MC Cafe Bar at Abode Manchester - reader comments
| "We have visited MC Cafe Bar in the past but not since it has been revamped as the MC Cafe Bar & Grill. The new menu has something for everybody, with a very good range of prices. You can eat very cheaply or can push the boat out a bit. We went for a soup starter (celeriac - very good - £3.95) and then the Local Meat Sharing Platter which was £12 for two people. (There's also a Local Fish Platter for £11). The platter was a good size, plenty enough for the pair of us, but I wasn't bowled over by the content. Very rustic and, in truth, a bit too basic for me. Rather dry Bury black pudding, fried duck eggs, small spare ribs, salt beef, Goosnargh chicken on skewers, etc. OK for a home barbecue but, apart from the excellent bread basket, nothing to let you know that you were in a Michael Caines' establishment, especially when compared to the amazing restaurant downstairs. Don't be put off though, there's a great choice and it was just one of those days when we made the wrong one! The place was busy and the food at the other tables looked fine." - liz, cheshire - TRUSTED REVIEWER (5/8/09 - visited on a Saturday lunch)|
"We specifically went to MC Cafe for the Fish & Chips on a Sunday afternoon before going to the football. Ithas to be said from previous visits, these are arguably the best in town and great value at £11. Unfortunately we got there too late (2pm) and found out that only the Light Bites Menu was available. We opted for the Calzone Pizza (£8.50) and the Pizza Salsiccia Piccante Con Pancetta (£8) instead and were extremely impressed. These were possibly the best pizzas we've had in Manchester and the price, equally as impressive. The menu at MC Cafe is somewhat eclectic - The highly-recommended pizzas sit alongside sandwiches, Spanish and Greek tapas, pasta and fish, steaks and salads, burgers and lamb and of course those amazing fish & chips. Something for everyone? From the dishes we've tried so far - you won't be disappointed with the food.
The only disappointment on this visit was the service, which was very poor. With just two other tables occupied in the restaurant, the waitresses seemed to take the afternoon off and leave us unattended for far too long. It may possibly have been the end of their shift as a new waitress/duty manager, who was fantastic by the way, was left embarrassed on three occassions by bringing us another table's order. Fortunately we could laugh about it with her, although less patient customers would have no doubt given her a hard time.
Desserts were as impressive as the mains, presented as a work of art, although somewhat disproportionately priced in comparison to what had come before hand. £5.50 for a tiny Manchester tart and the same price for an equally small Chocolate Brownie seemed a bit steep for the portion size. The main problem with MC Cafe though, as highlighted on other reviews on this page, is the extortionate service charge. The menu stated an 11% 'optional' charge, which itself is 1% more than what you'd expect to pay in restaurants which still operate this annoying practice, however, to make matters worse, they now actually charge 12%. Given that service was poor on this one occassion, and we were also initially charged for the dishes we hadn't ordered, even 10% couldn't be justified. But, in typical British fashion, we just paid it without complaint. I guess most people would do exactly the same but the thing about the British, you see, is that for the sake of 2% more than they would normally happily contribute, they won't return. And it's a pity if that is the case (which, speaking to other people about MC Cafe, it seems to be), the food certainly demands many a return visit. The best pizzas in town and the best fish & chips in town certainly doesn't warrant the highest 'optional' service charge in town! Sorry Michael, it has to go!" - restaurants of manchester 15/3/08 (visited on a sunday afternoon)
| "Having already had an amazing experience at Michael Caines Restaurant downstairs, I visited MC Cafe after reading the rave reviews on Restaurants Of Manchester. It was my first visit but it won't be the last. Very good quality food served in a classy, relaxed environment, and at reasonable prices. I plumped for the Artichoke Soup followed by a very tasty Hake Risotto and wasn't disappointed. My wife's Battered Fish & Chips also looked top class. The menu has good variety and a price range to suit most people. Coupled with the excellent Michael Caines Restaurant downstairs, the MC Cafe Bar makes the Abode a great place to eat." - ian, stockton heath 27/11/08 (visited on a sunday lunch)|
| "I also visited MC Cafe after reading the reviews below. It's a great setting for meeting friends and family, the staff are polite and the food is really good. However while the food is excellent it isn't the best priced restaurant in the city, we ordered from the special offer lunch menu and thought we'd get a bargain at 2 courses for £9.95 until we found that the portions were quite small and a couple of side dishes at £3 each were needed. Also, apart from Michael Caines other restaurant in Abode, this is the only restaurant I know in town that adds an 11% service charge to the bill, 10% is bad enough but wheres this extra 1% go? These are just considerations for the restaurant managers, but I don't think it would stop me going back or telling others about this very nice restaurant" - nick, stockport 27/8/08 (visited on a weds lunch)|
| "I visited MC Cafe after reading the Restaurants Of Manchester review and was equally impressed. The Fish & Chips were sensational and actually good value too (£12.95 + a stupidly arrogant 11% service charge). Compare the food at MC Cafe to those places around here, like Malmaison, City Inn and The B Lounge next door, and you will be left in no doubt as to who serves the best dishes. Look at the prices they charge and probably only Greggs and Subway, on the same approach to Piccadilly, serve lunch cheaper. Yes, it feels more like a hotel lobby than the other places and the 4 star hotel setting can put many people off thinking it's too posh (like Michael Caines at Abode downstairs). Service is great and there's an impressive choice of dishes - many ideal for sharing. All round, it's excellent but drop the extra 1% service charge whether it's optional or not!" - matthew, manchester 26/8/08 (visited on a monday evening)|
| "With our new offices being next door, we've had a few meetings at MC Cafe, the informal ground floor restaurant at the Abode Hotel from double Michelin star chef, Michael Caines. With the exception of the 11% service charge (what's that all about!?!), it's very hard to fault. The decor is light and welcoming, the open plan layout making it ideal for business meetings or catching up with friends. The choice of dishes is fantastic from salads, sandwiches and pannis to pizzas, platters and fantastic main's with an emphasis on regional dishes. The price of each dish is surprisingly cheap, with my excellent Fish & Chips, for example, only £12.95 - a price, it should be noted, cheaper than all the main courses at the inferior Brunswick pub next door. It's still early days, each time we've called in Michael Caines has been working there, on his laptop rather than in MC Cafe's theatre-style open kitchen, and the staff are always very eager to please - it's a far cry from the Rosetti Hotel which used to be here. Michael explained to us that he wants the dishes to be accessible to everybody's budget without sacrificing quality - the fine dining restaurant downstairs offers a more expensive approach - and it's a concept that pays off. With Piccadilly Station next door and the gay village, Market Street stores, Apollo Theatre and City of Manchester Stadium all a short walk away, there can't be many better places to grab a top quality bite to eat." - restaurants of manchester 15/3/08 (visited on a wednesday lunchtime)|