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Lounge Ten Reborn, Almost Famous In Bother, Marina U-Turn

Sleuth Wk 37: Hope, Rancour, Love, Loaves, Tarts And Stuff

Written by . Published on September 5th 2014.


Lounge Ten Reborn, Almost Famous In Bother, Marina U-Turn
 

SleuthSleuthSleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week, it's the truth, but Sleuth's truth. He's several people all at once. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to publish. Sleuth sometimes even gets serious. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows. Follow Sleuth on twitter @mcrsleuth

Lounge Ten Reborn 

Sleuth hears the Lounge Ten site is under offer. The moody three storey restaurant on Tib Lane was for a while a Manchester dining destination. On one occasion Sleuth took in five New York and Boston journalists for a meal and they swooned in desire for the red and black décor, the candles and the good food. They wanted a Lounge Ten of their own.

They liked the porn too. Sort of. As anybody who knew Lounge Ten will tell you, the walls contained pastel paintings of sexual acts. Ooh-la-la. The door knob in the private dining room lived up to its description, very large and veiny it was. The wonderfully eccentric manager Kit with his pink leather kilt used to love showing it off to shyer looking journalists. Sleuth hopes the new operator – we’ll let you know who it is when we can – will retain the fruitily hilarious decor.

Those pictures to right and left are very naughty, madam. You may choose not to lookThose pictures to right and left are very naughty, madam. You may choose not to look

Almost Famous Takes A Kicking

Manchester-born burger brand Almost Famous took a good kicking in the national press this week. A customer had taken offence to a series of female insecurities plastered across the ladies toilet wall in the new Leeds restaurant, the story had been picked up and pounced on by The Telegraph, Metro, Independent and Guardian. The walls were soon scrubbed clean. The customer complained comments such as 'My boobs are too small' and 'Why can't I be thinner?' were misogynistic. Sleuth is told the artwork was intended to highlight the triviality of the body hang-ups, but the complainants are probably right, 'trash food' brands like Almost Famous often get overly bawdy in order to shock and sell. Sleuth remembers Red's True BBQ pulling a similar stunt on veggies. An odd thing though... nobody seems to have noticed that the exact same artwork had been in the ladies loos of the Liverpool and Great Northern branches for around a year. 10,000s of ladies must have been for a tinkle without so much as a boo-hiss. Funny how some don't take offence until they're told to...

(Confidential shall be publishing an article on these trashy marketing tactics in the very near future).

Staff removed the stickersStaff removed the stickers

Marina U-Turn

What did irk Sleuth though was how Guardian food critic, Marina O'Loughlin, joined in the Almost Famous bashing on twitter (below). Sleuth remembers how O'Loughlin, in a July 2013 piece titled In Search Of The Perfect Burger, had said Almost Famous was "Dirty, rude, politically incorrect fun". 'Fun', you say? Sleuth also remembers an earlier review by O'Loughlin for Metro in August 2012 in which the critic takes very little offence to the terms 'meat slut', 'meat whore' and 'filthy slutty bacon pig'. She even says 'Pucker up' to the latter. Sleuth thinks it's terribly odd that in 2012 and 2013 politcal incorrectness and filth are 'fun', come 2014 and they're not. Sleuth can understand the discontent, but cannot stand hypocrisy.

2013 'fun' (left), 2014 not so fun (right)2013 'fun' (left), 2014 not so fun (right)

Metro review 2012: 'pucker up'Metro review 2012: 'pucker up'

You The Tart?

So Sleuth went to his favourite MCR club, The Portico Library, for lunch with his lady. Wall to wall artists, a bastion of civilisation. They ordered food. The Portico Tart of leek and tarragon for her, and the Portico Omelette laden with ham for him. They sat and chatted and waited for the food. The charming waitress, and possibly cook, appeared and put plates on the table. "So," she said, "who's the tart?" "Actually, I've known her for some time," said Sleuth. His arm still hurts. The cook is still embarrassed.

The Portico - loads of tart

The Portico - loads of tart

A Hop, Skip And Jump Still Requires Another Licence 

Sleuth has been admiring the Tampopo pop-up in Exchange Square. This will soon be joined by another such structure from Salvi’s. Both businesses are refugees while the adjacent Corn Exchange transforms into a place filled solely with bars and restaurants. Odd though, thinks Sleuth, that both places had to apply again for licences even though their tiny pop-ups are a triple-jumper’s leap from the original restaurants. Licence applications depend on the size of the venue and are renewed annually - fair enough - but Sleuth isn’t sure why a licence a few feet from the original venue which has temporarily closed for refurbishment can’t be transferred. Then again transferring would mean the city council don't get several hundred pounds of new fee. 

