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Food & Drink

Manchester restaurateur Gary Usher responds perfectly to negative TripAdvisor reviewer

‘For goodness sake Robert. I’m supposed to be in TwitAdvisor retirement so let’s not waste any time.’

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Natural Selection Design & Sticky Walnut / Facebook & TripAdvisor

Manchester chef and restaurateur Gary Usher wrote a scathing reply to a negative reviewer on TripAdvisor.

Usher – who owns Elite Bistros which operates a number of restaurants across the North West such as the city centre’s Kala, Didsbury’s Hispi and Liverpool’s Wreckfish – replied to the review, which was written by a disgruntled diner from his Chester establishment, Sticky Walnut last month.

The review, which described the experience as ‘Excellent food let down by Ryanair style management,’ read: “The good news is that the food here is very, very tasty and deserves a high rating. The bad news is that the restaurant management doesn’t give a toss about customer experience.

“I ate here on July 9th, had a complaint that was dealt with badly enough by the manager that I wrote to the owner. A restaurant that aspires to offer fine dining experience but has lost the ability to empathise with customers and ignores them when they complain? That really is a shame.”

@phil4104 / TripAdvisor

Well, this scathing review didn’t sit too well with Usher, who wasted no time in replying and pointing out a few information errors. 

Clearly not in the mood for whining customers, Usher wrote: “For goodness sake Robert. I’m supposed to be in TwitAdvisor retirement so let’s not waste any time. After all, you’ve waited 11 years since joining Twitadvisor to write your first review. Rob you reserved a table on a Friday evening and agreed to a 1 hour 45 minute time slot. A standard practice, particularly on busy periods, that guests and restaurants worldwide agree to.

“After your dessert course the Manager, who you said ‘doesn’t give a toss’, gently reminded you that we would need the table back shortly. You ignored the Manager and proceeded to order another round of drinks. Perhaps if your party had arrived on time for your reservation this could have been avoided.”

Usher went on to detail that when the manager ‘politely’ informed him that the table needed to be cleared, the customer got out of his seat and ‘towered over the manager’ before pointing a finger in his face.

“The Manager’s response was ‘Sir, please can you stop pointing in my face.’ You proceeded to tell the Manager that they didn’t deserve to be a Manager and weren’t qualified to be in the position. Your Mother then joined in by adding to the vitriol being directed towards the Manager.

“That’s when both you and your Mother showed your true colours with the classic ‘We’ve both worked in restaurants so we know how it works. We should be getting these drinks for free.’

“You, Rob, then threatened the Manager by telling them that you would be contacting the owner because you know him and that Gary (me) would be appalled to know how you, ‘my friend,’ had been treated. The Manager politely pleaded with your whole table to just listen whilst they explained. No one did.”

And, in a shock twist of events, it turns out that the customer wasn’t actually friends with Usher after all – in fact, he doesn’t even know him.

Natural Selection Design

“In a strange turn of events you emailed me, your ‘friend’, at Sticky Walnut’s email address. You must have lost my number Rob! Not surprisingly, to either me or the Manager, you and I don’t know each other Rob. Every few months in a restaurant a rude guest will use the ‘I know the owner!’ line to try and intimidate team members and bully them into thinking that they will get into trouble because they didn’t look after the owner’s ‘friends’ well enough.

“I did read your email. I did ‘give a toss,’ but not about you Rob, but about the way you treated the team. So instead of replying to you we chose to block your number, and your Mum’s, and put a note on our booking system to not accept any future bookings from you.

“With regards to the Manager who ‘doesn’t give a toss’ they have managed Sticky Walnut for the last 8 years. Coincidentally the same length of time that Sticky Walnut has achieved a top 100 position in the National Restaurant Awards in the UK. I think that makes them both extremely deserving to be the Manager and absolutely qualified to hold that position.

“Regards. Not your mate. Gary.”

That customer won’t be venting on TripAdvisor in a hurry, will he? 

Food & Drink

You can now get Biscoff-flavoured gin and it looks incredible

Gin like you’ve never had it before…

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The Boutique Gin Co.

A revolutionary gin liqueur that tastes exactly like Biscoff biscuits is now a thing, and it looks absolutely bloody marvelous.

Now, you’ll all be aware that Biscoff has boomed in popularity in recent years – what was once the random little biscuit you’d get free with your coffee is now a cultural phenomenon.

These days, Biscoff is just as famous for its delicious smooth and crunchy spreads as it is for its original biscuits. You can also buy Biscoff sauce, Biscoff ice cream and Biscoff and Go pots. It’s a great time to be alive.

But now, possibly the best – and definitely the most boozy – Biscoff invention has landed: The Biscoff flavoured gin liqueur

@bwydallefydd / Instagram

Okay, people have already been making Biscoff espresso martinis for quite some time, but never before has there been an actual spirit flavoured after the stuff.

