Linen at Manchester 235

Sunday, March 23rd, 2008

When one reaches one’s forties, birthdays are quickly forgotten.  They are not anticipated with the same excitement of youth, rather the disdain and fear of middle age.  Nonetheless, they are still a cause for celebration and an opportunity to go and splash a few quid on some top nosh and wine.  This year we went to Linen in the lofty (metaphorically and physically) surroundings of Manchester 235 Casino.

Just Linen, or any sort of textile?

My camera was not welcome for obvious reasons.  The discretion of the clients (and I will indiscreetly mention that most of the Man United team were in that evening) is clearly important.  I am also sick of getting papped by photographers from the Daily Mail who have clearly mistaken me for a footballer or some TV star (yeah right…).


The Modern, Manchester

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Is it possible to feel remote in a city centre?  I think it is.  I am not talking about loneliness, or feeling culturally distant from people stood next to you.  I am talking about sitting in silence whilst the world goes on several floors below.  This is what the atmosphere is like at The Modern in Manchester.

Can you spot the Modern?  I can…for some reason


Cocotoo, Sistine Chapel of Manchester

Friday, March 14th, 2008

Have you ever slept under the railway arches?  It’s not typically a pleasant place.  Certainly not a place you would choose to sleep.  But if it’s raining and you have no fixed abode, well, everything is relative.

I nodded off under the arches near Oxford Road station on Whitworth Street in Manchester.  Thankfully, someone had been thoughtful enough to build an Italian restaurant around me that was warm and welcoming (not that I would have noticed given the amount of alcohol canoeing through my veins).

Manchester by night - Cocotoo


Sam’s Chop House, Manchester

Monday, March 10th, 2008

If you want to dine in a beautifully preserved piece of British Victorian architecture.  If you want to eat traditional English grub like fish ‘n’ chips, corned beef hash and steak and kidney pudding.  If you want to be served by professional, traditionally dressed, polite and informed waiting staff.  And if you want to do this with a cracking fine wine list to choose from, there is only one place to go.  Sam’s Chop House in Manchester.

Sam’s - fine wines and proper food….for some reason


Binary Bar, Manchester

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Yes or No?  True or False?  Right or Wrong?  One or Zero?  There are 10 types of people in the world.  Those that understand binary and those who don’t.

A new concept has been launched in Manchester close to my flat.  It’s a Stealth Bar.  Stealth in the sense that nobody knew it was coming and nobody noticed when it arrived.  Do the owners know more about base 2 numbers than marketing?

Can you see Binary?  YES or NO???


Gio Gio, so good they named it twice!

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

I went to see Private Lives, the excellent Noël Coward play, at the equally excellent Library Theatre, St Peter’s Square, Manchester.  So needing sustenance to prevent my guests having to suffer the slings and arrows of my outrageous belly rumbles, we pulled in to Gio’s on Lower Mosley St, opposite the Midland Hotel.

Gio boxers - full at 6:30pm????

There is a brilliant pre-theatre menu at £8.95 for two courses.  I picked the Insalata Caprese and the Penne Tagliatelli alla Francesca.

Here’s a tip.  When you order a pasta dish, always mix and match the pasta with the sauce.


Pacific Thai, the struggling sibling

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Manchester is one of, if not the, best cities in the world.  So you will not be surprised to hear that I find Manchester’s Chinatown to be even better than London’s.  I admit that I have never been to San Francisco where Chinatown has its own website so must be impressive.  But for now, let me tell you that if you fancy Chinese food, Manchester is a better place to eat it than Peking.  At the risk of supercalifragilisticity, let’s drill down a little further.  Pacific is one of the best Chinese restos in Manchester Chinatown.

Neon Promise - Eastern Failure

So it was natural to want to check out the second floor (which is the Thai menu) and presumably just as good as the Chinese on the floor below?  Er, no….


Manchester’s Curry Mile

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Growing up in Manchester, I remember when Moss Side and Rusholme were “no-go” areas, except of course on Saturday afternoons when I was happy to pay some kid on a bike a couple of quid to “look after my car” whilst I went to Maine Road to follow the mighty blues.

Come to think of it, they have not been all that mighty since the mid seventies….until recently.  Third in the premiership and playing like Brazil (not soooooooo surprisingly since Svennis signed two Brazilian players).

For the benefit of George Dubya Bush, I ought to explain that a “Brazilian” is not in fact, a huge number, or a “hair” style, but a national of the S.American country, Brazil.

Curry favour


San Carlo – Ivy of the North….for some reason

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

The somewhat entertaining, but supercilious and frequently AWOL Sunday Times restaurant critic, AA Gill, rarely extends his gastronomic tentacles beyond central London.  So I was surprised to see that he had, according to a poster at Piccadilly rail station, nominated San Carlo in MANCHESTER as the best Italian restaurant outside the capital.  Surprised not only because he had ventured so far north as to get the apocryphal nosebleed, but also because San Carlo is far from the best resto of any type anywhere.

San Carlo - no entry for minor celebs


Dimitris – my first encounter with Greek wine

Wednesday, September 26th, 2007

Greek food, on the whole, is well known to be incredibly healthy, especially when compared to typical English and American diets.  Greek wine by contrast is just not well known at all.  So when I saw a bottle on the wine list of Dimitris in Manchester, I had to give it a try.

Dimitris from Deansgate

Every table had a “reserved” sign, the day we visited Dimitris for Sunday lunch.  Fortunately these were not real reserved signs, but merely little Hellenic white lies, so we sat down.