Monday, April 14, 2014

Restaurant Wars: The Battle For Manchester

"Don't look so uncomfortable Simon, we're on the same side"
What with Mary-Ellen McTague doing big swears (I'm guessing - she's got previous) on Great British Menu and Restaurant Wars starting straight afterwards, there's enough North West food action on BBC2 tonight to butter all the parsnips in town. The twin tales of  the openings of Simon Rogan at The French and Aiden Byrne's Manchester House have been yoked together for a who'll-get-the-Michelin-star? documentary. Three hour-long parts might be a bit ambitious, but the first one is, at least, reasonably low on patronising bullshit - excepting, of course, Tim Bacon's opinions on what the laydeez like for dinner.

For veterans of the original French there are plenty of opportunities for old retainer spotting and a glimpse of what happens when rich people get pissed off. Restaurant spods will enjoy watching the chefs wielding their tweezers and demanding high standards of cabbage butchery. I particularly relished Byrne's interior designer threatening to "turn up the funk buttons", Midland GM Mike Magrane observing worriedly that the team need to think about jugs, and Simon Rogan barely containing his frustration that the dry ice has arrived and "there's no hose to squirt it off." And don't get him started on the location of the onion oil. Tonight, BBC2, 8pm.