I wrote this the other day, for a forthcoming guide:
In the last year Manchester’s professional centre of gravity has probably been drawn towards San Carlo where a rich mixture of ladies who lunch, footballers, insolvency experts and celebrities sit cheek by jowl for fish specials and Italian grills. Ask for a booth along the edge if you want to be seen as important.
I was there today with a couple of big hitters from round and about. The food was very, very good - sole, zucchini, spinach and a fresh glass of Pinot Grigio. Even the coffee was sharp.
We didn't get a booth, but those that did included a load of guys from this insolvency firm, just along from them was Bryan Robson and some pals. At the bar was The Plumber holding court with some rough looking blokes, no doubt discussing his latest plan to buy Real Mallorca, inventing a pipe or suing someone. I'm weary of his stories, so I didn't say hello. The place was also full of "ladies who lunch" talking about Abersoch and Barbados. I also overheard someone else making arrangements to take a helicopter down to Cheltenham next week for the racing.
Someone else, a lawyer with a big firm, bragged loudly that only bad businesses are under threat in this recession, and those with "bad finance". An hour later I heard a recurring rumour that his firm was on the brink of administration (not true, as it happens, but what irony).
Is there a recession on, or is this place the last chance saloon?