Growl Review: The Manchester

Category: Growl Review

Kim S.

The Manchester

By Kim S.


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Image courtesy of Kim S.

Value
The portion size was quite generous for the cost. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-Whole
Atmosphere
I loved all the British pub touches, like the red phone booth and the church pew seats. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeFade
Service
Our waitress did a fine job, but not all requests were attended to in a timely fashion. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-HalfGpawRating-WholeFade
Food
My dish was colourful and full of flavour! GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeFade
Cleanliness
I’ll give The Manchester a pass for cleanliness because it is very much essentially a bar, but the washrooms could use a bit more attention. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-HalfGpawRating-WholeFade
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Review
I heart a good pub.

Here’s a thing to know about me: my love for a place can be kindled as easily by a spark of nostalgia as it can by a truly great meal. If a restaurant reminds me of something I love or somewhere I’ve been or a shining moment in time, it has already brought me halfway to where I need to be.

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Image courtesy of Kim S.

I once ate at a diner in downtown San Francisco where they served cherry cola and had mini-jukeboxes at each table, recalling Pop Shoppe soda and childhood dinners at a place in Tecumseh called Trevi, where there just happened to be a jukebox, and my heart went soaring.

Pubs are filled to the brick and whiskey brim of things that I love, like a convivial atmosphere and good – (sometimes even, if you’re lucky, live) – music. I am unsure whether it’s concerned a “proper” pub, but I have fond memories associated with the Elephant & Castle. Turkey and brie and Mike’s Hard Lemonade before a Bob Dylan concert in London, Ontario. Veggie burger and sweet potato fries and a velvet hammer martini before a Leafs game in Toronto with my dad.

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Image courtesy of Kim S.

This culinary trip down memory lane is basically just my way of admitting that, heading into this particular Growling adventure on May 16, 2013, I was somewhat predisposed to liking The Manchester.

The Manchester occupies a prime spot on Ouellette Avenue. Parking is best found in one of the city’s downtown parking garages.

Wooden framed windows open out onto the pub’s patio. There is ample seating room inside, though the tables at the back are not particularly well-lit.

For British pub authenticity, there are football jerseys hung up near the bar, and, of course, a red phone booth. Other nice décor touches are the exposed brick walls, church pew seats, and red string lighting above the bar.

I couldn’t help but smile when I noticed that the cover page of the menu features a Windsor/rock and roll/anglophile homage to the famous collage on the cover of the Beatles’ album, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. It is a menu that features traditional pub items like bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie, and fish & chips, in addition to other items you would expect to find at a bar and grill, such as burgers, fries, and chicken wings. There are a few vegetarian options, the bar menu is extensive, and the prices are reasonable. (Also, a fellow employed at the establishment, possibly as a bartender or busboy or both, sports a cheeky English moustache that should win some kind of award. Downright twirl-able, I called it. Now that’s authenticity! But I digress…)

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Image courtesy of Kim S.

My Manchester Curry with chicken – (it can made with tofu, shrimp, or beef, as well) – was fragrant and lively. The curry had a kick that would be welcome in any football game. I enjoyed it and found the portion size to be quite generous.

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Image courtesy of Kim S.

The Manchester is very much a bar. Its washroom stalls are splattered with graffiti and could use an extra wash-down or two. The wait staff wear street clothes. Some of the patrons are on the boisterous side, and the lights are low and get lower as the sun sets on the Windsor day. It is a right time, right place kind of eat- and drink-ery. A little rough around the edges, perhaps, but not a dive by any means. Go there with friends, not a first date, and be prepared to use your outside voice.

Kim S.‘s Overall Rating
I would return to The Manchester for a casual dinner and drinks with friends. GpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeGpawRating-WholeFade
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Comments from fellow Growlers
Micky G. said: “I would have to say that the ambiance is a large part of the appeal. That and the menu offers more than the average pub fare.”

Sylvia V. said: “I loved my lemonade cocktail and BBQ wings. Perfect pub fare. The ambiance was very authentic and loud. Great to be in for a while.”

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Image courtesy of Kim S.

Laurel R. said: “I really enjoyed my “Swedish Berries” cocktail – really yummy! I’m always on the hunt for great nachos, and thought The Manchester’s were decent – but I particularly liked the taste of the taco-spiced beef which Micky G. and I added to our shared order. My apple crumble pie was tasty as well – a nice finish to the meal. I thought The Manchester had a fun, loud, spirited ambiance – definitely not the place for an intimate meal, but perfect for a casual night out with friends.”

Kelly W. said: “Although I didn’t growl with you gals I do feel that their Scotch Eggs deserve a special mention from me. While I feel the authenticity of the space a little lacking the taste of this appetizer is 100% Made in England. The Willistead’s Scotch Eggs are not a patch on these.”

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Image courtesy of Kim S.

Have YOU visited The Manchester?
Tell us about your experience!

{ 3 comments… add one }
  • Lisa M May 22, 2013, 11:18 am

    Great review Kim! Unfortunately I was a tad disappointed in my Manchester experience. I ordered the Turkey and Brie sandwich which came with cranberry salsa, and was so looking forward to tasting Thanksgiving in a sandwich, but it didn’t hold up to my expectations. The turkey, while oven roasted on site (per their menu), was very bland. The bottom of my bun was a soggy mess, and the cranberry salsa, while it was nice and tangy, was spread so inconsistently through the sandwich as to do little to offset the overall blandness of the turkey and brie. Thankfully I ordered the baby spinach salad as a side: crammed full of creamy goat cheese, candied pecans, and tangy mandarin oranges, it was heaven on the taste buds. I finished up with the deep fried mars bar. It hit the sweet tooth spot, but couldn’t quite make up for the disappointing sandwich. I would venture out to the Manchester again, and perhaps try the curry next time as the flavour wafting off Kim’s dish had me drooling. Chalk this experience up to ordering the wrong thing. 🙁

    Reply
  • Sylvia V May 22, 2013, 9:41 pm

    The Key lime pie was amazing! Great pic, Kim. And entertaining review!

    Reply
  • Lisa L May 22, 2013, 10:18 pm

    I have to admit that i’m a turkey/chicken club junkie, so how could I NOT order The Manchesters version, if you’re craving a traditional club, this is not your sandwich. Served on a kaiser this chicken sandwich dished up big flavour, the only thing resembling a club was the bacon and surprisingly that was okay with me. Enjoyable pub fare and atmosphere, I would definately want to see what else the Manchester can dish up.

    Reply

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