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The Alan, Manchester: ‘A truly delightful menu’ – restaurant review

With its friendly staff, fair prices and fine cooking, it’s a real puzzle why the Alan isn’t busierThe Alan, 18 Princess Street, Manchester M1 4LG (0161 236 8999). Snacks and small plates £3-£6.50, steaks and chops £16-£28, desserts £7, wines from £25First impressions matter. First impressions can also be wrong. The first impression tonight at the Alan, a new boutique hotel on the edge of Manchester’s Chinatown, is of somewhere about as popular as herpes. The moodily lit foyer is a confection of raw brick and rough plastered walls, housing stone slab tables of the sort Aslan might be sacrificed upon if you were in need of a little light midcourse religious symbolism. There’s ceiling ducting and spindly industrial lighting and acres of polished crazy paving-style stone floor. And almost no punters. The Alan isn’t just quiet. It feels abandoned. A single employee is on duty in the main foyer this evening, eyeing the entrance. He greets us cheerfully as we push through the doors. Perhaps he’s grateful for the company. Continue reading…