Grafene, Manchester, again

There have been so many reductions in Manchester’s restaurants for the January dip. I did not manage to get a single one. I’ve kind of avoided going to Manchester, I just couldn’t be bothered with the journey, I’ve not been in the mood for much. I only really go for the cinema but I managed to find showings at a cinema a few minutes drive away so I missed out on all the cheap food. Next year I guess. I did go to Dishoom the week before but they didn’t have an offer. Mason’s next door did but only on certain days, not the day I was there. I really didn’t want to go to Grafene because I go there a lot and I wanted to try somewhere else.

A film has been out called Free Solo that I really wanted to see. It’s about a free climber scaling El Capitain in Yosemite. The day I was able to go turned out to be the winteriest day of the year. I hadn’t slept well so was worried about falling asleep during the movie which was a documentary. I was on the net looking for places to eat with offers on and nothing seemed to work out. I was frustrated. I kept wondering whether to go out at all. It was snowing a bit and raining a bit. It was freezing. Aargh! I decided to brave it. I actually kept thinking of when I did jury duty a couple of years ago and had to Manchester in worse weather. As I left the snow had started again and it turned to sleet. My good old umbrella saved me. Soon it was just a bit rainy then it stopped.

Free Solo was great. It was quite tense though you know he makes it. There was an interview with him on Radio 4 a few days earlier. Some of the shots are terrifying. My eyes did struggle to stay open a couple of times but mainly I was okay.

As I sat in the theatre and as I walked out I kept thinking of places I could go. Could I book a table then a few minutes before going to a place? I had Chaophoraya  on my mind for some reason. It is across the road from Grafene. I signed on to Odeon wifi to see if I could book Chaophoraya but I switched off my phone and kept walking.

So in Grafene I asked if I had to book for the 50% off offer. I didn’t. The waiter took me to a table and I was given the Grafets menu rather than the main menu. I looked out the window behind me at Chaophoraya.


I just don’t like this style of menu. Just tell me what you’re serving instead of being minimalist and cool. I didn’t ask for explanations though so that’s my fault. It used to be that you could get 3 for £x or 5 for £y. I don’t know if that has stopped forever or just for the period of the offer. I had said on FB that I would come for a dessert binge. I did choose savouries as well though. The dishes looked intriguing (maybe that’s the point of the menu style). I don’t do beef so scratch that. I was really tempted by the duck and the aubergine. I’ve not really had truffle and I like sea bass.  I asked the guy who greeted me for those two.img_20190122_140626860

The skin on the sea bass was lovely and crisp. The celeriac was great. The endive was nice but a bit much. The other things on the plate were yummy too.


I didnae like the look of the ravioli dish. It was a bit of a splodge. The tastes were incredible. The ravioli seemed a bit empty but what was in it was gorgeous.  The splodge, the crispy bits the goodies hiding underneath, all fantastic.

So to the dessert binge. I was served by a lovely Eastern European waitress now.


Coffee, cinnamon and hazelnut. Stunning. I hate foams but that tasted great too. The textures, flavours, the cold element, great.

I caught the waitresses attention and asked for this.


The pear thing. Just beautiful. The waitress came and to take the empty plate away. She asked if I wanted anything else. I said I so wanted the carrot cake but I wasn’t sure if I should. Oh fuck it. I didn’t say this to her. I said, “Oh I’ll have it. They’re only small.” She smiled at me and went to order it for me.


Carrot cake. Best carrot cake ever, maybe. The ice cold cream cheese was brilliant. I loved the white chocolate wafers.

While I was eating I heard the waitress tell a lady on another table something about closing and finding a new job. When she came over I asked about this. She said they were closing for two weeks for refurbishment but who knew how long it would take. These things don’t run smoothly.  I thought it sounded a bit final. Would it re-open? It was very quiet. It almost always seemed quiet though whenever I went in. Maybe they didn’t get enough business. It might have picked up in the evening, I only ever went in the afternoon. I think the waiting staff had changed again since my last visit unless those youngsters were on different shifts. I hope they don’t completely change the decor because I love it, all greys and granite. Unfortunately no picture. I hope they re-open.

I had a nice little conversation with the waitress during the desserts and when I got the bill. Ah, female interaction. img_20190122_150739449

I guess her name was Simona.

As I walked out, feeling tipsy from the cocktail I had finished off with, I told the pastry chef the desserts were great. I think he was new. To be honest I mainly remember the two cute, eastern European pastry chef sisters. I knew one had left but I don’t know if the other had also gone or if she was on a different shift. It was all a bit sad to think of.



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