I almost think the Living Room has been going as long as I have. An icon on the WAG and ‘ballers circuit, it was one of the first bars in Manc (ie: not a pub or a club) and this then new concept has spawned a breed of bar culture across our fair city.
Just on Deansgate, it’s a prime location for those who are ‘fur coat no knickers’ and those who could clothe the third world with their underwear. It’s also a convenient stone throw away from our new HQ.
“…perfect for ladies’ who lunch and going for dinner with mates…”
Over the years, I’ve popped in and out of it and it’s hosted a number of historically messy evenings, the perfect setting for gorgeous cocktails and nibbles.
For those who haven’t been, the downstairs bar area has a ton of booths, a statement counter all in muted creams and brown, and a giant piano – they do music regularly and it’s not as cheesy as it sounds. You can eat here or go to the restaurant at the back or a fabulous off-white dining room upstairs. There’s also the study bar ideal for private B’days.
Unusually all four of us had been able to make this dinner, with Ginger, The Gay and Dubai, so obviously with all that testosterone at the table the talk was immediately about fake tan.
The Ginger is thinking of trying it so he’s not so pale and interesting for his ‘Big Fight’, The Gay felt he should try a different brand as it was playing havoc with his brows, turning them a funny shade of murky and Dubai felt he need some because, well, he’s not in Dubai. In the meantime I was following the match on my phone.
ilovemcr-cupcakeThis after the boys had been visiting all and sundry handing out I Love MCR cupcakes and The Gay had to hotfoot it from a shoot with soap stars and raw mushrooms, all apparently legal.
The menu is very reasonably priced (starters from £3.75 and mains from £6.75), perfect for ladies’ who lunch and going for dinner with mates – not so much a romantic date setting. People here want to be seen and also want to see, there’s an awful lot of people-watching and we were no exception to the crane-necking.
It’s bistro styley with some comfort classics thrown in, quite a bit of Thai (which they do well and I have eaten it there often), steaks and innovatively a range of options under 550 cals which are marked on the menu for those who are still watching their weight.
I chose a yummy sounding squash and dolcelatté tart because I had been out to lunch after an epic shopping trip with Ma Chadders. This didn’t look much when it came but tasted absolutely heavenly, the salty cheese perfect with the squash and accompanying pear – a really good veggie option as well.
Dubai went for chicken skewers with satay which he felt were OK but not setting his world on fire. The Gay was in a similar frame of mind with his scallops and blackpudding, finding the scallops a bit grainy.
Ginge though adored his Thai fish cakes, saying they were sweetly spicy so I guess it was a game of two halves with the starters but then where we expecting fabulousness at these prices? Competent and well cooked is good enough and two of the dishes were superb.
Our lovely host and hostess Jimmy and Jessica were doing a wonderful job of looking after us – well until the breastgate* incident, but more of that later.
It is friendly, attentive and efficient service and as we washed the meal with a bottle of Prosecco for me and Dubai, while Ginge hit the G&T’s cos he’s in ‘training’, making him more mournful in a mother’s ruin kind of way, we were having a lot of fun. The Gay stuck to white wine – (I tried to get prices for you but can’t work their website).
I ordered the rosemary and lemon chicken, swapping the mash it comes with for broccoli. It had a wonderful lemony flavour that saturated the whole meat but I was disappointed with the veg. The cabbage it sat on was dry and dull and the broccoli a tad overdone.
The Gay’s Moroccan spiced lamb he felt looked ‘underdressed’ – hello was he expecting sequins? But he said it was cooked really well, with the meat properly tender and falling off the bone. The accompanying couscous he dismissed with a glance and ordered chips instead.
Ginge was pigging out on, well pig. A trio of pork to be precise. He was snorting happily through porchetta wrapped pork, pork belly and blackpudding. Apparently this is one of their signatures and Ginge concurred it should be as he troughed the lot, like a pig in muck (wonder if Ricky Hatton has put this on the diet sheet).
Dubai was also in heaven (and we all wished he was quite literally as he was sooooo grumpy that night) with his seafood linguine. I have never seen him eat anything so quickly and with evident enjoyment, eating every last little scrap. In a dish that could have been over-powering blending mussels, prawn and squid, all the flavours complemented each other and he rated this as one of the best dishes he has had recently.
It was onto puds (from 4.75) but the gay and I opted for espresso martinis instead, delish and expertly made. Dubai had the cheesecake which he said was OK but not historic, but then he was Mr Grumpy Pants.
Ginge opted for the trio of chocolate puds (I wish I was on his boxing diet) and I shared them with him. These were divine, orgasmic with a choice of a brownie, fudge cake and an almond topped chocolate tart that I could quite frankly eat forever.
Then it happened. *Breastgate where The Gay somehow managed to graze Jessica’s boob by accident. That’s when Jessica shouted ‘the Gay’s not gay!!’ O yes he is, he even had a limp wrist that night which he put down to texting, but that’s another story…
On the I Love’o’meter
The Living Room is like an old friend with benefits, lots to blow you away and keep you coming back for more.
The Living Room, 80 Deansgate, Manchester M3 2ER
0161 832 0083