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Sleuth 07/01/2011

Claim a police callout, Luso and Dulcimer closes and new manager for Liverpool, United and City?

Published on January 10th 2011.

Sleuth 07/01/2011

Sleuth is a sideways glance at the city every week. We give £25 for every story/rumour and piece of absurdity you find for us to print. We ask for the money back if any legal action follows.

Claim your callout notoriety
Sleuth was talking to Smudge Jones after our exclusive article about Police callouts – click here. “I’ve had a look at that list,” said Smudge. “I’ve got a claim on one of the callouts: McTuckys in the Village. The girlfriend of a mate was a bit worse for wear and started an argument, which resulted in her boyfriend being hit with a beer keg.” The police arrived and McTuckys registered one of its 21 callouts. Sleuth wants to know if any of you lot have been the cause of any mischief on the list – are you present in the Hall of Shame?

Sleuth to manage Liverpool, Villa, United, City...but not Blackpool or Spurs
Given the reaction of football phone-in folk Sleuth reckons we should fire all the Premier League football managers. Hodgson’s not up to it, Houllier’s past it, Ancelotti can’t motivate anybody, Mancini’s too boring, Ferguson's too old, Di Matteo's too inexperienced, Pardew’s a proven failure, Hughes is too quiet, Pulis is too abrasive, McCarthy's too Yorkshire, Bruce is too frightening, Kean's too raw, McLeish is too negative, Moyes is too angry, Wenger can’t see anything, Martinez is too reasonable, Coyle wears unseasonal shorts and Grant is too detached.

But Redknapp and Holloway are insane. Therefore they should keep their jobs. Football suits them. Sleuth will manage the rest of the Premier League teams on a rota system. Or maybe do two teams every match, a half for each club. Sleuth’s already got experience with the Oswald Road u14s after all. And he’s got the Mackintosh coat as well.

Sleuth’s sporting advice.
If supporting England forget football and always go for middle class games with well-spoken fans and players such as cricket or rugby - occasionally we win at those.

Sleuth’s sporting question
Does any nation take losing at sport as badly as the Aussies?

New Year Resolutions
Sales director to Gordo in the Confidential kitchen: “So in 2011 are you going to be a bit more PC?” Silence. Pause. Laughter across the office.

Carluccios bill
Sleuth went with Gordo to Carluccios in Spinningfields. They had a couple of wines, some people joined them, more wine, some more people came in. Things mounted up. The bill is shown below. In truth, though, most of the £700k bill was down to buying a couple of salamis, a tub of olives and some bread from the deli counter for a snack later. Wow have you seen the prices there?

Manchester in the Midlands
Luke Bainbridge, ex-editor of City Life in Manchester, sent Sleuth the best bit of journalism he’s read on the Wikileaks/Assange/Guardian relationship. It’s very long, it’s very brilliant, it’s from Sarah Ellison at Vanity Fair (click here). Couple of curiosities in it. Sleuth loves the sentence, “Because the paper was initially published in the Midlands, the early editions in London were often filled with typos.” So that explains it. But is Manchester in the Midlands? Really.

The Guardian so proud of its heritage
In the excellent Vanity Fair report, see above, there’s a sentence which goes: ‘Rusbridger (the Guardian editor) told the story of John Edward Taylor and the Peterloo Massacre at a gathering last fall as he introduced a panel of three of his reporters to a group of readers in a public hall on the ground floor of The Guardian’s offices'.

This story revolves around how John Edward Taylor, the man who created the Guardian in 1821, reported the uncensored facts of the Manchester massacre in 1819, and thus established the principles by which the Guardian has subsequently been run. Sleuth thinks it’s good that Rusbridger is so proud of the Guardian's radical Manchester heritage...but not so proud as to see the Guardian sell off the MEN to Trinity Mirror last year, thus breaking the last meaningful link with the Manchester heritage of which he appears so proud.

Royal Bank of Scotland chokes on bacon
Gordo went for a bacon sandwich to a well-known local sandwich shop on Christmas Eve. It seemed all the offices of Manchester were treating their staff to some festive pig. There was a queue at the counter and a bottleneck caused by The Royal Bank of Scotland ordering over the phone 30-odd bacon butties for some of their staff.

After the umpteenth angry call from the bank demanding where the sandwiches were the sandwich shop manager took the phone from a beleaguered member of staff and said something like, “Listen we’re doing our best, and since all the taxpayers of the country saved your bank and kept you in a job not so long ago I’d shut up if I were you, be polite, be humble and let us get the bloody order finished.” He’s Sleuth’s New Year hero.

Luso, Duclimer and Charango closes
On the serious side of things, as announced yesterday in our Food and Drink Round-up we have at least five new bars and cafes looking to open in the Northern Quarter and elsewhere in the city - but there have been casualties as well and not just with Ego in Albert Square. In the city centre Luso, the Portuguese Colonial restaurant, has closed permanently, which is a loss for the range and quality of city dining – we’ve got a statement from the place going up later. In Chorlton, Dulcimer and Charango appear to have bitten the dust as well. Shame. More info when Sleuth gets it.

