Saturday 30 June 2012

Gorilla, Manchester

Gorilla Manchester
Gorilla this, gorilla that... it's all I've heard on Twitter for the last couple of weeks. You know by now that I'm a right nosy parker. I had to go. There was a small group of us, so the OCD within made me want to book a table. Denied! You cannot book. I'm still not sure that I'm down with this 'no booking' malarky. It makes me nervous, and feels very unorganised when you want to eat at a specific place on a Friday night. I understand it in London, but not Manchester. No. There, I said it. I do not like this process.

We got there about 6.30pm thinking it would still be nice and quiet. Wrong. Every Tom, Dick and Harry who owned a naff hat were in there looking 'cool'. I asked if there was a process for waiting for tables, to which I was informed 'no, you just have to wait and pounce'. Ace. No-one actually seemed to be eating because the tables had been commandeered by post-work drinkers. I bet the kitchen staff love it!

Anyone who knows me well will be more than aware of what my next step was. I was getting a table if it killed me. I was on form. Eyes peeled, nose to the ground and soldiers around me ready with their next move planned. This was a covert operation, as to the unsuspecting onlooker we may well have appeared 'casual with drink in hand' when we were actually a well oiled machine...

Tactic 1: Move to the Gin Parlour. This is the smaller bit upstairs. There were a few booths where people had already eaten. They could leave at any minute...

Tactic 2: Get inside info off the barman. There was a big table reserved despite 'no reservations'. It even had a proper sign... Apparently this was a corporate table. I asked the barman if we could reserve the next available table. We were told that wasn't possible but we could speak to the manager. Although he did say that 'in an hour this lot'll f*ck off to Stone Roses'. Insightful.

Tactic 3: Spread out. We positioned ourselves in a spot with easy access to all tables.

Tactic 4: Fend off the enemy. A group of people walked upstairs and eyeballed the table we knew was next to leave. One little madam even went and put her coat on a chair where people were still sat. I walked over to said table and loudly asked if they were leaving, as we had waited for an hour. I maintained a 'ladylike' demeanour despite the four letter rant going on in my head...

Tactic 5: Befriend the table about to leave. I came across as friendly, little madam came across as very rude indeed.

Tactic five was a belter. As the couple at that table were about to go, one caught my eye and beckoned us to the table. Result. Nice big table. This was my greatest achievement since the train to Edinburgh incident of 2010.

However, our luck was to run out a little. Actually ordering food turned out to be a bit of a nightmare too. We asked at the bar if we ordered there or waited for someone to come to us. He didn't know. We had to ask for menus and were actually in the middle of writing out our own order when a waiter finally appeared. By now it was about 7:45pm. At this point a waitress came and put a sign on our table reading 'Reserved from 8.30pm'. I'm not going to go into detail about the conversation that my husband had with her, but I can summarise it as something like this... 'I'm sorry, we have only just ordered so I doubt we will be finished by then. We were not informed of this when we sat down. Plus, I am sure that someone said you cannot reserve tables?' Let's leave it at that. She put it on another table.

Anyway, when our food came it looked wonderful. Thick juicy burgers with crispy fries. Unfortunately we did have to send one back because despite asking for no salad or sauce, it came with gherkins. They did bring it back quickly though, sans-gherkin.

The food itself was nice and tasty. The burgers were cooked well (mine was actually a little pinker than the photo below suggests) and the bacon was really crispy. The fries had a lovely crunch to them, but we all agreed they were way too salty. We all found ourselves with stinging lips afterwards. The food was good, but I think it was a little overshadowed by the ordeal of actually getting it!
Gorilla Manchester - Burger
Gorilla Manchester - Burger
Toasted sesame brioche bun, pickles, butterhead lettuce, Trof recipe burger sauce, 
aged cheddar, smoked streaky bacon & seasoned fries
Now I can't do a full review without testing the desserts. I was rather excited by the thought of brown sugar cheesecake! I've been eating like a bird for most of the week (with the exception of the pie and mash misdemeanour...) so I was well up for puddings. I have to say this was a disappointment. The first mouthful was devine, but then the further I got in, the soggier the base was and the stronger the alcohol in the filling became. I couldn't decide whether it was brandy or not? It completely overpowered the whole thing and I had to admit defeat.
Gorilla Manchester - Brown Sugar New York Cheesecake
My husband had the sticky toffee pudding. This again was pleasant, but nothing special. The texture suggested it had been warmed for a little too long in the microwave, as the edges were bit firm. The sauce was nice though and the ice cream was thick and creamy. A decent dessert. 
Gorilla Manchester - Sticky Toffee Pudding
I can imagine that when Gorilla is a little quieter, it's a much better experience. We got the impression that the staff were not used to being asked questions and really didn't know how to answer when we requested anything other than a drink. Additionally, we found it quite irritating that we were told you cannot book yet we saw evidence of it when we arrived. This made us suspect that it's okay for mates, but not for us. It didn't really feel like we were valued customers I'm afraid.

Disclaimer: Gorilla did not pay me for this review. I went with some friends because we had heard great things and for no other reason.
Gorilla on Urbanspoon


  1. Beautifully summarised Dolly! Never recall an experience quite like it! We did have a lot of fun though; you certainly needed a sense of humour... You also forgot the bit where we needed to provide the pen for our order to be taken. Bonkers!!!

    1. How could I forget that? And the fact he nearly nicked it! Good job he brought it back, Sally would have beat him dooooown!

  2. I think that's a fair review. I will simply add a note about the gin; it was good.

  3. On a positive note, the selection of drinks is pretty impressive, especially the ales. It's a real shame they have to ruin it with their obnoxious 'look how cool we are and that' attitude.

  4. Not to sure if I'll give this Gorilla a try to be honest. I hate the whole "stand around waiting until you can possibly pounce on a table" thing. Same at Almost Famous Manchester, the food was great but standing around getting back ache and sore feet only to have to pounce on a dirty table and shove past people to get there... not fun.

    Also, if the staff and procedures are so slap-dash, I think I'll wait until they've improved. Suggest E-Mailing them with your situation, so they may learn? :)

  5. Thank you Gorill for your post. I want to Share more information about Ice Cream, Milkshakes, Hot Desserts and Bubble Tea of Frobod Ltd Desserts Parlour in Manchester. If you want to enjoy the test of Ice Cream, Milkshakes, Hot Desserts you can visit


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