Why Manchester Shouldn't Give Two Shits What Giles Coren Or Michelin Say

The food here is as good if not better than London

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If you missed it a couple of weeks back restaurant critic for The TimesGiles Coren left a scathing review of Yang Sing the Chinese restaurant on Princess Street that has been there for 40 years. 

"I tried the famous Yang Sing for the first time in 12 years,” 
“If anything, it is worse than it was in 2004. Revolting. Absolutely minging. Unquestionably the worst Chinese meal I’ve ever had. And I’ve had a Chinese meal in Pontefract.”

The pompous remarks came from a critic who has previous beef with the North saying that

cities outside of London lacked 'any sort of culture of eating out.'

Add to this the fact that Michelin have overlooked Manchester yet again in terms of Stars (London has over 50) and it's hard for the general public not to ask themselves if Manchester is some sort of culinary wasteland?

I decided to delve into the issue a little further and started by eating in Yang Sing

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Far from being revolting or absolutely minging it was perfectly good. It's not going to win any international awards but as far as good honest Chinese food goes it did the job for me. Good dumplings. A good honest sweet and sour chicken served by friendly staff in a buzzing room. 

It's a place to come and get pissed with your mates. The tables spin around in a wonderfully kitsch yet practical way. The portions are so big that they encourage this sort of sharing and you leave with a smile on your face.

It's easy to slag off a restaurant with a couple of throwaway comments in a review that make you look like the big man but there are very few restaurants that survive for 40 months never mind 40 years in this day and age. Punters tend to vote with their feet and their wallets and that's the only yardstick Yang Sing should really worry about. 

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Why Choose Manchester?

This is the fifth city we've brought the Lovin brand to. It was always going to a be UK city next but Manchester won out for me over London because of the food and more importantly the people. 

London does have great restaurants but I've always found the place too busy, too stuck-up and full of people like Coren. When building a business you want to spend time in cities you love, which have an edge and natural exuberance - with people who's company you enjoy and in every factor Manchester won out.

Luckily we no longer live in a pompous age where restaurant reviewers like Coren hold much currency. Look at the streets around you and you'll see newspapers replaced in people's hands with smart phones. Ditto with Michelin which was traditionally a hardback book that is well past it's sell by date, a relic of a bygone era. 

We now live in an era where thanks to social media everybody is a restaurant critic. Coren and Michelin have seen their power diminish and that hurts the ego hence the lashing out (Coren has at other times ripped into Portugese cooking, Irish cuisine and countless other venues.)

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Coren finishes his article by telling us that the North East does have one decent restaurant...Hawksmoor. The fact that it is a clone from London reinforces the fact that you are dealing with a blinkered flawed opinion. I"m a huge fan of Hawksmoor both here and in London but this city has so much more. 

From the wonderful coffee scene starting to explode in Manchester, to the eclectic mix of eateries in the Northern Quarter through to the brasseries and wine bars in the villages that make up this great city there is so much to choose from. Even poor old Yang sing with it's innings of 40 has a role to play here.

I've spent 6 months here eating in every type of restaurant and I still feel like I'm only scratching the surface and that something is starting to build here. Giles Coren and the Michelin guide are wrong. They are the ones who need to look at their flaws and quite frankly as far as I'm concerned they can fuck off back to London and stay there.

READ NEXT: The Top 10 Cups Of Coffee In Manchester

Written By

Niall Harbison

Niall founded Lovin Media Group. He lives in Manchester and loves his dogs Snoop and Biggie