Exchange Square and a new pop-up

Exchange Square and a new pop-up

Heaton Moor Gets Serious

Sleuth hears Heaton Moor has a new restaurant in the offing, called Brassica from chef Paul Faulkner. Expect lashings of cabbage and kale but also the kind of accomplished take on English classics the chef has developed at Zinc, The Modern and the Albert Square Chop House, where he is currently head chef. Albert’s is on the shortlist for Manchester Food and Drink Festival’s Food Pub of the Year. By the time of the awards dinner on September 29, Faulkner will be long gone and his new 48-cover showcase should be up and running. Sleuth reckons with Damson around the corner Heaton Moor is becoming serious foodie territory.

Paul FaulknerPaul Faulkner

Kieran Fest 2014 From Friday 5 to Sunday 6 September

Serious Sleuth again. Chorlton teenager Kieran Crump Raiswell was murdered in an unprovoked knife attack in January 2013 and since then his parents have been working to raise money for the Manchester charity 42nd Street, which works with young people under stress. Every year there's a main fundraiser in Chorlton over three days with a quiz night on the Friday, football and a gig night on the Saturday and a whole fun day and cricket match at South West Manchester Cricket Club on the Sunday. It's a great cause, Sleuth thinks, and one worthy of huge support. For info and tickets click here.

Kieran, a life remembered

 

Kieran, a life remembered

Use Your Loaf Please Thwaites

Thwaites was last seen in Albert Square during Manchester Jazz Festival when punters were asked to fork out £5 for a pint of average-strength ale in one of those squelchy plastic glasses. Sleuth was vexed, but has since been told that was beyond the Blackburn brewers’ control, and hopes for better things from Thwaites at the Manchester Food And Drink Festival (Sept 18-29). Sleuth hears Sale supper club organiser Iain Devine won a competition to create a beer for the festival and combined the flavours of the world famous malt loaf made in Trafford Park with English Bramling cross hops, the beer is called 'Use Your Loaf'. Nice. Confidentials own beer guru Neil Sowerby joined Iain this week to help him brew twenty barrels. Neil hasn't been seen since, if you find Neil please give him a strong coffee, stick a stamp on his forehead and post him back to us. Ta.

Is he down there?Is he down there?

Online Ventures Get Stuck In 

Northern Quarter digital marketing company Online Ventures Group has produced a comprehensive report on Manchester that’s very comprehensive (113 pages of comprehensiveness) and looks at the present and future direction of the city. There are studies on business, tourism, education, lifestyle and so on. You can read it here. 

James Welch, OVG's chief technology officer, has a proper go at one aspect of the city in the report’s conclusion.

‘Manchester is the UK’s capital of juxtaposition. It is both bloody great and bloody stupid at the same time. It has the potential of a beautiful future but has an overuse of history weighing itself down.

‘You can genuinely feel the hum of a bright economic, business-led future somewhere around the corner, if not yet fully understanding its true direction, but you can also smell provincial, sycophantic glorification of the recent, undeserving, past everywhere you go.

‘Those people around the city that continually tell you that “Liverpool is not as good as Manchester”, or “London doesn’t respect Manchester”, and that “everything gets built in London”, or other pathetic statements need fumigating away from the city in double-quick time.’

Sleuth knows exactly what he means. Good on you James. We need a broad-minded view of Manchester's identity, thinks Sleuth, one where kids learn about the 25 Nobel prizewinners from city just as much they know about football and music. We need to be more intelligent from the bottom up.

Confidential Editor Jonathan Schofield will be reviewing the report in-depth next week.

Let's not be parochial eh?

Let's not be parochial eh?

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

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

I'm looking forward to reading the report, but London and the South East does get 80% of the countries infrastructure budget, so it's not wrong to think that this small part of the country gets far too much, and it should be spread across the country more evenly.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 7th 2014.

Sure, but apparently it's now considered "uncool" for chip on their shoulder northerners to complain about such things anymore. Right, Mr Welch & Sleuth?

JuiceSeptember 5th 2014.

"Funny how some don't take offence until they're told too..." Yep. This farrago has been an wash of knee-jerk group-think, looking-to-be-offended, presuming the motivations of other people, and 'I-don't-like-it-and-it-has-a-gender-angle-ergo-it-is-sexist' horseshit, that has left me feeling more than a little alienated as a feminist-sympathising man. And I speak as someone who thinks Almost Famous probably ARE total dickheads. That said, I'm sure they won't be crying about getting another news story in a national paper.

