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Manchester. Northern Quarter vs. Ardwick - late lunch/early tea for a Saturday

Evening folks

Heading to sunny Manchester this Saturday and hoping for recs pre a gig at the Apollo.

Will probably land around 4 ish and hopefully eat about 5.

Am looking at NQ bar & restaurant ( not been for years - still decent ?), or Superstore/Grocer ( mate has been and said it was okay - TA reviews are mixed )or Montpellier ( but am instinctively about sceptical about it for some reason).Please mercilessly critique this list !

All alternatives considered probably mid price range an something bistro-ish or good pub style. Nowhere that is gonna be sniffy about a be-jeaned appearance or which is too up its own ar*e please.

My ideal would probably be something like Marble brewery just on the other side of the city centre but happy to go a bit posher if the food is worth it !

Have blithely assumed that the NQ is my best bet but happy to corrected if there are better options closer to the Apollo.

All help very welcome.


Sep 15, 2014
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Bristol, Cotham, Stokes Croft, Cheltenham or Gloucester Road? For this weekend!

Okay folks

A little delayed, but here goes !

Friday night we ate at Bell's Diner


which friends told me was a 'Bristol institution' -only to discover that since they last visited it had become a 'small plates' place.Given that my other half's dad is a 'meat n two veg' kind of guy, this could have been very challenging. Happily both the food was great ( I was particularly keen on the salt cod fritters - as good as in Jose in Londontown - the squid - clearly fresh - and also the rabbit stew with pomegranate seeds - wonderful ! ) but the wine was also fantastic. Bro in law was even impressed with the gutsiness of the Dao we had.

Saturday lunch was unexpected find of the weekend - went to a little Italian place called Rosemarino


in Colston ( near Christmas steps ). Only stopped in for coffee but ended up having amazing tortellini with sweet potato and a crab and lemon bruschetta. Pasta was literally a melt in the mouth wonder. Best I have had for a loooong time. Would be intrigued to go in the evening when it may be less of an oasis of calm and loveliness.

Saturday evening was Bravas - of late recommended by Good Food Guide et al. This is trickier to be objective about - it was rammed so we sat at the bar. Near the antipasti holders to be precise, which = very little room to eat and/or food on jeans if you are a bit clumsy like me. Food was mixed - lentils with summer vegetables were sparklingly fresh and tasty - Iberico pork a la plancha was nice but a measely portion for £6.95 - essentially 7 pieces each smaller than a fresh anchovy - expensive particularly if you drop one en route to mouth like I did !! The fact that dropping one sticks in my mind says it all for me ( or perhaps about me ?!). Not great value. I would definitely go back midweek when it may be less frenetic, but on the evidence of last weekend Bell's is a better bet for quality food and a relaxed ambience.

Finished off the weekend at The Epicurean near Wrington <somerset.
for Sunday lunch.
I love this place - went en route back from Glastonbury on a sunny Monday in late June and it was just what the food doctor ordered. Fresh and earthy vegggies and decadent cheese on toast in an idyllic setting. Sunday lunch though was disappointing. First, prices are hoicked up to the £9 a starter £20 your main ( perhaps because it is small and delightful so people hang round all day...but that was the most expensive food we had all weekend). Second 'because we hadn't ordered starters' ( ??) our mains took well over an hour to rrive. Eh ? Is it just me ? this did not compute. To be fair they gave us free drinks. Fine for me as none driver on a sunny day sat in the garden. Less consolation for our DD.

Food when it came was lovely but, well, a bit lacking given the price tag, when we had already eaten so well elsewhere. None of that is to say do not go if you are in the area. It is a great place doing great organic food the right way. Just perhaps best avoided on a Sunday.

Would be interested, as ever to hear what others think.

Thanks again for your tips and help.

Sep 09, 2014
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Bristol, Cotham, Stokes Croft, Cheltenham or Gloucester Road? For this weekend!

thanks all

I knew the 'hounds wouldn't let me down.

