MANCHESTER FOOD AND DRINK – RESTAURANTS
* LOUSY ** ADEQUATE *** AVERAGE **** ABOVE AVERAGE ***** FANTASTIC
BAR BURRITO ** Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. Mexican fast food restaurant that works rather like a branch of Subway, with options for different kinds of Burrito, including Vegetarian deals, and choices of salads and cheeses. Some extras are inclusive in the prices, while others come at a modest extra price. Nice American Diner style seating plans.
BUFFET CITY ***** PORTLAND STREET MANCHESTER. Situated right above FAB Cafe, my favourite City Centre Bar, Buffet City is one of the best and most popular of Manchester's all you can eat Chinese buffets, with choices ranging from seaweed, to Squid and such, as well as traditional sweet & Sour Pork, or chicken. They also have a fantastic sweet trolley, and often serve fortune cookies too. Popularity can make the restaurant very crowded, and a long queue is common. If going in a large group, pre-book first.
CORNERHOUSE *** - The Cinema on the corner of Oxford Road & Whitworth Street, Manchester. An eclectic, frequently changing menu of good quality meals, though service can be slow, so if dining before watching a film, give yourself plenty of time.
CUP ***** Thomas Street, Northern Quarter. – Lovely little café catering largely to the vegetarian community, with an eclectic menu and very friendly service, though a little expensive. There is a novel selection of old fashioned soft drinks like Dandelion & Burdoch and Root Beer. An excellent staging venue for folk and poetry events.
EL RINCON DE RAFA ***** Longworth St, off St John's St M3 3BQ. Lovely Spanish Tapas bar with a menu on which everything looks so tempting - I settled for Sea Bass, meatballs and Salamis, in separate dishes of course. No one in our party had room for puddings afterwards. Normal tables for small groups, with benches made from old church pews for larger groups - food to die for.
METRO BUFFET BAR **** Piccadilly, on the corner of Newton Street. A good decent all you can eat Chinese restaurant, typical of its kind, with special offers that come and go. You se a sign offering two meals for the price of one, and get an even number of friends together for a night dining there, only to find the offer withdrawn just as you arrive.
MONSOON NIGHTS –*
Wilmslow Road. Rusholme, Possibly the worst eating out experience
I have ever had. The Monsoon Nights
had been used by many of my friends before and they were returning with some
enthusiasm. Something had clearly gone wrong in the
meantime however and it was far from merely my own dislike of what was to
come as you will see here.
Attending in a party of 22 though one that had pre-warned them and booked some time in advance, and offered updates on numbers to be expected once certain how many of us were attending, may present some hiccups in service, but when it took up to one and a half hours to even get the starters out, patience was wearing thin. Worse, three of us, myself included got nothing at first, someone ordering a meat Samosa got a
vegetarian one. Pointing out quite politely that my requested 'King prawn butterfly' hadn't arrived I was after another ten minutes, handed a grilled fish dish. Pointing out that this wasn't what I had ordered I was told that the prawns were off but that this was similar. As it was getting late and it looked nice enough I accepted it, though I was not happy that 1/. They hadn't simply told me they knew they had no prawns. 2/. They had simply then tried not serving me anything. 3/. They decided I'd have this fish instead of letting me re-select something myself from the menu. Similar nonsense tactics applied in the other cases of missing food. While our table might have kept them busy if they had lots in on other
tables, they were actually very quiet, with at peak only 12 other diners beside us. So when another 30 minutes passed before the main dishes arrived and one of our party angrily told the waiters that she had to leave now without having had any food, adding her dissatisfaction that the ladies loo had no doors on its cubicles (the gents seemed OK) a ripple of applause erupted from the other tables and was joined in by our own. One chap nearby shouted over, 'Glad it's not just us then'. There was further mutiny when one small group shouted, "If we don't get the bill in the next five minutes we're leaving anyway'. Their bill duly arrived.
Hot plates arrived for us, and the main curry itself, which was rapidly cooling by the time the rices and nans appeared. Worse, people ordering hot variations on curries like Jalfrezis received the mild ones and vice versa, having to get the staff to swap them around. Food finally served (and the food itself was excellent - shame about the service) we also ended up waiting interminably for the bill. The couple who booked the
restaurant entered into a fiercely contested negotiation to have the bill content reduced due to the sheer scale of screw up we'd faced. (for which we never received the slightest hint of apology) The staff tried charging us for the full price of the meals they hadn't served instead of often cheaper
alternatives inflicted against our will, and even after reducing the cost down to a blanket £7,50 per head (it might have cost about £16-£18 per head which we would have paid gladly if service had gone smoothly) they then tried to recall for it to go up to £9. but were held down to the £7.50 each and no one left a tip. We started out at 9 PM and it was 12.10 am when we left, we had only had two course s and two drinks each and it had taken over three hours. As we left, some of our party noticed a mysterious car with five men who looked as if they were carrying sticks and clubs parked nearby. We wondered if they had been called out on standby in case we either started to get too angry or did a runner..... suffice to say the Monsoon Nights has lost itself this customer for sure. It was beyond simply poor service, it was the stuff of legends....... Such is life.
RICE ** Piccadilly Gardens, Manchester. varied meals available with a rich assortment of rices and starters. There are Chinese stir fry, Jamaican Jerk Chicken, and many others to choose from. Service is fast, though food often comes in a cardboard take-away box, rather than on a plate. There was a brief use of plates for eat-in customers but the practice was quickly abandoned. The food is excellent, and often very hot. The meats often rest on top of the rices, so it is best to mix them together before eating or you get a heap of rice on its own at the bottom of what looks like a pot noodle container. Eat in or take out. A good place for a quick stop over meal on route to other places.
ROWNTREE’S CAFÉ * Manchester Arndale Centre, High Street entrance side. Poor service sticks in the mind after a visit far more than the café’s reasonably decent food I arrived early for a breakfast, and though not too busy the staff virtually ignored me until I drew attention to myself. They brought the wrong drink, and messed up my change too as I left. The tables set for two are small, and had a second diner joined me there would have been no room for two plates. They also have oversized salt/pepper dispensers and sugar saches.
SWEET MANDARIN ***** - HIGH STREET, NORTHERN QUARTER - MANCHESTER - Delightful diner which has inspired a best-selling book - see a full review at manchester.food-sweet.mandarin.htm
TASTE MASTERS * Oldham Street, Manchester. A kebab should hold together within the pitta bread so that you can wrap it up and eat it by hand like a sandwich - Taste Masters saturate theirs in so much sauce that the bread disintegrates and the kebab swims in a very soggy soup - Utterly revolting. Quite what 'taste' they have mastered is unknown to me.
TIGGI'S - ***** Market Street, Bolton - Lovely Italian Restaurant, serving piping hot still cooking while you eat it lasagne to die for.
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