Tuesday 8 January 2013

In Defence of the Dirty Burger: Why we've never had it so good.

I first came to Manchester in 1989. The word 'foodie' didn't exist then, well if it did we'd never heard of it. We ate chicken kebabs at Abduls, (the best £2 you could ever spend), queue up for 3 day old bread at Greggs 'seconds' in Rusholme (before it was a massive chain), maybe go for the occasional worthy meal at The Eighth Day or do a runner from Pizza Hut all you can eat buffet. Ah, those were the days weren't they?
No they weren't, it was crap.
I'm a sucker for nostalgia, but we really are living in the best time right now for eating out, embrace it folks, cause things have never been better. We've never had it so good in Manchester, because we just have more of everything.
Sure, we've not got a much needed Michelin star restaurant yet, but this years openings of Simon Rogan at the Midland and Aiden Byrne at The Restaurant & Lounge at Manchester House will I'm sure (and hope) put paid to that.

So what of the fashion for the 'dirty' burger, the likes of the much hyped Almost Famous, Solita, and all the rest? Well ask yourself what was there before them? It's not like they've taken over some much loved traditional family run restaurants is it? So what was there before? Empty disused buildings. The Northern Quarter was Afflecks and Dry Bar plus a couple of record shops. Now it's buzzing with life and is more vibrant then ever before.
I can understand how the studied cool and daft tweets of Almost Famous could be irritating to some, but what's the problem?  You don't have to eat there.
I was probably at least 10 years older than anyone else in Almost Famous on my last trip, but I enjoyed it, it was a bit of a laugh, the concept may not be 100% original, but it works, it's different for Manchester and the burger was quality (with meat from Frosts.)
As a lover of food at every level, I welcome more choice. If I wanted a burger twenty years ago where would I go? Maccy D's?  Now I can go choose from several places in town. If I want a 'posher' setting I can go to Malmaison or Aubaine. If I want French food now I can go to 63 degrees, L'Entrocote, Aubaine etc.
I can eat pretty much whatever food I fancy in Manchester. Of course it's not anywhere near as good as London, but compared to even 10 years ago we are living the dream.
So, I'm looking forward to a Bubbledogs rip off, gourmet hot dogs and champagne will be the trend for 2013 and I say bring it on!

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