“ Address: 10 Tib Lane / Manchester M2 4JB / England „
Lounge Ten is a restaurant in city centre Manchester. Its name doesn't suggest anything out of the ordinary. Although housed in a listed building in a Tib Lane, the red brick facade does not give anything away either. As the door was opened for us, we were in for a surprise. The person who greeted us asked for our names and took our coats, instead of the usual raffle ticket in exchange; we were given a playing card (the king of hearts). The interior is a mixture of bright red ceilings adorned with more playing cards, faux gilt and black velvet chairs. As we were shown to our table, I noticed the erotic artwork and the naughty candles.
Having arrived before our friends and feeling a little windswept, first stop for me was the ladies, except there were no "ladies" to speak of and the loos turned out to be unisex. The large double doors were open and inside a very spacious room with chairs and settees. On one of these was a magician shuffling a pack of cards and on another a lady with a sign on her table which read "Mary, clairvoyant" They both smiled and said hello before I went into one of the two cubicles. Thankfully there were no urinals. As I went to wash my hands, I met the person with the most boring job in the world. As I approached the sinks, a young woman turned the tap on for me and I discovered that this was indeed her job for the night. As I was washing my hands (I did this all by myself!), a fellow diner entered the room. This guy was obviously a regular because Mary knew him and asked "Hi Ashley, how are you doing?" I couldn't help but smile to myself, surely as a clairvoyant she should know. Returning to our table I passed the boudoir which is a private dining room and had to do a double take. The handle to the door was in the shape of a large penis and I wondered whether the term "door knob" had been misinterpreted. I was feeling a little giddy with my discoveries so far and I hadn't yet touched a drink!
When I returnes to the table, our friends had arrived and I related my findings. We ordered our food and I was happy to see that Spotted Dick didn't feature on the menu. A little later, the magician appeared at our table. He performed a couple of excellent card tricks and was about to start his third when our starters arrived. He said he would be quick but after a couple of minutes was still at it. I decided that my double baked goat's cheese soufflé with toasted almonds and parmesan cream required eating before it sank into a sloppy mess. He got the message, made it snappy (pardon the pun) and moved on.
All four of us enjoyed our food and we had all chosen different meals. The fare is described in the blurb as "stylish and indulgent" and I suppose this about sums it up. My soufflé was delicious and melted in the mouth and hubby enjoyed his salmon fish cakes. Starters and mains both had a selection of poultry, red meat, fish and vegetarian and a reasonable time was allowed between them. The courses were well presented and easy on the eye as well as the tum. Most of the puddings were nice and light. Starters averaged at around £6, mains £16 and puddings £6. Wine from £20. Sample menus can be found on the restaurant's website www.lounge10manchester.co.uk.
During the evening we enjoyed some pleasant vocals from a female jazz singer. She wandered around the different levels but never to the individual tables. Apart from several renditions of "Happy Birthday" Marilyn Monroe style, the music was subtle and provided background music rather than cabaret. After our meal we had another visit from the magician. This time his tricks involved small soft balls. Again they were excellent and he himself very entertaining and witty.
On my final visit to the toilets, the clairvoyant was reading a guy's palm. I don't know whether this service is free but I didn't see any signs regarding prices. Maybe she received "payment in lieu".
This is probably one restaurant review where the emphasis hasn't been on the menu. If you were to take away the entertainment I would have spent more time waxing lyrical about the food which was delicious. Lounge Ten however is very unusual; in fact it is quite unique. For all its red decor, plush velvet and erotica, it isn't at all seedy. Having said that I wouldn't take children although they are catered for with smaller portions and if I had any prudish friends (I don't) I wouldn't take them either. This is a great place for small groups; couples wanting a romantic evening may find the magician a little intrusive.
The service was excellent throughout our three hours, the lady on the tap duty however highly unnecessary. Maybe this was a subtle way of ensuring that everyone washed their hands. You know what they say about peanuts and crisps at the bar!
Highly recommended for a great night out.
A sophisticated lounge covering three floors and serving a vast array of delicious dishes and wines.