There is no other way of saying it, Manhattan is schizophrenic! It not only has two distinct spaces, but also two distinct personalities, one likeable and the other not so much. When you walk in to the bar/café area, you are surrounded by ugliness, and the space certainly doesn’t reflect the high class and expensive image Manhattan tries to project. The night my group went, the head barman/manager was doing a spring cleaning of the storage area next to the bar, and nothing was going to stop him, not even the presence of customers. So nice to see that he doesn’t let customers get in the way of his business
The dining room, the more likeable of the two personalities, is another world. Chairs are plush and the space (although a tad tired) is quite classy. Okay, they have overdone the New Yorky-ness of it all. In fact, it looks like it was designed by someone who loves New York but has probably never been there.
Mental disorders aside, let’s get down to the food. Once you have managed to negotiate the slowest computer tablet menus ever made, you get to see a comprehensive and reasonably creative menu. The computer tablets, however, are pretentious and unnecessary : there is nothing wrong with a paper menu!
Two of our party chose the black pudding and caramelized apple as an appetizer, and it was superb. The third in our party had the scallops, which brought a smile to his face and his tongue to his lips. We all chose steak as our main (after all it is a steak house). Steaks were cooked exactly to order, were tender and accompanied by a selection of excellent side dishes: each diner could choose two. Sauces were rich, although a little cold, and plentiful. Overall, the food was very good.
The waiters in the dining room were professional and friendly, but as we were the only table, they really had a lot of free time.
One of our group was a smoker so after the meal we went back to the “smoking permitted” bar, and that other less likeable personality raised its head again. We were offered a complimentary drink, but once it was served we were given the distinct impression that they wanted us to leave. The head barman/manager started feeding the fish which I think is body language for “Get the hell out of here, I want to go home!”
To be honest, I would definitely go back to Manhattan for the food, but next time I go , I think I will go to the comfortable Mata Hari bar for a drink pre- and post-dinner so I can avoid the less congenial of Manhattan’s two personalities.
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