1 Response: Reply To This...
JuiceSeptember 5th 2014.

*a wash #spellingnazi

Trish KarneySeptember 5th 2014.

Glad to see the "team" at "Famous" get a bit of stick

6 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

Ye, because you're a prat.

Trish KarneySeptember 5th 2014.

Ah, a "Famous" fanboy and some hard words...

Calum McGSeptember 5th 2014.

AF is brilliant. I couldn't care less about the average service or tasteless decoration... they serve superb burgers and that's enough for me. Trish, why aren't you a fan?

AnonymousSeptember 6th 2014.

If only the service was average that would be a step up from the usual dire service. Have to agree over the tasteless decor though. Being a guy I am in no position to know what is written on the walls of the ladies facilities. There might have been similar things written on the walls of the men's room but it was so dark in there I couldn't see. Getting a restaurant concept right isn't difficult. You need good food at appropriate prices in a pleasant atmosphere with great service. AF sells mediocre food at premium prices in the atmosphere of a rundown club at 3 in the morning with the worst service of any restaurant in the city. When I read it was in bother I really hoped it had been found out and gone bankrupt.

GooseSeptember 6th 2014.

Well Anon, considering how popular AF are, perhaps your idea of getting a 'restaurant concept right' isn't quite right? Just an idea.

AnonymousSeptember 6th 2014.

Popularity is no basis on which to judge a restaurant. Mc D's are even more popular than AF, but can't compare to the city's good restaurants. Having said that McDs have far superior customer service to AF. AF remain, on so many levels, a very poor dining experience. There will always people who will be happy with a poor experience if thy are told enough that it is 'cool' to go there.

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

Ooh excellent. I love to see Marina O'Loughlin put down a peg or two. The comments following her 2012 review of the Rose Garden (Didsbury) in the Guardian are some of the best I've ever seen www.theguardian.com/…/rose-garden-manchester-restaurant-review…

1 Response: Reply To This...
TimbucSeptember 10th 2014.

Then you have a pretty low standard. The comments after that review made northerners look insecure and whiny.

Lorraine ByrneSeptember 5th 2014.

I thought the wall was amusing at Almost Famous - made me giggle, certainly no offence was taken.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

You're only one person though. If it offends/upsets some people, it needs to go. It had and so it went - excellent move by the almost famous team. But this article's smug tone is a load of bull - the toilets in Manchester had been noticed & commented on by lots of people I know. It offended me because I know that a lot of almost famous' female clientele will feel that their hair is too frizzy, or their thighs are too big. They ARE ridiculous insecurities but highlighting it to the group that the media builds these insecurities in isn't constructive or funny, it's, at best, really pretty weird &, at worst, reinforcing the bullshit misogyny women experience. I know, I know - I just love being the victim. The Caitlin Moran test of misogyny is always useful - are the guys having to put up with this too? I asked my other half whether the men's almost famous toilets had lines about the typical male insecurities plastered everywhere, 'MY COCK IS TOO SMALL', 'I CAN'T MAKE HER COME'? Turns out the walls in the bloke's have nothing. So yeah, it is pretty fucking unfair. It would also be nice if bitch juice could be renamed (again, also not a new complaint). Who finds this stuff funny? Much love, A feminist bully

JuiceSeptember 5th 2014.

Lorraine found this funny, as did some commentators on the Guardian's article and on the food writer's blog also found it funny. There are clearly different perspectives on this, and seeking to impose one's own onto other people, and throwing round accusations of misogyny IS bullying.

DigsterSeptember 6th 2014.

I have to agree with Lorraine - it's never bothered me either. Probably because I have got more important things going on in my life than to take offence at what is written on a toilet wall.

AnonymousSeptember 11th 2014.

Seems that some people just go out in the morning looking for something to offend them...

AnonymousSeptember 11th 2014.

You only need to glance over the morning's free Metro paper for that to happen.

NickySeptember 5th 2014.

Oooo.... Look forward to seeing what happens at lounge10. Used to love it!

JD68September 5th 2014.

Why do people allow feminist bullies to dictate to them when the majority of normal people aren't at all offended.

1 Response: Reply To This...
TimbucSeptember 10th 2014.

Wow, you know a lot of people if you're able to speak for the majority and only normal people too. Well done you. From the sample of women I've spoken to there was a minority who wanted to kick off about it and a majority who thought it was pretty vile but so par for the course of what they come across day to day that they just couldn't be bothered. Just because people put up with it doesn't mean that they don't care or that it is right.

