived. We went with our baby daughter (7 months) the second time and were made to feel like aliens! Still a shame though.

ohnoo!April 28th 2009.

I only went there two weeks ago and had to wait 40 mins for a table. Food was outstanding but my only gripe is that service has always been poor but then that is soon forgotten when the food arrives - shame, real shame!!!

Thank God its FridayApril 28th 2009.

Love the line " trousers taken down etc, etc " , but its the truth. As a wine supplier once told me that he almost considered it a done deal that at least one third of his customers would " belly up " . A lot of times its because they are wide eyed innocents with no previous catering experience...bless em !

GinaApril 28th 2009.

Absolutely gutted - was only there a few weeks ago for a spectacular sunday lunch. It was buzzing with customers even late in the afternoon, so to see it's shut down is a shock. They're such a good restaurant, it's gutting that the greed of the breweries is forcing such great establishments under. Shame on them.

GillApril 28th 2009.

What a shame. Went up there the other night and the place was packed, both inside and outside. They were so busy that we couldn't get a table.

emma graceApril 28th 2009.

Sounds like John has been a victim of Punch's ridiculously high staff turnover as well as everything else. With 5 Regional Managers over a year or so, it seems none of them have stuck around long enough to form any sort of client relationship, and enter into any realistic negotiations over the rent. I bet John's heart sank every time he got one of those "Hi, I'm just calling to introduce myself, I'm your new Regional Manager" calls.

scclaireApril 28th 2009.

The food at Marmalade was hit and miss at best- it seemed to suffer from not being sure what it wanted to be- and the service was rarely better than indifferent and at times appalling. Too many of the staff here seemed to think they were too cool to actually do what they had been employed to do. It's a shame they didn't take a leaf out of Croma's book on that one as the service there is always outstanding. It was a great location for a drink on a sunny afternoon, other than that it promised a lot more than it ever delivered. It's a shame it's closing but it's unsurprising. Lorenzo's on the other corner of the block is consistently better- how about expanding into this space Lorenzo?

blufinkApril 28th 2009.

Must be a bit more to this story than is being told here. Let's hear from the other side.

len mApril 28th 2009.

Sorry to hear such bad news , chin up John

ADApril 28th 2009.

On another point - we all love the independents but I had dinner at the Angel this week (great as ever) and it was not remotely busy... if you like good indi places then suport them!

Emma HApril 28th 2009.

A real shame. The best thing about Marmalade was the atmosphere - something you can't put a price on, and the good food and service were excellent.

AnonApril 28th 2009.

Yet more evidence that its very hard for a non chain/corporate restaurant to make it and sustain itself here in Manchester, especially in trendy, near city centre places like Chorlton. Theres a few in the Northern Quarter, as rents are cheap since it was a wasteland a few years back, but Im dreading the time when it gets a bit slicker up there, and the rents shoot up accordingly.Who will be next in the Manchester eatery exodus?Terrible news really.

cazApril 28th 2009.

hey john, just remember gordon ramsay failed a couple of times and is now a world-renowned chef with millions in the bank - don't give up :-)

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

My boyfriend and I love going to Marmalade on a sunday night or sunny afternoon for a drink and chat -its such a wonderful friendly place, and is always busy! This is such a shame -im gutted!!! Surely something can be done to keep this place open.....?

Dean MoullApril 28th 2009.

This is absolutely awful news and my heart goes out to John and everyone involved with Marmalade. It really is a case of 'there but for the grace of god'. Despite the previous comment about low rents in the Northern Quarter my recent rent review saw a 54% increase imposed on us just as the effects of the general economic downturn were beginning to take effect. As low as I am sure John must be feeling right now I've no doubt a man of his undoubted abilities will find the resolve to 'bounce back' in due course and, once again, demonstrate his all to rare understanding of what it is that customers really want from a restaurant. Best wishes and good luck to John and his team. Dean

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

I went here a few times when I lived in Chorlton and the service was absolutely horrendous every time. Serves him right

AliceApril 28th 2009.