Sleuth alarmed by latest increase
After several meals out, huge roast dinners in, unknowable amounts of booze, hundreds of mince pies, a sneaky swig of the whipping cream from the fridge and a sudden weight increase, Sleuth is as alarmed by the 2.5% post-Christmas Fat Increase as much as anybody.

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

tasty!January 7th 2011.

Oh dear, Luso have closed? I am sure there is no correlation between your recent promotion and this closure..the curse of ManCon, I hope not!

NortherngeezerJanuary 7th 2011.

Shame about Luso.
i 'did' the deal and on the night i went, apart from a party upstairs, there were only 8 other people in.

AnonymousJanuary 7th 2011.

Real shame about Luso. One of the city's finest but somewhat undervalued.

Burt CodeineJanuary 7th 2011.

Shame about Dulcimer too...a fine ale and folky establishment.

czechpleaseJanuary 7th 2011.

Shame about Luso as I was due a free meal for 2 there after experiencing a rubbish one when I went in for the ManCon deal! There was me thinking how generous they were when they probably knew all along...!

GJHJanuary 7th 2011.

Luso is a sad loss. Had the 10 courses there not long ago, was very good value but I did wonder how on earth they could be making a profit on it. It did seem under promoted though.

Jane BaxterJanuary 7th 2011.

Yes I also went to Luso for the ManCon offer and had a terrible evening. They were in total chaos. The food took ages and the poor girl who was serving us was nearly in tears with all the complaints she had to deal with. When the owner finally appeared (and only after my friend naughtily said we were from the Good Food Guide) she was very apologetic and offered us a free dinner in the New Year. Are there any restaurant owners out there who would like to step in and offer 2 ladies a free dinner instead?

AnonymousJanuary 7th 2011.

Yep, the man con offer was a total shambles. Was told it was a "baby chicken egg" after asking, since they neglected to provide any menus (of course after checking later it was a quail's egg as suspected).

Some of the dishes were actually pretty good, but some were close to awful. That salmon dish was terrible, even discounting the plastic it arrived wrapped in.

Not at all surprised it's gone, and not that sad to be honest.

AnonymousJanuary 7th 2011.

shame about dulcimer. i suspect the debts from ostara have dragged the whole venture down. shouldn't have tried to carry on with charango if that's the case, the amount of money the place would have had to make to break even would have been astronomical.

Caroline FaulknerJanuary 7th 2011.

It's a shame about Luso as I always liked it but often uncomfortable to be the only people in there at the atmosphere was sometimes a lightly "odd". I think this is particularly unprofessional though, no matter how angry you are: http://twitter.com/#!/lusorestaurant

The GunJanuary 7th 2011.

Ah nice to see you've entered your pin code there for all the world, carluccio's staff will be shopping well this weekend

czechpleaseJanuary 7th 2011.

What does it say Flo? It won't let me see it - not sure if it's because I don't have a twitter account - but I see something along the lines of "What sort of a selfish twat..." when I google it....

Simon BowersJanuary 7th 2011.

We went to Luso on the offer, and had a great time!
However, there were about 10 other tables over the evening er dined, and about half of them were complaining pointlessly and loudly all night - if we were the owners we would have thought about closing - talk about being disillusioned, and we work in hospitality in the city!

SilverblueJanuary 7th 2011.

Gutted about Charango - consistently great tapas and service, was there for NYE.

AnonymousJanuary 8th 2011.

Loved Charango, they did the best Chilli around! Gutted!

AnonymousJanuary 8th 2011.

Apparently the Dulcimer/Charango ownership have filed for bankruptcy. As surmised above Charango's losses dragged the business down. Hopefully Dulcimer will be re-openning in a few months when financial matters are sorted. It's a shame as both venues are/were quality and it goes to show how hard it is to make a go when you you try something a bit out of the ordinary.

EARL OF DIDSBURYJanuary 8th 2011.

Sad Day for Manchester with my fave Luso shutting , one of the few decent restaurants in Manchester , we are beginning to be a city of chains i'm afraid , Gaucho , Abode , Jamies Italian and Browns( coming soon), chain town Manchester, no more sairdine pate for me ! boo!

Bobby BJanuary 9th 2011.

Maybe you should log hotels as well as you see Police at the Britnnia Hoel Portland everytinme we are goping for are taxis at the weekend , you see people fighting on the steps of the hotel, at the doors and on the street right outside

I feel sorry for the staff of this place who have to put up with all the horrible customers they attract because of the cheap prices for their tatty hotel rooms

Brian StevensonJanuary 9th 2011.