Will report back if of interest ?

If not, thanks again anyway !

Aug 28, 2014
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Bristol, Cotham, Stokes Croft, Cheltenham or Gloucester Road? For this weekend!

Thanks for this. Am now told that other half's dad will be joining us, so something more traditional may be in order. Someone has mentioned Bell's diner to me...any good ?
Any other thoughts ?

Aug 27, 2014
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Bristol, Cotham, Stokes Croft, Cheltenham or Gloucester Road? For this weekend!

Thanks Harters

At least its not just me ! Slightly off topic but you been to anywhere new you rated particularly in my own fair city of Liverpool or elsewhere in the NW recently ?


Aug 27, 2014
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Bristol, Cotham, Stokes Croft, Cheltenham or Gloucester Road? For this weekend!

Hello folks

Down in Bristol this weekend and staying in Cotham.

Last time I was in the city I ate at Flinty Red and whilst it was good I didn't find it overly friendly... perhaps because there was a 'misunderstanding' with items appearing on our bill that we hadn't ordered... or because we booked and they still plonked us on the table right next to the door.

Anyway if best advice is to give it another try I will do, but what other places are there in this area (or across town) which are recommended?

Fairly relaxed cuisine wise (though Indian not a favorite unless amazing and fresh) but not into ostentation or 25 competing flavours when one or two quality ingredients get the job done better. Small plates approach favoured by my travelling companion but i am relaxed about that too. Happy to pay well for top notch grub, but nowhere up its own (insert preferred noun) please!

All suggestions gratefully received, thanks

Aug 26, 2014
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Vienna - looking for a reasonably priced traditional restaurant near Neubau

Lovely, thanks

Zum looks like a great place. Reminds me a bit of Renger-Patzsch in Berlin, fro how it looks. Would you recommend the bar or restaurant for lunch ? I assume the bar....

Mar 17, 2014
willowan in Europe

Vienna - looking for a reasonably priced traditional restaurant near Neubau

Brilliant, thanks for your help.
Checking out your other posts I see that you recommend Demel as the place to buy chocolate as a gift. Is that still the best place to go, and if so what do they specialse in ?

Also where would you choose for a casual lunch ( burger, sandwich and a good beer ) in the city centre, near the cathedral or within 10 minutes walk or so ? Or what would quintessence Austrain lunch fayre be, and where should we go and try it, in that area ? Moderate price bracket and not too smoke filled, if possible !

Thanks again !

Mar 17, 2014
willowan in Europe

Vienna - looking for a reasonably priced traditional restaurant near Neubau

Hello Sturmi

I wonder if you can help me

Have been reading, awestruck, your various comprehensive Vienna posts as I am visiting the city for the first time for three days in April ( Monday to Wednesday ).

The post above caught my eye, in particular as I will be staying at Kandlgasse, Vienna 1070 which seems to be right in this area where there seems to be an amazing choice of great places to eat.

I just wanted to check - are all of these places still as good as they were when you posted originally ?

Is there anywhere else you would add to the list now ?

Where would you choose to eat if you only had three nights ?

...and which of the three pizza places would you recommend, if my travelling companions insist on having none Austrian food ! My preference is for thin base margerhita only, with fresh basil

I also wondered what the microbrewery 'scene' is like in Vienna ? Any particular places you would recommend for dunkel style none mass produced beers ?

Hope these questions are specific enough. Happy to narrow down further if that would help !

Thanks in anticipation of any help you can give...

Mar 16, 2014
willowan in Europe


Hello everyone

Off to Krakow next weekend !

Is 'the sausage guy' still at large ?

Please confirm if his sausages are still top quality, and if so where can he/they be found ? !

Also, any other new places opened or bars/food places north of the main square - we are staying on , Jana Kochanowskiego


Nov 19, 2013
willowan in Europe

Just add thermals - please critique my preliminary Krakow list !