Totally Gutted. I have just moved to Chorlton and have just been waiting for the right time to go for a meal in Marmalade. What a shame.

BabyApril 28th 2009.

I've started to lose a little patience now. John Quilter is quoted in the MEN today as blaming the three robberies, along with the credit crunch, for the demise of Marmalade. He admits to not improving security after the first robbery because it was too expensive (!) so I have no symathy. The restaurant must have an alarm - if not the insurance will be null and void. As for 15 staff, a little excessive for a small independent I would have thought. On top of the complete madness of signing a 65k a year lease, I am not surprised this has happened. Whilst it's a shame to see any business fail, this recession will sort the wheat from the chaff. Instead of striving to be a TV chef, as is the wont of too many chefs these days, maybe Jonh Quilter should have concentrated on his restaurant a little more. As for owing thousands to his suppliers, again as quoted in the MEN, he then goes on to add that they have 'all promised to keep in touch'. I bet they have

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

Not another bl00dy Bar and Grill or Piccolino pleeeeeeeeeeeeeease

RICHARD NASHApril 28th 2009.

what a great place such a dissapointment, the lesson is don't get involved with the corporate boys if your setting up a food business, and try and stay away from the chains and eat in small proprietor owned businesses.

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

Whilst this is a sorry state of affairs, particularly as this is one of only a handful of independent restaurants in Manchester, I can't help wondering about the rent. If the rent has alway been so high then Mr. Quilter needs his head examining having entered into such a deal in the first place - he does imply this himself. If it's suddenly rocketed then Punch Taverns should hang their heads in shame. I pay around a third of this in rent and I'm slap bang in the city centre

AdeleApril 28th 2009.

We felt an overwhelming sadness when we discovered that the magical, extraordinary & unique Marmalade had closed. It epitomised the cool charm of Chorlton itself & we fell in love with the whole area on our first visit to the restaurant three years ago. Please try again, John; you have many loyal customers who would follow you.

KodiApril 28th 2009.

I HATE Punch Taverns. B*stards. :-(

Dawn HoldingApril 28th 2009.

I am really sorry to learn about Marmalade, John is very hard working and passionate, something else will come up John, don't worryDawn x

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

It's not just every suburb that deserved a Marmalade but, the city centre too. I'd have thought that was on the cards, but obviously some fairly ruthless gods have conspired against John and, ultimately, his customers. Do 'an Angel' I reckon - squatters rights in the Edinburgh Castle.

lennyApril 28th 2009.

I thought fellatious was when a man er er you know what I mean . How do you phase it without being editored out . I know when a women does it on another member of the fair sex its called Tipping the Velvet . As for Marmalade , I really wanted it to succeed , it had all the right ingredients but the service was so hit and miss and the same can be stated about the food . Punch tavern will have a new tenant in asap and the whole thing will start again . My auntie Lily used to run a boarding house in Fleetwood , it was on Langley Road , if my memory serves me right . The food was rubbish , she served frozen fish from Macro !!!!!

DRHApril 28th 2009.

Not surprised at this as the 2 times I have been the service has been terrible and the food average. It also couldn’t make it's mind up if it wanted to be a restaurant or a bar

Bleeding Heart SurgeonApril 28th 2009.

Get real! What you refer to is simply economic evolution - survival of the fittest in a modern economy. If inefficient businesses dont have the skills to kill their competitors and maximise profits, reduce costs and shed lazy labour they will die.It makes sense, we dont want lame ducks in our economy.

CastlefieldApril 28th 2009.

Anony, if people like, they like it. We don't all go out with scorecards, well not usually anyway! If someone enjoys good food, that means it's good as far as they're concerned. Like if someone thinks you're a dickhead, in their eyes you are.

lennyApril 28th 2009.

Thank you Avo , I could not bring myself to write the words . Just heard Steve Pilling has opened a new restaurant near Stockport called Damsons , anybody got any details or anybody been yet ?

Largey, Old TraffordApril 28th 2009.