Courtesy of the Boutique Gin Co., Biscoff fans far and wide will be able to get their hands on a bottle of Ginscoffi, a gin liqueur which combines delicious notes of cinnamon and caramel to create a deliciously sweet and warming gin liqueur that is perfect for sipping on cold evenings.

The Ginscoffi creators suggest for the spirit to be enjoyed mixed with ginger ale or simply on its own over ice – they also recommend adding it to cocktails favourites to add a festive twist, such as in an espresso martini.

Layla, the Chief Ginnovator behind the drink, said: “I am a huge fan of biscuits such as Biscoff and biscotti so to me it made sense to try to combine those flavours to create a brand new flavoured gin liqueur.

The Boutique Gin Co.

“It has taken me almost a year to create the recipe, but I think the end product is something really unique. Even if you aren’t a gin fan, Ginscoffi will blow you away. Its sweet cinnamon and caramel taste is so versatile and is ideal for making chocolate or coffee based cocktails, and it has a lovely festive feel to it.

“We’ve been having so much fun using Ginscoffi to create loads of tasty cocktails. Fans can check them out on our website and social media pages.”

Ginscoffi is available to buy exclusively on their online store, drinkthis.co.uk. Make sure to follow the brand on Facebook and Instagram for exciting product updates.

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Food & Drink

There’s a new Pan Asian bottomless brunch with endless prosecco and cocktails

This could be the best bottomless brunch offering yet…

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Tampopo

A new bottomless brunch complete with authentic Pan Asian dishes and an abundance of cocktails and prosecco has landed in Manchester and it looks incredible.

Tampopo has been serving up wonderful dishes inspired by the far-flung countries of Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and Japan to Mancunians since 1997 and, now, it has launched its first ever bottomless brunch menu.

The exciting new deal offers a selection of Pan Asian delights alongside those all-important ninety minutes of free-flowing drinks – sounds like a match made in heaven, doesn’t it?

Tampopo

Diners can tuck into either a two-course or a three-course brunch special, which includes the likes of Thai Green Curry, Beef Rendang or a Katsu Curry. 

There are also a number of sweet treats up for grabs on the menu, including Tampopo’s famous ‘Little Moons’ and a number of refreshing sorbet options. 

On the drinks front, guests can then indulge in ninety minutes of bottomless prosecco, bellinis and Tiger beer, as well as a selection of mocktails and juices; ideal for those who fancy something a little less boozy.

Tampopo

The menu will be available every single day from 12pm-5pm at the Albert Square, Corn Exchange and Trafford Centre venues, with two courses costing £34.95, and three courses costing just a little bit extra at £37.95

Walk-ins are welcome, though bookings are advised to avoid disappointment.

Fancy it? Make your own booking here.

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Food & Drink

Price of a pint could rise by 25p in October, Sacha Lord warns

The humble pint is set to become even more expensive…

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@SachaLord / Twitter & @pintsofmcr / Instagram

Greater Manchester’s Night Time Economy Adviser Sacha Lord has warned that the price of a pint could be rising from October 1st.

Lord estimated that both food and drink prices will rise in line with the government’s hike in VAT for the hospitality sector – the tax rate for pubs, bars, restaurants and other hospitality establishments was reduced to 5% to help the hospitality sector survive the pandemic but, two weeks ago, it was announced that it will increase to 12.5% at the end of the month.

By 2022, it is expected to return to the usual 20%.

The price of an average pint in England is predicted to rise by 25p to £3.94, while the average glass of wine is likely to shift from £4.07 to £4.35 to cover overall losses felt by operators.

@pintsofmcr / Instagram

This week, Lord has urged the Government to rethink the increase, calling for the move to be delayed until the industry recovers to pre-pandemic levels.

He said: “The 5% VAT rate was the single biggest recovery measure for the industry over the past eighteen months, and has enabled venues to stay in business and staff to keep their jobs. Removing this relief will have a severe effect on operators across the country.

“VAT is the biggest expense in any business, and it is the quickest way to reduce cash flow. For businesses who have little-to-no cash reserves as a result of the pandemic, it could be last orders.

“Many operators will be forced to pass the increase onto the customer to stay afloat, and we could see prices across food and drink rise by as much as 7-10% from October as bosses attempt to recover losses and fight the dire financial situation they find themselves in.”

@louishansel / Unsplash

Lord continued by stressing that the VAT increase will see the permanent closure of many local and independent venues, before warning that ‘we have a tough winter ahead for our nightlife sector’.

He said: “Operators will take at least three years to recover from this pandemic, and I urge the Government to rethink this rise and extend the current rate until that point. The hospitality industry is vital to the UK’s recovery and growth.

“Cancelling a measure which will result in venues closing, staff being made redundant and VAT bills left unpaid through bankruptcy will only hinder, not help the economy. To punish the sector now will have devastating consequences just as it starts to recover.”

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