Thanks for the link

From those it seems that Wesele scores well ,but also




Cucina u doroty

get positive write ups !

Any thoughts on either of these or other places in the Jewish quarter ?

thanks for any further help you can give !

Nov 12, 2013
willowan in Europe

Just add thermals - please critique my preliminary Krakow list !

Hello all

Travelling to Krakow with mixed group of friends ( 30 somethings) for first time at end of November/start Dec.

Looking for recs for breakfast lunch & dinner for three nights.

Open to all cuisines but a mix of traditional places or those with modern takes on traditional Polish food would be great.

Also always keen to visit any 'must go there' places irrespective of if local cuisine or not. Places that serve great beer ( wheat beers and dunkels my preferences ) & great bar food in friendly atmosphere likely to go down well.

Tend to like simple and unstuffy venues.Will put up with cheesy decor if the food is worth it but not with 'up themselves' places or overly fussy service . Initial trawls suggest a wide variety of styles and foodie offerings.,but I have no sense of whether they are super touristy or the real deal ?
On my possibles list so far are the following.

Miod Malina

Pod baranem

Del papa


For breakfast perhaps ?

Moaburger -if need that burger fix at some point !

All thoughts, feedback and alternative suggestions would be massively appreciated.

many thanks

Nov 10, 2013
willowan in Europe

Munich made Simpl ?

What ?
No tips at all ?
I fly tomorrow.
All/any help gratefully received !

Oct 09, 2013
willowan in Europe

Munich made Simpl ?

Evening all

Am in Munich for a few days this weekend, just after all the festivities are over!
.Staying north of the centre ( Pulman , near Nordfriedhof station I think ) and wondered

-is this an area we should eat/drink in?
-if so any recs ?
- am a bit of a novice at German cuisine so anything goes, really !

-nearest place which comes up in various posts is Alter Simpl which looks like my kind of place , fairly unstuffy , simple food and decent beers ? only question given studenty vibe is whether three British mid 40's blokes are going to be a little, well, conspicuously inappropriate clientele ?
-also saw some posts for Locanda Picolit but is that now closed ? Perhaps I was looking at old posts ?

-also wondered which beer houses we absolutely have to go when in the city
-the more microbrew the better
-if they do food, even better, but good food nearby absolutely fine !
-I am a bit weisse fan, but equally dunkel friendly !
-Would rather avoid tourist traps..but then that's why I am posting here isn't it ?!
-Also intrigued by some posts about game and the autumn - any good places to go and particular delights to sample.?
All help- even signposting me on to other beer geek type websites, much appreciated


Oct 06, 2013
willowan in Europe

Any ideas for Liverpool?

Am intrigued by the Midland - room looks awful in pics I have seen but food reviews generally positive. Is it the real deal or all 'hairstyle', as it were ?

Sep 01, 2013
willowan in U.K./Ireland

islington or bermondsey tonight

Morning all
Quick trip to london.ate at pizarro last night -very good as ever .fancy either bermondsey again tonight or perhaps islington where i usually go to elk in the woods .
any tips ? Any cuisine apart from chinese or indian. Thanks !

Jul 22, 2013
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Please critique my 'old favourites' (London) for this weekend

PS - Village Underground website food recs are..... we suggest Tay Do on Kingsland Road or Ruby's on Hoxton Square.

Any thoughts ?

Usually i would steer clear of such sponsorship !

Thanks again

Jul 15, 2013
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Please critique my 'old favourites' (London) for this weekend

Hello folks

Am in London for a few nights from this Saturday

Current itinerary as follows

Sat evening - concert at Somerset House so have booked Terroirs for 18.00
Sunday - heading to Spitalfields market/Whitechapel area - where is good for lunch ? Used to go to Canteen but that was years ago.

Sunday evening - as staying in Tower Hill and weather forecast good have booked Pizarro - half hour walk across the bridge and great food when I was last there ( end of last year ). Is it still a good choice ?