AnonymousSeptember 5th 2014.

Do I recall the women's toilets in Artisan have a trashy/discriminatory name ?? I can't think of it. Help anyone?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousSeptember 6th 2014.

I believe it's called The Bitching Room

LesleySeptember 6th 2014.

Bitching room from Living Ventures!!! Shocking. Why? Anyone out there from Living Ventures to offer a reply ?

AnonymousSeptember 6th 2014.

Men don't have to be on the receiving end,because let's face it all these venues are mostly owned by men.And behind the hipster facade some of them are just sexist as the nightclub owners of the past were.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Simon TurnerSeptember 6th 2014.

Yes! One of the rare instances when an anonymous comment left at 2.45am in the morning is exactly right.

AnonymousSeptember 6th 2014.

QUOTE "...you can also smell provincial, sycophantic glorification of the recent, undeserving, past everywhere you go." Here in Manchester, really? Please explain Sleuth, since you claim to know exactly what this guy means.

AnonymousSeptember 6th 2014.

Why would Manchester's most successful restaurant businesses call their ladies toilets the Bitching Room? Why? Anyone from Living Ventures going to offer a response?

6 Responses: Reply To This...
GooseSeptember 6th 2014.

Why wouldn't they? Why shouldn't they?

AnonymousSeptember 6th 2014.

Why not call it the 'whores room' then,and the mens 'the clients room',if names don't matter Goose.

AnonymousSeptember 6th 2014.

If the owners of these restaurants looked like Bernard Manning or Peter Stringfellow and so could be made to fit a certain stereotype,they would not be excused their obvious sexism.

GooseSeptember 7th 2014.

Yes, that's obviously the same thing, isn't it? No. See, this is part of the problem: people not being to see things in shades of grey, but seeing something that's perhaps a little bit pushing at the boundaries of good taste, and losing their fucking minds over it.

AnonymousSeptember 7th 2014.

They not artists,comedians or writers pushing at the boundaries of good taste.Just a bunch of boring corporates recycling the same old sexist crap that was around in 1970s.

TimbucSeptember 10th 2014.

Agreed anon. Pushing the boundaries of good taste? I call bullshit. Same goes for shades of grey.

Poster BoySeptember 7th 2014.

'Taking offence' is becoming a narcissistic national pastime...

5 Responses: Reply To This...
rinkydinkSeptember 8th 2014.

What's wrong with whistling at females? They're free to whistle back. And free to whistle first! Most guys would love that. Some people seem to actively seek things to take offence at. Sad people... I feel sorry for them. Life is far too short

AnonymousSeptember 8th 2014.

Will a bit of racist banter be acceptable as well Rinkydink?

AnonymousSeptember 8th 2014.

Racism is an mean spirited artificial construct that has no basis in human development. A healthy interest in the opposite sex is a biological imperative....we will be in a real mess if the sexes stopped having an interest in each other. As a guy I've had my butt pinched on several occasions by appreciative females. In the office a def no no. At a party? No probs.

AnonymousSeptember 8th 2014.

Pinching women's bottoms as a male office sport is harassment

AnonymousSeptember 8th 2014.

Is women pinching men's bottoms not harassment as well? Because it does happen.

tblzebraSeptember 8th 2014.

Maybe you need to check this out Rinkydink, as it's quite illuminating (and scary to find out what some men think is acceptable behaviour). twitter.com/EverydaySexism… everydaysexism.com/…

2 Responses: Reply To This...
Poster BoySeptember 10th 2014.

Politically incorrect misandry.

AnonymousSeptember 11th 2014.

Read some of the comments and could have added some of my own. Only problem is that as a guy who, having been harassed by women on occasion, they would not been taken seriously and dismissed. Everyday sexism affects men as well.

AnonymousSeptember 8th 2014.

Marina didn't do a U-Turn - she didn't mention the food or say it wasn't fun...she pointed out that the AF PR hounds were out in force commenting on the original blog.

Trish KarneySeptember 8th 2014.

EDITORIAL COMMENT: This comment was simply too vulgar to allow the genteel, cultured, diverse and polite readership of Manchester Confidential to be exposed to, Ms Karney. It has been removed.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Trish KarneySeptember 8th 2014.

My apologies. Then in more polite terms: One outraged feminist's obscure blog provides burger bar with some publicity. And something to do with mice.

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