What a crying shame. One of our very favourite restaurants is now forced out of business. Not because of waning popularity, turnover or quality but because some big corporate fat-cats would rather pummel % margin profits out of a business's rent year on year, forcing it into administration, rather than look at the long game of continuing success all-round for everyone. Greedy, corporate and wholly short-sighted.In lay terms: Cocks.

ADApril 28th 2009.

Its a sad thing I liked the place local and decent, but JQ clearly knew the terms of the deal with Punch when he signed it four years ago - he clearly signed somthing that Killed his business when the downturn came. He says the rent is £40k more than other locals surely that was true 4 years ago - sadly he made a poor business decision and now has paid the price. That however is part of the entrapenurial learning curve and I really hope he comes back stronger.

Richard HJApril 28th 2009.

Are you people all tripping? Marmalade has been awful for ages. People go there to have a drink when everywhere else is full - not a good sign for a gastro pub. Staff are good though. Sunday lunchtime there's often hardly anyone in there eating. I had a very average meal there just the other week. And as for all that rot about 'this duckling has been massaged by a 65 year old French goat on the south facing slope of a Welsh mountain' up on the wall - all empty guff. It's a terrible shame when a business closes but mark my words someone with their eye on the ball will turn that space back into the little goldmine it should be.

RebeccaApril 28th 2009.

Totally gutted. A real loss to Beech Road. Marmalade is an excellent place, with great food and an atmosphere to match. Really sorry to hear of the closure and wish John and staff all the best

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

There's no such thing as bad publicity especially when you want to increase your media profile rather than improve your business. Shame for the suppliers who have been left in the lurch

EditorialApril 28th 2009.

We will be interviewing Punch Taverns in the next couple of weeks about the way pub companies run their businesses. We're just waiting for them to give us a slot with one of their bosses, they've promised to deliver this next week.

Wannabee BarryApril 28th 2009.

Absolutely adore this place. It was variable because it was real and because it was it was real it was bloody good. Love the philosophy and thought it was a great place for a drink as well as for food. Early evening meals became a family institution. Well done and our lot will miss you.

BattyboyApril 28th 2009.

Nobody wants to see a local, independent business close and it's sad for Chorlton that one of few eating places is now gone, but it has to be said that Marmalade left a lot to be desired and I'm honestly not surprised it's come to this. I agree entirely with comments made above that you wanted to love this place but couldn't. I love the space and everything it supposedly stood for but the execution really was appalling. So sorry to see an empty unit on Beech Road but not to see the back of this particular business. That said, good luck to everyone involved and I hope they all find alternative jobs very soon.

FranApril 28th 2009.

Absolutely gutted - am in shock. The best place in Chorlton. Let's hope the new Horse and Jockey helps to compensate a little. I'll really miss my table by the fire

AnonymousApril 28th 2009.

Wow, can't even believe this, everytime I've passed Marmalade it sems to be doing good trade, it's a shame because I felt they were doing things right and the food was always good especially on the early bird deals they used to do.Sad day for Manchester

GarethApril 28th 2009.

This news is terrible, marmalade is/was a great place, excellent, local food and atmosphere. Punch sound like the classic landlord with no flexibility or remorse for seeing entrepreneurial people like John go to the wall. The Manchester restuarant scene needs places like Marmalade to make it attractive to locals and visitors, sounds like another case of our every increasing homogenous nation.

James Chapman-KellyApril 28th 2009.

Keep your chin up JOhn. A plague on Punch Taverns and all their so-called managers who are so short sighted. You provided a great place. lovely food and we'll miss your cheery smile. Marmalade was just what it said on the door 'Reet tasty!)

colin spenallApril 28th 2009.

Surf's up dude ..Marmalade has according to my source , not sauce has already got two seriously interested parties sniffing around it . I hope it dos'nt go corporate .

DaveApril 28th 2009.

Personally found both the food and the service very disappointing - I tried it twice over a couple of months just to check my tough, nearly raw sunday roast beef which I'd waited ages for wasn't due to them having an "off" day. Can't have been selling enough food, although plenty of people seemed to like it judging by the feedback here.

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