Monday - Tate Britain - where for lunch round those parts ? Any decent pubs or other al fresco places ? Or even a decent deli to grab some picnic supplies ?

Monday evening - have booked Vinoteca - Soho branch on Beak Street - still worth a visit ?

Tuesday day - may head over to V&A, Serpentine gallery - anywhere particular there for good picnic supplies or a decent s ?

Tuesday evening - concert at Village Undergound -EC2A 3PQ. Any good pre gig haunts ? - as you will see from list above I tend to favour relaxed mid price or cheapish places rather than any high end nonsense.

All help and thoughts gratefully received. If any of my choices are now rubbish ,please let me know !


Jul 15, 2013
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Omniverous chow in Brussels ? Please check my list so far !

Come on Belgian hounds- can no one help at all ??!

Jun 09, 2013
willowan in Europe

Omniverous chow in Brussels ? Please check my list so far !

In Brussels with friends next weekend ,one veggie two not - looking for good chow of a tapas-y ( or otherwise eclectic ) nature.

So far looking at Appuntamento ( as per recent posts ) and Henri.

Moderate cost best. Bargains always welcome.

Thoughts on whether these two places fit the bill ? If so, do we need to book for Fri/Sat nights ?

Recs of good bars near to places above ( or other recs ) would be great. We are ( and so shall still be ) three blokes in early to mid 40's with a fondness for witte and wheat beers and looking for a mixed age crowd, a friendly vibe, with late music a bonus.

Friend of mine has recommended some places for beer and/or food.

Thoughts, good and bad,therefore welcome on the following...

1. Greenwich,Kartuizerstraat 7,1000 Brussel

2.De Skieven Architek,Vossenplein 50,1000 Brussel

3. Au bon des vieux temps

4.Mappa Mundo

5. http://deliriumcafe.be/bar/?

6. http://www.tapaslocas.be

Thanks for any help you can provide !

Jun 08, 2013
willowan in Europe

Amsterdam without romance ?


de bierfabriek looks perfect !

Would we need to book for a fri/sat night, would you say ?

Any other places worth popping to for a beer nearby ?

Any other classic beer locations that must not be missed ?

In de Wildeman is in all of the books - tourist trap or must visit ?

Thanks again for any help you can give !

May 22, 2013
willowan in Europe

Amsterdam without romance ?


Thanks for these ideas
Am intrigued by de Struisvogel - is it just fixed menu or can u order less than the set menu ? Also ,would we need to book for weekends ?
Any good bars nearby ?

Is Lucius good value as my travelling companion may think it a bit pricey !

Again ,any good bars on hand for 'afters' ?

May 22, 2013
willowan in Europe

Amsterdam without romance ?

Evening all

Off to Amsterdam at the end of the month , but with a friend as opposed to other half, hence no need for romance - just great food ( and beers ) !

Price bracket more towards moderate than high end. Prefer a locals vibe rather than touristy but not sniffy about it. Do want to avoid the red light district if poss. though - unless it has changed significantly since 2011.

When last in the city ate at Burgermeester - is that still good for a quality burger experience ?

Cuisine wise happy to range from good bar food ( esp if microbrews are on tap ) to bistro stuff.

Also keen to get some great seafood if that 'works' well. Squid and octopus particular favourites.

Ashamed to admit I know little about Dutch cuisine so some pointers there would be very welcome.

We are staying pretty centrally - Crowne Plaza - so places within a 20-30 minute stroll would be cool. We do have four nights though so if somewhere is a 'must eat' would be happy to commute. Also going to a gig at Paradiso one night so somewhere near there would be welcome.

Oh and where serves the best wheat beers without making a bloke in his mid 40's feel like he is past it ?! Late night bars ( particularly with live music ) where us 'older folks' might hang out with some quality beer would be gratefully noted.

Thanks in advance

May 20, 2013
willowan in Europe

Barcelona - are my two favourite places still great ?

