Restaurants & Bars 2

[Manchester] Trafford Centre - lunches at the mall

Harters | Feb 18, 200801:48 PM

OK. This thread ain’t going to set the world afire and neither is the food. Yes, we are talking about mall food here.

But the TC attracts a lot of locals and is a destination in itself – with folk travelling from a distance to perhaps shop, go to the football or cricket match, come back and eat, go to the cinema and stop overnight at the onsite Premier Inn. So I hope this is of some help to someone. Comments are based on several lunches over recent months.

On the ground floor is a standard food court set-up with all the usual suspects which need no comment but, on the first floor, there are more restaurant type places. I’m not mentioning the well known chains as you’ll know what to expect.

Brasserie @ John Lewis
– a reasonable Cumberland sausage, mash and onion gravy. I chose this after nearly falling into a faint at seeing fish & chips priced at £11.95. I thought I’d been beamed up to London. But they do have the decency to describe it on the menu as “posh fish & chips”.

– owned by chef Antonio Carluccio, there are several branches around London but this, I think, the first in the north, so may not be too well known to my fellow north westerners. A very welcome addition to eating at the TC. Starter of arancini – two balls of rice - one filled with cheese, the other with ragu. Came with an indeterminate reddish sauce that was a tad too sweet. Main was a pasta with mushrooms – very, erm, mushroomy. Good coffee.

Cathay Dim Sum
- I think this is part of the Yang Sing empire. Perfectly adequate “set lunch” of chicken soup and Singapore noodles for about six quid.

Dexter’s Grill
- pseudo- American grill. Vile. One of those places that overcooks your burger so much that it can almost be snapped – whilst leaving your chips all but raw – and plonking a bit of limp lettuce on the plate and calling it salad. Surly staff – but then so would you be if you had to put up with what must be constant complaints about the food

- formerly a branch of Est Est Est – the Didsbury based mini-chain. May now be under different ownership. Good thin crust pizza. Had a Mattina – proscuitto, tomato, mushrooms with an egg baked in the middle. I like an egg on my pizza – and this was nicely dunkable.

Exchange Grill
- another Americanised place, but good burgers this time. Nice range of toppings. Big burger, tasty meat, well cooked. Fries (not chips) were fine. Comes with dollop of coleslaw. Two course lunch deal @ £8.95.

- my default place in the TC. Noodle & rice dishes from across Asia. Dunno about authenticity but I do know I like. I’ve had recent starters of Korean Bulgogi (sliced beef with Kimchi) and Japanese Gyoza (pork dumplings). Mains have been Indonesian Gado Gado and Singapore Noodles. Never had a bad meal here in probably six or seven visits.

But what the place really needs is a good sandwich outlet. The sort that will make you a butty while you wait. The sort that knows that a cheese and ham sandwich does not consist of pappy white bread, wet pink meatlike square stuff and Gouda. Even an Upper Crust would be better than what there is.

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