KIM-BY-THE-SEA, Old Birley St, in Hulme is a fantastic place. It has great food, a great selection of continental beer and wonderful staff. Before this all starts to sound a little sychophantic; let me assure you that this place really is, that cool.
I chanced upon it one fine day, whilst out for a stroll with my dog, Montgomery. Okay, the reason I went was because I had read a wonderful review about the place in The Guardian newspaper. Kim-by-the-Sea is nowhere near the sea, its in the middle of a rejuvenated Hulme, an inner-city area right next door to the city centre. It is also in close proximity to the two universities; the Met and Manchester University.
First impressions count in my view, and when I entered the premises, I was immediately struck by the decor. It is the product of some fevered brain for sure! The glass counter is a stunning deep red, the wallpaper is from a William Morris design- a wondeful cold blue with symmetrical patterns, there are huge red velvet drapes and the lighting is a mixture of low-key (wine bottles with candles) and bright (there is a strip lighting effect with pink, green, blue and red lights in the sofa area). There are weird spherical objects hanging from the ceiling, these are polka dot red and white. The design is simply wonderful and highly inventive. The staff have impeccable serving skills, are friendly and warm. There is a range of events such as
Acoustic evenings, usually once a month
Slobathon Sundays, a range of DJs and eclectic music finished with a movie at around 8pm. They show some cool movies and once they showed The Goonies, proving that the owners have a great sense of humour.
Every Wednesday is Film Night and this too is quite cool. Sit, chat, drink and watch a movie.
The food is Spanish orientated, is well presented, good value for money- in fact it is insanely cheap and they have a good range of brewski's on offer from Maissel Weise, Anker, Ename, Erdinger, Staropramen, San Miguel, Guinness and a fine range of wines too from simple plonk to the more expensive shit. Sorry for not being a food critic and not going in depth in terms of textures and all that shit but if it tastes nice, that's enough for me! They serve amazing breakfasts too, it is all organic and locally sourced too, I have been assured by one of the staff.
It's actually quite hard to find a bad point about the place other than the location is a little hard to find. I am very much in love with this cafe because it is so unique and quite lovely, not one of those cooler than cool places with that cold modernist aesthetic. It is warm, comforting, the atmosphere evokes pleasant notions; it is kooky, fun, romantic, hip, cool and certainly deserving of major attention. Like I say, this is my favourite place in the whole wide world in which to have a coffee, read a book, listen to DJs and shit like that.
Mon 11 am - 3 pm
Wed 11 am - 10 pm
Thurs 11 am 10 pm
Fri 11 - 10 pm
Sat 11 - 10 pm
Sun 11- 10 pm
The coolest night to attend is Thursday night because it is quiz nite! The quiz is simple trivia but the hostess is part comedian, part demented, all fun! I recall one night, she stopped the quiz mid-way through, put on the Beatles' "When I'm 64' and got the entire place singing, it was a marvellous spectacle and just plain surreal. It is certainly not one of those quizzes in which a boring old man sits reading a list of questions in a dull manner. This is new level of quiz! It's one hell of an entertaining night. The Quiz begins at 8pm on a Thurs and is a must, if you're in the mood for some rowdy fun.
I hope you enjoyed my review of Kim-By-The-Sea (I have no idea why its called that either), it's in Manchester. Anywhere with a bizarre moniker such as one the cafe possesses, surely must be interesting. My only gripe? It isn't open 24/7.
This has to be without a doubt the best Indian restaurant for miles. The high standard begins the minute you walk through the door, although they are very busy at weekends you do not need to book and normally there is a table free. There is bombay mix at the bar were you sit and order drinks and food. Once your order has been taken you are shown to your table. The restaurant is immaculately decorated and the lighting not too bright. The air conditioning is good although there are no no-smoking areas. The wine list is extensive and very good value, for example, St. Emilion is only £10 a bottle, a favourite of ours. Although we do not normally eat starters, they are priced around the £2-2.50 mark. We usually indulge in poppodams and chutneys, which are always fine and you usually get more than what you asked for (but charged the same!). The main courses always arrive soon after and I can honestly say I have never ever had a bad curry here, the food is gorgeous is cooked in lower fat sauces, i.e., you don't see the oil swimming on top and tastes delicious. As with most other Indian restaurants there is always too much. The service is excellent and there is a good choice of desserts (if you have room) and coffee liquers, which are scrumptious. Our normal order which is two pints of lager, 4 poppodams, chutneys and two main courses usually comes to around £23.00, which I regard as excellent value. They except all bankers cards and never rush you. Often they bring a complimentary liquer at the end of the night also. If you enjoy Indian food then I recommend you pay The Pavilion a visit at Blackburn Road, Astley Bridge - opposite Asda.
There are now several Tiggi's Italian restaurants - the ones I am familiar with are in Bolton, (quite a small place, but can get rather boisterous, you often get noisy birthday celebrations there), and in Blackburn (similar, but with slightly more upmarket décor), and now there's a branch at the Trafford Centre, as well. The first thing that struck me about the Trafford Centre Tiggi's was how big it is, compared to the Bolton and Blackburn restaurants. It occupies a prime spot on the first floor in the Orient part of the centre, so that if you look out of the windows you even get a decent view - not normally something the Trafford Centre, with its car park / M60 surroundings, can boast. No, if you glance out of the window at Tiggis, you see the impressive classical statues on the rooftops, so it's actually quite easy to imagine that you're somewhere else entirely, maybe even abroad somewhere. The interior is equally impressive - a large circular dining area, and a separate bar area - with quality, expensive-looking décor, and such things as marble inlaid tables. The style is not so much Italian as Charles MacKintosh - but it's stylish nonetheless. So, how about the food? It's above-standard Italian - pizzas, pasta, meat and fish dishes. I'd recommend the bruschetta (proper shavings of Parmesan cheese); the garlic bread (flat pizza like, not particularly crispy but delicious, and there's a tomato version too); the pasta with avocado and mushroom is a special favourite, as is the salmon with champagne sauce? It's in the mid price range. If you stick to pizzas or pastas (there's a very good range of both) you'll probably think it's a very cheap place to dine - less than £10 per head. If you go for a meat dish with the extra vegetables, well, it's not all that cheap - could be £20 a head or so - but you get what you pay for, don't you? It's not often that I've ha
d a dessert, but I know that their Italian trifle is delicious, and there's a good selection of flavoured ice creams. In the late evenings the restaurant seems to become a bit of a nightspot, so beware of the dress code (no trainers, no jeans etc). Otherwise, a very good place for a quiet meal, for family dining, or just a well earned rest from all the hustle and bustle of the Trafford Centre.