Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A PLACE TO RETURN TO - AND DON'T LEAVE IT 25 YEARS ; One of Manchester's Oldest Surviving Restaurants Celebrates Three Decades in the Trade - and Is Still as Good as Ever

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

A PLACE TO RETURN TO - AND DON'T LEAVE IT 25 YEARS ; One of Manchester's Oldest Surviving Restaurants Celebrates Three Decades in the Trade - and Is Still as Good as Ever

Article excerpt

WITH the huge number of restaurants opening in Manchester, it is sometimes easy to forget about the places that have been around for a long time. Just surviving in our ever-changing and ultra competitive dining out landscape is usually worth applause in itself.

But for one family to sustain an operation that is still obviously thriving after 30 years deserves even higher praise.

Anyone who watched Shane Meadows' brilliant This Is England 90 and can remember Manchester in that era, knows what a world away the restaurant scene today is from then.

A handful of stand alone restaurants survive. Apart from the hotels and pubs, the city centre still has Don Giovanni (opened 1984), Cafe Istanbul (celebrating 35 years this month), Rajdoot (dating from 1966, it re-opened this month after a fire), Armenian Taverna (1968), Teppanyaki (a youngster at 26), Dimitris and El Rincon (similar aged siblings), with The Rice Bowl (1960 - probably the oldest).

There is also Koreana, the first Korean restaurant outside London when it opened in 1985. The Kim family's basement venue on King Street West has unassumingly fed Western and Eastern diners for 30 years, as around it restaurants have come and gone and dynasties - in San Carlo and Living Ventures - flourished.

I took my girlfriend, now wife, Nicky, to Koreana on our third date in 1990 - so in celebration of our silver going-out anniversary, we went back for the very first time since then.

I must have wandered past the place at least once a week for 25 years and never poked my head inside again. That reflects the number of new places on offer, not that Hacienda era meal.

Back then, Koreana was ultra formal - waitresses in hanbok clothing; the plink plonk of traditional music; thick, white tablecloths and unfathomable but delicious food. As an impoverished cub reporter, it set me back 50 notes - but she is worth it. …

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