Manchester Evening News

Hooked by Sexy Fish

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A NATIONAL restaurant critic has admitted he wanted to “hate” Manchester’s Sexy FIsh restaurant – but was won over by its ‘disco food’ and ‘paradise of glowing pink onyx’.

Renowned Telegraph critic William Sitwell chose to dine alone at the glitzy venue on Spinningfi­elds.

In his review published on Saturday in The Telegraph, the critic regaled the full experience of his £182 solo meal (excluding drinks and service). He described the multi-million pound venue as ‘a vast paradise of glowing pink onyx, glass, mosaics and fish’.

Taking to Twitter to share his review, Mr Sitwell told his 17,000 followers: “I went to Manchester to hate Sexy Fish. Here’s how it went...”

But despite apparently thinking he’d hate it, it appears the food and the ambiance ultimately won over the solo diner. He awarded it a four out of five star review.

Sexy Fish opened in Manchester amid a blaze of publicity and a starstudde­d launch in October. It became the third Sexy Fish to open after success in London and Miami and is based inside the former Armani store just off Deansgate.

While the food critic acknowledg­ed its reputation as a celeb haunt, he said: “I spy no celebs on my visit but spot groups of well-honed men in tight, black T-shirts and others of rather un-honed men with large beards and baggy black T-shirts.

He swiped: “Other tables are filled with women who take selfies, interrogat­e their phones and don’t appear to talk to one another.”

Describing his first impression on walking into the glitzy venue, which is adorned with giant fish and Damien Hirst artworks, he wrote: “The music pumps, the place heaves and there are mermaids everywhere, both sculptural and real; the latter jettisonin­g their tails for the evening, presumably, as they waft about as entertainm­ent.”

Choosing to dine alone with a copy of The Spectator for company, he described the food he ate in glowing terms, although in between occasional barbed comments too. Skewers of beef are “tender and sticky” while praising the decorative presentati­on of sushi and sashimi and snacks, including pink shrimp served on the “paper-covered belly of a small silver mermaid.”

He wrote: “It’s disco food, as adjunct to the place as the music, fish art and fishy customers. So I judge it as such. Context is everything, darling. Which is the sort of cool thing I could shout to a dining companion, if I had a human one.”

Devouring a sharing chocolate pudding all to himself, he concludes in the review that: “This pud knows its true audience, as does Sexy Fish. It knows what it wants, needs and cares for, and in this business that’s all that counts.”

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