[Manchester, city centre/Ancoats] Glamorous
If ever you’re looking for an overblown tart of a restaurant, then Glamorous is your place. There’s flashing lights in the windows; there’s Chinese lanterns dangling from the ceiling; there’s a thing that might be called a “light fitting” or “chandelier”, erupting from the floor, but it doesn’t do justice to the enormity of the naffness of its construction. It’s massive as is the restaurant itself. I struggle to find words to further describe the place. That is, until you get inside and are seated at a window table. And you look on the lovely vision of the middle deck of the multi-storey car park that serves the restaurant on the first floor and the Wing Yip supermarket on the ground floor. So, why do I keep coming back to this place that just isn’t a “me sort of place”. Well, it’s the food, you see. Manchester used to have a good reputation for Cantonese/Hong Kong food. There was a time when the Yang Sing was touted as the best Cantonese in Europe – but that is a very, very long time ago. Now, I’m not about to make any great claims for Glamorous, except to say I reckon it’s better than the offerings in Chinatown and well worth the few minutes walk to the edge of the city centre proper (just outside the Northern Quarter).
Greed got the better of us with the starters and we ordered a selection that brought us skewers of thinly sliced chicken (slightly crisp, a bit overcooked, good satay sauce drizzled over); salt & pepper ribs (very meaty, good flavour of star anise coming through); spring rolls (not bad at all), “seaweed” and excellent sesame prawn toasts.
Stir fried beef with cashew nuts was pretty good. Nice lean beef, crunch from the nuts, carrots and another unknown root veg (bland neutral flavour, pale yellow and the nearest the server could get to a name was something like “pam po”), good clingy sauce.
Whilst sweet & sour pork is a mainstay of the takeaway trade, I reckoned that I’ve never ordered it in a decent place. So I did. And it was good. A little coating to the meat (presumably just cornflour), clingy sauce which was not too sweet, the carrots and pale yellow thing again along with some onion. I liked.
All round, a good dinner in the sort of place where Anglos are always in a minority of the diners – yes, I know that Chinese eating in a Chinese restaurant is not a guarantee of good food but, hey, come on, it’s not a bad starting point. As Jay Rayner said, in 2010, “Glamorous has to be done, but probably only once” – but then Jay doesnt live in Greater Manchester. I do and I’ll be back – yet again.