Sad to hear about Luso, which was an excellent restaurant. But have to say I saw it coming. Why ? Because they were charging too much for what it was, notably the extra payment for 'sides' racket. When I buy a main course I don't want the price hiked by having to order a couple of overpriced 'sides' to make up a normal sized meal. Luso were not the only offenders obviously - but there are still many good restaurants that don't operate this policy, such as Albert's in West Didsbury. In the end Luso failed on value for money.

Richard Hector-JonesJanuary 10th 2011.

Charango was a really good place, friendly staff and a particularly stunning Jodorwosky film poster on the wall.
It's still odd how Chorlton can't sustain interesting businesses such as this while its evil counterpart West Didsbury clearly can.
I do hope we get another pound shop or two out of this... every cloud and all that.

RayJanuary 10th 2011.

Re Luso, I too am saddened, as I remember it back in 2008 when the quality and value for money were terrific. A superb wine list too, showcasing the amazing value and flavours which Portugese wines can exhibit. Sadly, a visit in summer 2009 was shocking, with a rather abrupt/rude tall and slightly camp front of house chappy (I don't have a problem with height or campness btw!) being rather unresponsive to my comments on the food. It's been below par for a while, which is a real shame.

AnonymousJanuary 10th 2011.

Ray is right about the front of house chappy - I only went once (not on a deal) and was disappointed by the incredibly chewy baby octopus, salad emptied straight from a supermarket bag (the kind with the shreds of beetroot in it)and complete lack of atmosphere and other diners on a Saturday night. The brownie dessert was very good but not on its own worth £50+ before wine!

GMSJanuary 11th 2011.

RIP Luso. Here's hoping for some form of reincarnation. Sure the service had it's own personality, but that in many ways made it the place it was. I for one will miss you.

There is no recession...January 12th 2011.

just check the venue listings for concerts in January around Manchester, spoilt for choice, not ;-)

Chorlton JoeJanuary 12th 2011.


where there''s a doormanJanuary 12th 2011.

there's protection!

Doorman for freeJanuary 12th 2011.

you must be kidding. we're not a charity!

C RonaldoJanuary 13th 2011.

It is a shame about Luso but as others have said, you could see it coming a mile off. Personally, I thought the food was excellent and never had a bad meal there. That said, I never went when there were more than me and maybe two other tables in. Even then the food did take a lifetime to come out but I have to say, when it did come, it was always of a very high standard and offered something very different to anywhere else in Manchester. Why was it so quiet? The most over the top menu pricing known to man. What an earth were they thinking? Did anyone go to the busy places in town and look at their menu's to understand why they are busy? Someone else has already mentioned the sides being a bit OTT.

We are a city that love value for money - not cheap, just value for money. The reality, possibly, is that Luso couldn't cope being full every night. Half the place wouldn't get fed and the other half maybe suffering quality control issues (based on other rants).

Hopefully we'll get a new an improved version - oh, with comfier seats... those wooden things were painful!

GrapevineJanuary 14th 2011.

Interesting to see CJoes comments censored 'due to content'. Could ManCon not investigate further?

CHORLTON JOEJanuary 14th 2011.

I won't repost but it was one of the reasons I originally posted my comments. If this kind of thing is going on and affecting hard working folk who are trying to make a living, it should be investigated.

TearfulinchorltonJanuary 14th 2011.

Absolutely gutted about both Charango and Dulcimer. Both really good bars and Dulcimer was the only place in Chorlton that stayed open past 1am. I totally understand that it must have been the debts from Ostara that brought them both to their knees - I just hope that some clever entrepreneur invests and brings them both back to life. The sun terrace at Charango is brilliant on a warmish day with a good rioja and Dulcimer was the bar I frequented more than any other in Chorlton. (Especially when I wanted a boogie and a city centre atmosphere on a Saturday night without having to venture into the Northern Quarter only to have to wade through scantily clad wannabe WAGS and short-sleeve-shirt-wearing skinheads.) Ahh I miss the good old days of the Northern Quarter when I'd only have to wade through posturing poets and the odd advertising exec... (sob :o(

RIP Dulcimer and Charango - and good luck to the staff, hopefully both bars will be resurrected and the staff will get their jobs back...

grandmaster flushJanuary 14th 2011.

too much too many bars too much...hahaha

JenniferJanuary 18th 2011.

I'm very late to this but gutted to hear that Luso has bitten the dust. I've been there a few times a year since it opened and it was a firm favourite of mine.

I must admit that things were a bit fraught / chaotic (and below par if I'm honest) the last couple of times I was in before Christmas.

ManCon: you mentioned a statement from the owners - will that still be going up? I'd be interested to hear more.

Anyway, I wish the owners all the best and hope to see them again - in a new venture perhaps?

AnonymousJanuary 31st 2011.

An update: Charango has re-openned - initially just for drinks but, I understand, shortly just as before. Dulimer has been sold and will re-open soon. So, fears of wholesale barmageedon in Chorlton have proved, so far, premature...

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