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Valentines Day in Manchester 2010


Stuck for somewhere to romance the object of your desires? Here’s some ideas...

related links:  The Slug and Lettuce  Samsi  Bacchanalia  Lime  St Petersburg Restaurant  Ning  Linen  Yang Sing  Tiger Tiger  The Living Room  Room  Grado  Vermilion  
Much like Christmas, birthdays, Easter, anniversaries, births, deaths, marriages, passing of driving tests/exams/GCSEs/A-levels, new homes, new jobs, christenings and a simple thank you, Valentine’s Day is a prime candidate for the purchasing, giving and receiving of small rectangular pieces of card with pre-printed, largely hollow sentiments contained within. I’m a big fan of cards, as you can probably tell, but fear not fellow card haters – there’s more to Valentine’s Day than lining the pockets of those who provide sickly slogans.

So what options do you have beyond the classic card and flower/chocolates combination? Well, you could take your beau sky diving, or bungee jumping or something equally ‘out there’, but that’s all a lot of hassle and who really wants to spend Valentine’s Day in a jump suit, strapped to an instructor and being thrown out of a plane? No one, that’s who – Valentine’s Day is for dressing up, putting your favourite pants on and spending the evening with your chosen partner somewhere nice; somewhere ready and able to serve you something good to eat and fizzy to drink.

Being at the forefront of the city’s nightlife and restaurant scene, as we are, we’ve had a look through the various options in Manchester for Valentine’s Day 2010 and thought we’d give you a little run through of your options.

It should come as no surprise that set menus are the order of the day for most Manchester restaurants on Valentine’s Day, being easy to plan in advance and execute on the day, from the chef’s perspective at least. They also allow you to gauge just how much money you are likely to invest in the evening – a £25 set menu, for example, is a fairly rigid price point, whereas ‘just have anything you want from the a la carte menu, dear’ could be recipe (no pun intended) for near disaster. Anyway, let’s get on with the important business of looking at what’s available:

Budget

I’ve decided to split this bit into three sections, the first being ‘budget’, also known as ‘the cheaper options’. The Slug and Lettuce surely take the prize for ‘cheapest’ with their offer of three courses for £12 per person. The choices aren’t remarkable – four starters, four mains and three desserts – and we’re not going to speculate on the quality, but then if you go to a chain pub for dinner you should know roughly what to expect, and at that price, who’s complaining? They are also, cleverly, offering a ‘special price’ on pink Italian sparkling wine, at £30 a bottle. Hmm...I wonder where their profits are made.

Others worth mentioning in this section are Samsi, who are offering a spectacular array of ‘banquets’; menus, ranging from the ‘Vegetarian Banquet’ at £16.50 per person, through to the ‘Sumo Wrestler Banquet’ at £40 per person. A good option if you have differing tastes although, obviously, you’d both have to like Japanese food.

Just sneaking in our ‘budget’ category are a few offerings at £25 per person. Bacchanalia offer three courses, plus a free cocktail, the food of fairly standard sounding affair; Lime Manchester also have a £25 menu, this one with five courses that appear to be offered with absolutely no choice. If you like, and fancy on the night, asparagus and egg, haddock fishcake, clam chowder, fillet steak and chocolate and orange fondant, you’ll be all right – if you don’t, tough. The St Petersburg Russian Restaurant , on Sackville Street, not only offer a three course menu for your £25.95, you also get a ‘fabulous Russian singing and dancing show’.

Northern Quarter Malaysian restaurant Ning have once again come up with a well priced offer at £27.50 per person for three courses of their authentic and generously portioned creations, and, from experience, they have to come out top in our budget category.

Mid-Priced

OK, so these sub headings aren’t the most inventive, but that’s in contrast to Linen’s approach to the Valentine’s menu. They offer three courses at £40 per person, starting rather tamely with three starter options but hitting their stride with a bold main course – Chateaubriand to share, served to order. Unlike Lime, they do offer a vegetarian alternative, but this surely has to be one for the carnivorous couples amongst you.

Yang Sing make the first showing from a Chinese restaurant with a five course banquet at £29.90 per person, including a free glass of champagne if you eat on either Friday 12th or Saturday 13th, but not on Sunday, the 14th February, St Valentine’s Day, strangely. Tiger Tiger come in bang on £30 per person for a three course meal including a bottle of ‘pink bubbly’. I’m guessing that’s probably not a Bollinger Rose, but still, points for effort. They also have a number of packages available on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Valentine’s weekend, which get you an area in the club and assorted bottles and food platters, depending on the deal you choose.

The Living Room finish off the mid-priced offerings with a relatively modest price of £35 per person, which gets you three courses and a glass of sparkly stuff. The food offered here, it has to be said, reads the best so far, but then you’ll be eating a collection of ingredients, not words, so that’s not necessarily something that should influence your decision.

Luxury

We come, finally, to our luxury section, containing those establishments pushing the £50 mark. Room are a surprising first contender; surprising firstly because we thought they’d be going for a more mainstream market but, upon viewing the menu, also surprising because your £50 gives you choices including ‘Minestrone soup’, ‘Pate on toast’ and ‘Casserole’. Not the most inspiring sounding dishes but closer inspection reveals they’ve joined the ‘let’s make things sound simple when actually they’re posh and complicated’ brigade (if such a brigade exists).

Grado also come in at £50 per person, although, in contrast, their menu reads well and simply, offering uncomplicated dishes that are just a little different to the norm. Famed purveyors of luxury and indulgence Vermillion finish us off with the prize for ‘most expensive set menu’, their luxury seven course offering coming in at £74 per person. There is also a five course option, at £54 (£44 for vegetarians) and they do class mid-course sorbet as a course in its own right, as well as a canapé and a glass of champagne counting as one whole course, but let’s not get picky. The food, naturally, sounds extravagant.

Whether you end up in Vermillion or chomping down a kebab at 3am after an evening trying to impress your chosen one on the dance floor, have fun and make sure you come back to let us know how you got on.

Click here for top Valentine’s hotel deals in Manchester and throughout the UK.


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I'm imprseesd! You've managed the almost impossible.

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