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Food & Drink

Chef calls out ‘opportunists looking for a free meal’ who refused to pay bill after eating ‘70%’ of their food

‘Everyone’s after something for free at the moment, which perhaps comes from their lack of respect for the industry’

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The Pack Horse Hayfield / Facebook

A chef and restaurant owner has opened up about an incident in which a couple refused to pay for their bill, despite having eaten the majority of the food served to them.

Luke Payne has owned and run The Pack Horse in Hayfield with his partner Emma for the last five years, and prides himself on serving ‘up market’ contemporary food not found in your typical pub.

According to Luke, 99% of The Pack Horse’s customers are ‘lovely’ and ‘have an amazing time’, but, on Saturday night, one couple refused point blank to pay up for their bill despite having eaten the majority of their meals.

Luke has since spoken out about the incident, saying the couple were simply ‘opportunists’ on the look-out for a free meal, clearly oblivious to the crippling impacts the Covid-19 pandemic has had upon the business and the rest of the hospitality industry.

Speaking to Proper Manchester, Luke detailed how, despite the couple being checked on by his waiting team several times throughout their meal, they never once complained about their food until they’d eaten ‘around 70% of it’.

The Pack Horse Hayfield / Facebook

He explained: “Despite having being checked back by our waiting team to see if everything was okay, the woman brought her pork chop up to the bar and compared it to ‘fatty bacon’, saying ‘this isn’t what I expected, I don’t really like it, I’d like another meal to replace it for free.’

“She had the opportunity to say if something was wrong or not to her liking, and in that scenario, we would have absolutely done everything we could to have made their evening better. She wanted a replacement for free, but she’d already eaten her meal essentially. So I said no, and informed her that if she wanted anything else she’d have to pay for it.”

At this, the woman’s husband allegedly became aggressive and claimed to be ‘in the right as the customer’. The couple then refused point blank to pay any of their bill, which amounted to £106, before leaving the premises. 

Luke said: “Obviously we don’t live or die by £100, but it’s still a lot of money. That’s a young waitress’ wage for the day.”

Luke ended up charging the couple using the card details they had submitted when securing their reservation online – however, they threatened to get their card insurers involved so whether or not the money will actually come through will only be determined in the next couple of days.

The incident has understandably left Luke and his team disheartened and frustrated, with him noting: “When it’s your business and your livelihood and your passion, you want to make sure that everyone leaves having had a great time. So these kind of things do stick, and it is really frustrating.

“I take stuff like this really personally, because this is all we know, it’s all we do and we do it for love. The backbone of what we do is making people happy, so this kind of stuff brings out a certain level of upset.”

And sadly, this isn’t Luke’s first experience with customers attempting to get their meals for free; he told us that since restaurants have reopened after the lockdowns, he’s noticed a rise in diners complaining about food to avoid paying their bill.

“The customer always thinks they’re right, even when they’re not. We’re professionals at the end of the day, if something is wrong with the food and drink and the service that we’re providing, we’ll know about it. So people should be a little more respectful of what we do.

“Everyone’s after something for free at the moment, which perhaps comes from their lack of respect for the industry and the hard work and the graft and the love that goes into it… People only see the end product, they don’t understand why things cost as much as they do and why they take as long to prepare as they do.”

Since sharing his experience on Twitter, Luke and the Pack Horse team have been flooded with messages of support from adoring customers. One person wrote: “Corr, I wish I was having that pork chop for lunch. I love The Packhorse. These miserly chancers do not deserve your incredible food.”

Another noted: “We came in last week and 2 of our party had the Pork and absolutely loved it. Urrrgghh chancers trying to pull a fast one on a local business – hate it!”

You can stay up to date with The Pack Horse on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Food & Drink

COMING SOON: Thai tapas and cocktail restaurant Giggling Squid is coming to Manchester

Giggling Squid specialises in sharing plates and cocktails with a Thai twist..

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@gigglingsquid / Instagram

Spinningfields is set to gain an exciting new addition in the form of a Thai restaurant specialising in ‘Thai tapas’ and cocktails.

Giggling Squid initially started life in the basement of a tiny cottage in Brighton back in 2002 with the aim to serve ‘simple, rustic, fresh Thai food’ in a selection of small plates made for sharing.

The restaurant’s owner Pranee grew up on the banks of the Mekong River, visiting the local markets everyday with her mother at 5am, where she’d see ‘huge fish splashing in water tubs, transparent shrimps, an endless variety of herbs and vegetables’.

@gigglingsquid / Instagram

@gigglingsquid / Instagram

Following its opening, Giggling Squid has experienced massive success and has since opened over forty restaurants in various locations across the country.

