In summary, one of the worst dining experiences in a very long time indeed.
Historically, we've avoided hotel restaurants like the plague, for fear of the very experience that we endured on Saturday evening (11/01/14). We decided to buck that trend on Saturday, partly because were were at least staying at the hotel for the night; more importantly because the reviews on here seemed excellent.
Upon arriving at the restaurant, we waited circa five minutes to be seated. This despite numerous servers walking past us and at least partly making eye contact. They seemed to be doing very little indeed. Next up, we waited around ten minutes for drinks to arrive. We then ordered bread with our food, on recommendation of the server, based on a twenty minute waiting time for our food. The bread arrived fifteen minutes later and just a few minutes before the food itself. To add injury to insult, the bread took the form of two rather hard part-baked rolls; the sort of thing you'd be sad to cook up from Tesco. No apology; in fact a rather surly 'I hadn't forgotten!' when it finally did arrive.
The food itself was distinctly average. I can't say poor, as the steak was cooked 'medium-rare' as requested, the dish was at least hot and consisted of the items as advertised. No major issues; nothing worth writing home about. I should add that we ordered the steak almost purely on the basis that the a la carte menu itself looked as dull as dish water. And if you're going to add 'foam' to any dish on your menu, you really better be good. And this place clearly isn't - at least on the basis of our experience.
Finally, and by no by real surprise at this point, despite us ordering water for the table twice, it never arrived.
The only credit I can offer the place is that for the way in which they ultimately handled their shortcomings. The bread was taken off the bill, as was my large glass of Malbec. The latter point a particular relief, given the circa £8.70 price tag for what was an incredibly soppy, bodyless glass of wine indeed.
What truly astounds me, in hindsight, is how highly this restaurant seemed to be ranked - both on here and beyond. Perhaps they truly did have an 'off night' - as the shift manager assured me at the end. Regardless, on the basis of our experience this place is a true embarrassment to all concerned. Not least the hotel in which it is based, which by comparison was utterly faultless; great value; a wonderful place.
If you own or manage City Cafe - Manchester, register now for free tools to enhance your listing, attract new reviews, and respond to reviewers.