Saints and Scholars, Didsbury

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

Another epic walk out of Manchester and we decided to see what had happened to beloved Maine Road on the way to Didsbury for lunch at Saints and Scholars.

Saints and Scholars, Didsbury


The Northern Quarter, Manchester

Friday, June 20th, 2008

I met Rob McIntosh in Manchester, the night before the UEFA Cup Final (Rangers lost 2-0).  Piccadilly Gardens was packed and all the pubs were overflowing with friendly but very pissed Glaswegians.  Fortunately, the Scots had not found the Northern Quarter, an eclectic mix of trendy, funky, bohemian bars, clubs, clothes shops and arty establishments.  Rob had spotted the old fish market earlier and a bar/resto on the other side of High Street confusingly named The Northern Quarter.

Opposite the old Fish Market - photo by Rob McIntosh


Carmenère from the Devils’ cellar

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

Do you remember my epic conquest of the Bridgewater Canal in Manchester?  My flag at the “summit”, otherwise known as the King’s Ransom in Sale, was a glass of 2006 Casillero del Diablo Carmenère (some say Carménère – in fact a Wikipedia “discussion” has broken out – ooooooh my!).

Casillero and Ronnie O'Sullivan...the devil of snooker


Spanish wine tasting at Kro2, Manchester

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Twas the eve of the UEFA cup final when all through the house, nothing was stirring, not even a mouse.  However, Scots and Russians littered the streets of Manchester and made a right old din too.  In fairness, Glasgow Rangers fans travel brilliantly and even though they lost the final (2-0) they remained in great spirit, and enormously friendly.

One of the advantages of writing a weblog is that on average it connects you to much more interesting people than, say, Facebook, or visiting a cup final.  Having previously conversed only in cyberspace, Rob kindly invited me to a wine tasting in Manchester.  I wasn’t about to say no to the opportunity to taste more wine, never mind meet a new face, so….erm….. I said yes.

The evening was jointly hosted by Kro2 bar, Dinastia Vivanco, Castillo de Clavijo, and Bibendum.

Wino's notes 


Numéro, Manchester 235

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

You may remember I visited Linen, in the lofty part of the posh casino for my last birthday.  The other restaurant at Manchester 235 is Italian, on the ground floor next to the entrance and has the advantage of not having to be a member of the casino to enter and eat.

Numéro is an odd layout, with a bar in the middle and a simple opaque glass screen separating diners from the gaming tables.  The service is efficient and pleasant and the food is decent.  But if you do intend to go to the casino afterwards, I would recommend booking for Linen.

Italian letters or French numbers?  Or is that the other way around?

Linen, you see, is already the other side of painful casino security, and at meal finishing time on a Saturday there is a big queue.  Secondly, the atmosphere is classier, the prices similar, there is live music, the wine list is better and perhaps most importantly, you are more likely to get your wine served at the right temperature in Linen.


Loaf, Deansgate Locks, Manchester

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

How do you eat mussels?  As a child on holiday in Nantes, I was taught to eat them by breaking the shells apart, using one half to scoop out the flesh in the other, then to use the remnants to paint a Lautrecian masterpiece.

I don’t buy the noncy idea of using one full shell in a pincer movement like a crustacean Pacman, that is for Londoners.  One area you and I probably agree on is that to dispense with the shells in the small waste bowl requires some imagination, some organisation, and demands some artistic endeavour.

How do you eat yours?


Café Istanbul, Manchester

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008

Istanbul was Constantinople, now it’s Istanbul not Constantinople, but I am pleased to find it alive and well on Bridge Street.  To be fair it doesn’t look all that great from the outside.  Not very Byzantine.  Let’s open the box and go inside.

Istanbul was Constantinople, now it’s a resto…for some reason


King’s Ransom, Sale, Cheshire

Thursday, April 24th, 2008

The map looked interesting.  Leaving central Manchester on the towpath of the Bridgewater Canal, we would simply walk to Sale, a brief stroll of about 5 or 6 miles.  Surely there would be friendly pubs at every bridge?  No.  Surely it would be an interesting walk through historic architecture and Manchester’s trading history?  No.  Well, perhaps a decent stroll along a pretty canal path?  Thrice no.

Fortunately the walk ended at a quality pub in Sale.  The tramstop is right opposite the pub.  Can you guess how we got back to town?

The food is cheap despite the name…for some reason


Mr Thomas’s Chop House, Manchester

Monday, April 14th, 2008

After my review of Sam’s Chop House raised a bit of a storm about people’s privacy, I was reticent about reviewing the sibling, Mr Thomas’s.  After waiting for about 243 minutes behind a twitcher’s tent, I finally found a moment when the coast was clear and grabbed a quick snap (below).  If only the atmosphere inside was as interesting….

Mr Thomas’s splendid Victorian building


Simple Bar, Manchester

Sunday, April 6th, 2008

As dark and dingy restaurants go, Simple is amongst the darkest, although to be fair not dingiest I have visited.  I admit my eyesight is deteriorating with age, and I struggle to read small text at a distance closer than you would view a computer screen, but we were sat beneath the aircon unit, unlit, and whilst other tables had an odd spotlight to illuminate, even the red candle on our table couldn’t reveal to me any of the menu contents. 

Dark and dingy - I couldn’t read the menu without a torch!