And now, in its first proper venture up North, Giggling Squid will be coming to Manchester, where it will take over a vacant venue on Hardman Square, opposite The Ivy.

There will be a number of tasty items up for grabs on its Manchester menu, including starters made for sharing like Phuket Mussels, Samui Zingy Prawns, Salt & Pepper Squid and Chicken Satay.

@gigglingsquid / Instagram

@gigglingsquid / Instagram

There will also be a menu dedicated to the humble Pad Thai as well as the standard mains menu, which will be split into three categories; Stir Fry, From the Water and From the Land.

Also on the menu will be a huge range of unique cocktails, many of them with a distinctive Thai twist. Highlights include the Thai-spresso Martini with coconut coffee liqueur and toasted coconut flakes, and the Me Time Margarita made with muddled ginger and lemongrass and a curry-salt rim.

Giggling Squid’s Manchester site is set to open at some point in the new year, so make sure to follow them on Instagram for news and updates.

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Food & Drink

NEW OPENING: The Northern Quarter burger joint planting a tree for every meal bought

Fancy doing your bit for the environment while tucking into a Wagyu steak burger?

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Manchester's Finest Media

An environmentally-focussed new burger joint in Manchester’s Northern Quarter is promising to plant a tree for every meal bought. 

New kids on the block Invisiburger is a ‘globally inspired, planet conscious and people focussed’ new addition to the city, having recently taken over the second floor of Stage & Radio over on Port Street after success in its flagship site in Liverpool.

And don’t worry, this isn’t your typical run-of-the-mill burger joint (because Manchester has plenty of those at the moment). 

Manchester’s Finest Media

Manchester’s Finest Media

Unlike other restaurants of its kind, the team at Invisiburger is on a mission to create a zero waste fast food model, which will ensure that every ingredient they use is utilised from head-to-toe.

They’re also a certified member of the new ‘Sustainably Run Project’, meaning for every bill paid a fruit tree is planted. To put it in a nutshell, you can do your bit for the environment while simultaneously tucking into a banging burger. It’s a win-win!

The menu itself is split equally amongst veganWagyu beef and Krispy Chicken options, each one with different toppings and special extras.

A definite menu highlight is the Surf & Turf Burger, made from a 100% Wagyu beef patty and juicy marinated prawns with house special sauce.

Manchester’s Finest Media

Manchester’s Finest Media

The menu also boasts a selection of tasty small plates, including vegan ‘Invisi-wingsJalapeno Bhajis, Tiger Prawns with chilli, miso and garlic butter and a selection of loaded fries including Salt & Pepper Salsa Fries and Chilli, Miso & Garlic Butter Fries. 

What a selection.

And, on Wednesdays you can get 3 Small Plates for £14 whilst on Fridays between 5pm – 6pm it’s their ‘INVISI-HOUR’ with classic burgers 2-for-1. 

Invisiburger is open Wednesday – Friday, 5pm – 10pm and Saturday – Sunday, 2pm – late. Head over to their website for more information and to book a table.

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Food & Drink

NEW OPENING: A dedicated chicken wing restaurant has launched in Manchester

There’s a new chicken wing spot in town…

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Manchester's Finest Group

Manchester’s favourite urban village Hatch has gained an exciting new addition in the form of chicken wing restaurant Wing Dash.

Wing Dash comes courtesy of takeaway kings Burgerism, whose popularity skyrocketed during the 2020 lockdowns.

Operating from their dark kitchen in Salford, Burgerism became well known and loved for their (you guessed it) burgers, which have even been named as ‘the best burgers in Manchester’ by Mana’s Michelin-starred Head Chef, Simon Martin. 

Manchester’s Finest Group

Manchester’s Finest Group

So, of course, we can expect some seriously good things from their latest venture, which takes a primary focus on the humble chicken wing.

Their latest venture sees their iconic Burgerism formula in the form of chicken wings with six options up for grabs; each wing, made from 100% British chicken, is brined for twenty-four-hours to ensure maximum flavour and tenderness.

They’re then coated in the special Burgerism signature coating and deep-fried, before being seasoned with one of six unique flavours including Piri-Piri, Buffalo, Atomic, BBQGarlic Parm and Lemon Pepper.

Manchester’s Finest Group

Manchester’s Finest Group

And for those wanting a meat-free alternative (or, like me, for those who just really love a bit of cauliflower), Wing Dash are also serving up their delicious Cauliflower Bites, which are sourced from a family-run farm in Preston available to order in any of the six seasonings. 

Of course, there are also fries to be ordered alongside your wing haul, which are prepped fresh every day and topped with a generous sprinkle of chicken salt. 

Wing Dash is open now at Hatch, but can also be ordered for delivery via Uber Eats and Deliveroo. Head over to the Wing Dash Instagram page for news and updates. 

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