What's going on in Manchester restaurant land?
Establishment and Le Mont were ambitious if flawed attempts at fine dining. Both have now closed. I'll be honest, I could never get excited about either. The last time we went to Establishment was a lovely evening with great service and superb food. I've heard horror stories about the service and attitude at Le Mont, I thought the main flaw was a chilly atmosphere.
Lounge Ten is a huge favourite of Patrick Loftus, who I had lunch with yesterday (at the distinctly average Olive Press). He likes Lounge Ten's character. I've not been for so long I can't remember. But it's despised in equal measure by Wolfie and Jason, two good pals of mine who know a thing or two about good manners and customer service.
Add to this the heavy atmosphere of moody intimidation in the so-called designer bars with gangsters, wannabee celebs and pseudo WAGs, read about that here. The crime is a worry - San Carlo got robbed last month. We're left with pretty poor scene, frankly. Plenty of upmarket average, as I've said before.
Manchester Confidential has a sparky debate about it, here, with an insightful - if slightly pompous - intervention by "Ray", who is almost certainly Ray King the former columnist from the Manchester Evening News.
I think there may be an opening in one of the new hotels that are planned, and the River Room at the Lowry Hotel has the potential, especially now they have wisely erased the name Marco Pierre White from the menu. He came here once, what a prat. Anyway, I'm off to the Lowry on Thursday for a catch up with Steve Broomhead. I'll let you know.