- 6 Nov, 2017 -
THE MACKIE MAYOR | REVIEW
Scene: 2014. Market House, Altrincham. Laura sits, glass of wine in one hand and a slice of pizza in the other. Ponders to herself and says:
“Wouldn’t it be great if all of this was in Manchester City Centre”
Fast forward to 2017 and up pops The Mackie Mayor; Alty Market Houses’ ‘Big Brother’, housed in a stunning 19th century meat market close to urban ancoats and the hipster hangouts of the NQ.
The hype has been strong with this one. From it’s opening day it had Manchester’s foodies flocking down to see how it stacked up. Waiting a week or two for the MM to find its feet I decided to pop by mid-day on a Friday and see what all the fuss was about.
As expected, and as seen in hundreds of pictures that had graced social media in their opening week, the building is absolutely stunning. Keeping a lot of the original features to pay homage to the Mackie Mayors meat trade past, but adding some modern and slightly industrial touches brings the space firmly into the millennial age. Luckily, it’s about 5 times bigger than the Market House so is sure to cope with the footfall.
For some of the traders, this is their second pitch. Honest Crust, Tender Cow, Little Window and Reserve have been dominating in Altrincham Market for years. This can only be a good sign, surely? By now these successful businesses would absolutely know what the customer wants, how they want it and how much they’d be willing to pay… right?
After grabbing a seat on the upper balcony area a waitress quickly approached with a bowl of water for my French Bulldog, Albert. He settled down in no time and took a snooze under our chairs. I wandered off downstairs to take a gander at the offering.
The first place I stumbled across was newcomers Bao House (Wolfhouse Kitchen’s second business) who were flogging 1 Bao at £8. Urm…Nao. (Bao in Soho serve Michelin Bib Gourmand standard Bao’s at £4. How they think that someone will spend £8 on 1 bite-sized Bao is beyond me)
Moving on, I noticed another newbie – Fin. Second venture for the very well established and frankly one of my favourites, Tender cow. Looking up at the menu I saw £15 for Fish and chips. JESUS. What are they doing?! Why would I pay £15 for Fish and Chips when I can get a steak for £14?! Have a word
Getting quite agitated I decided on ordering a steak from Tender Cow. I’ve eaten here a dozen times and always loved it. Surely they could do no wrong. The steak I ordered (Hanger steak with fried eggs, mojo verde and harissa) was priced at £16. The most expensive thing on their brunch menu but I decided to go for it as I knew it would be good.
I had a feeling the portion would be small. And it was. The thin strip of steak had been sliced into 5 small gob-sized chunks and were accompanied by 2 fried eggs. The little meat that was there was incredibly tasty as I knew it would be, there just wasn’t enough of it. I also ordered an avocado side salad and the instant the waitress put it down in front of me I felt ripped off.
It was literally just a small plate of iceberg lettuce with a few chunks of avo floating around on it. £6 for a side salad is steep in any restaurant (Hawksmoor do a butter salad for £3.50 btw) – but for this, I felt cheated.
Still hungry I decided to head over to Honest Crust. Their Portobello mushroom pizza was ace as always. But again, a little steep on the price at £10 (when Rudy’s do the exact same, if not better, mushroom pizza for £7.20)
I didn’t want this to be somewhere I went once in a blue moon – I wanted it to be somewhere that I can frequent again and again. But at these prices, it’s just not going to happen.
I can’t help but feeling a little disappointed in my visit to the Mackie mayor. And it seems to be a very popular opinion too. Everyone I have encountered since has said “It’s so expensive there” so I’m glad it’s not just me that feels this way.
I’m not saying don’t go. It’s a great addition to Manchester’s food and drink scene. You absolutely must go, but go on pay day.