Hmm - this is tough as I am going with 3 friends who have never been before and I love both P and PC but did go to them with my ex SO so new places may be psychologically prudent !

Any particular recommendations , given that we seem to have reasonably similar tastes ?!

Genlonch ?
Bar Mut

both seem to be quite well written up...

I almost went to Onofre last time I visted - is that any good ? Perhaps for lunch ?

Oh and is anywhere particularly good for squid or octopus ?

Thanks for any further pointers you can give !

Apr 17, 2013
willowan in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona - are my two favourite places still great ?

Thanks for this folks

Do you mean 41 degrees - the posh cocktails place ?
Has anyone eaten there ?

Also see that Gelonch gets good write up.
Anyone have any views on that ?

Or Bar Mut ?

Or new kid on the block Pakta ?

Apr 16, 2013
willowan in Spain/Portugal

Barcelona - are my two favourite places still great ?

Hello everyone,

I was last in Barcelona in 2007.

My two favourite places were Paco Meralgo for marvelous tapas ( though quite pricey, as I recall ) and La Paradeta (Born ) for brilliant value seafood.

I am returning in a few weeks and so wonder

- are these places still great ?

- where else would you recommend for traditional or modern Catalan cuisine ?

- where else must I not miss, irrespective of cuisine

We are staying near the cathedral but always happy to travel for great food.

Thanks for any help you can give.

Apr 15, 2013
willowan in Spain/Portugal

Near Donmar warehouse - post theatre...and no romance, please !

Did you find anywhere decent open ?!

Dec 09, 2012
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Near Donmar warehouse - post theatre...and no romance, please !

Morning all,

Just looking at proper Chow places for a festive break. We will be three blokes in our 40's - mixed incomes so nowhere too pricey or fancy please.

At Trafalgar Studios 27th Dec and Donmar 28th.

Looking for places either pre or post theatre. Probably post on 28th as show is a 'straight through' so should be done by 9,30 ish.

Am thinking Terroirs on 27th - never been - does it still cut it ? When I have tried to get in before it has always been a queue down the street , though perhaps that was when it first opened.

Am thinking Bocca di Lupo post theatre on the 28th - but is is it really a post theatre place for 3 single blokes ? And how will it be late on 28 December ?

Ideal place would be a good pub or tapas or bistro-ish place with decent beer or wine by the glass that will still be lively late on. On past visits have enjoyed the Elk in the Wood in Islington , the Jugged Hre near the Barbican and Jose and Pizzaro near London Bridge. Anywhere with the quality or atmosphere of these places would be perfect.

Thanks all

Dec 09, 2012
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Urgent ! - Omniverous Chow near London Bridge ? Jose ? Pizarro ? Elsewhere ?

Hey all

Well, we tried to go to Jose but it was super rammed.So, we opted for Pizzaro, which was excellent. Lovely room , quality ingredients ( razor clams and especially the octopus ), friendly staff. What more could you ask for ? Puddings. Lovely lovely puddings - especially the one involving yogurt.- implausible though that may seem.

Also managed to pop into the Jugged Hare ( so thanks to pj26 ) for a quick lunch on Saturday. Lovely pub/resto ( we ate in the bar ). Decent own brand pale ale, lovely medium rare burger. Only down side was that they were a bit tight with the chips ( which came in one of those miniature pans like sauces do in some pretentious steak places ) which was a bit irritating. Would definitely venture back when had more time for drinking, though !

Thanks all for your tips. Make sure to post if you are ever up Liverpool way !

Oct 29, 2012
willowan in U.K./Ireland

Urgent ! - Omniverous Chow near London Bridge ? Jose ? Pizarro ? Elsewhere ?

Brilliant, thanks. My friend does eat fish so may got for J or P.

Is Zucca super pricey ( some Zagat reviews say ) or good value ( Jay Rayner said when they first opened ) ?

Oct 25, 2012
willowan in U.K./Ireland