Manchester- Great City But Not For Food!

Posted on: 27/10/2014

I love Manchester. It is a vibrant City, with some impressive buildings and much excellent redevelopment, especially near the canals. It is also very easy to get around, whether walking, or using public transport. For those who need regular retail therapy, there are many shops to tempt them into another "fix".

The only facet of Manchester which is at all disappointing is in relation to eating out.

The city centre  does have one or two excellent restaurants. The French at the Midland Hotel stands out, though getting a table is akin to obtaining an audience with the Pope. There must also be honorable mentions for the Australasia and Manchester House, both of which can be outstanding. After that, however, the restaurant scene is largely an unappetizing stew of mediocrity.

For some reason, large Italian eateries are a significant part of the Manchester culinary vista. Packed and noisy, they are fine for basic pasta but, then again, so is your kitchen at home. Why bother to go out for something you could make for yourself in 20 minutes?

Then again, sometimes simple, wholesome food is what you are looking for. In that context, there is not much that any restaurant should be able to get wrong with a Fillet Steak, so that is what I and my chums decided to have last night.

Alas, there was a lack! The Malmaison took our booking and eventually found us a table but, as our waiter took the order for our steaks, he was warned by the maitre d' to check that the fillet  had not been sold out. Sadly, it had! Cue a storming exit from the premises, via the front desk, with dire warnings given as to our intended use of Trip Advisor to rubbish the establishment.

Our exit took us swiftly across the road to Michael Caines Abode. There, we obtained a table and were handed menus, only to informed again that the fillet steak, along with several other varieties of meat,  was out of stock. Another angry departure followed, with the " I only work here" waiter advised that he shouldn't. 

Our search for a decent steak continued. Visits to two more restaurants revealed them to be about as charming as a walk along the Blackpool Prom. We exited without even reading the menus.

Then it was back to the Midland Hotel, but, just after 9PM, none of their restaurants were open!

So we hit the streets again. Nearby, we did find a Steak House with fillet in stock - but they had no liquor licence. Red meat without red wine? Unthinkable!

Finally, we were desperate enough to be attracted by one of those vast Italian ( the venue, not the staff) caverns which Mancunians seem to love. Fillet steak was again sold out,  but the T Bone was acceptable, though covered in a pepper sauce, which I had fondly assumed would be served on the side?. The wine was awful and the service surly but, to be fair, the place claims to have been around for 25 years, so perhaps it is capable of better. I wont be back to find out.

So Manchester leaves much to be desired as far as those who care about food are concerned. Perhaps we should have settled for Harry Ramsdens near Old Trafford. Basic but honestly so, unlike the more pretentious but pitiful establishments in the centre of town.

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