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Published November 13th 2014
Loyal Diners For Thirty Years
I felt like royalty when I went with my dear old Aunty Shirley and Uncle Martin (in their eighties) to the Manhatten hotel. They have been dining at the Manhattan hotel for 30 years. In the last 15 years they have a permanent booking every Monday. Their table is lucky seven, which is in the prime position right next to the desserts. According to them you'd be surprised how many people would like to get their hands on this table.
Of course, they have members cards and they told me with a chuckle that recently a staff member couldn't believe the card was 30 years old. He even asked if he could take a photocopy. I suspect it may have been older than him. The member's cards entitle them to special offers like the occasional free drink and on the first Tuesday of every month you can get two meals for only $17. How is that even possible?
My uncle recalled that 'Before gambling machines were installed in this magnificent property they would have been lucky to have had a dozen people at the Manhattan hotel.' Now at 12 o'clock people are queuing for the buffet and it's the same every week.
It starts at 12. Don't be late or you will need to stand in line.
After my uncle retired he recalls he thought it was stupid trying to decide what to eat everyday, shopping and spending hours cooking. He suggested to my aunt that they go out for lunch every day and then they would only have to have a light dinner. It's not surprisingly that there were not any arguments from my aunt.
At the rate of $12 for seniors (every Monday and Thursday) how could you go wrong? Adults are $22, kids between 6 and 12 years are $12 and under 5 years six dollars. If it weren't for the pokies I'm sure that the hotel would be making a loss. Don't be fooled into thinking that elderly people cannot eat large meals when there is such an extensive range of food.
I can hardly believe anyone would want to dine at the same place every week for 30 years so I asked them why they keep coming back to the Manhattan. They said it was consistently good and that they have never tired of the food it because it changes regularly and there is such a variety. They also believe they get special service from the waitresses and waiters. They told me that when they go to get the next course the dishes are always clear before they get back to the table. They staff certainly were friendly and they knew my relatives by name.
Some of the Asian food to choose from
There are other hotel competitors in the area like the Mitcham Hotel which has a two course meal $12 for a two course meal or $15 for three courses. The Coach and Horses, run by the Collingwood Football Club, has a shopper docket deal where you buy one meal and get one free.
But the Manhattan is worth coming back to time and time again for three decades at least, according to my aunt and uncle. So for the purposes of this research I have overindulged just a little. When I report on the different selections it looks like total piggery but I prefer to think I got my money's worth for the benefit of this serious investigative reporting.
Yet another row of food
Now to the buffet selection. There are always two types of two soups to choose from and today's selection was a chicken and pea or pumpkin. Uncle Martin always has a combination. It was a colorful one today. There's garlic bread to go with that, which is more like a tasty focaccia. If you prefer there are other varieties of pizza and a kids' corner which includes hash browns, spring rolls other yum cha style fried goodies.
I couldn't get anymore on the plate
Although it might not seem like it, I was very strategic perusing all that was on offer before loading up my plate. I could not resist some of the Asian food. The curried vegetables and the spicy noodles where my absolute favourites. There is a roast section and today is the meat is beef with roast potatoes, vegetables and gravy. There's also a large salad bar and even though I didn't try it the chunky potato salad looked great.
The dessert bar is not quite big enough so the bread and butter pudding with a sweet jam and fruit topping and the sticky date pudding are in the hot food section with custard. I was too late for the sticky date, which is apparently always popular, but I really enjoyed the bread-and-butter pudding.
There was also self-serve soft serve ice cream in chocolate and vanilla flavours, red and green jelly (strangely appealing to pensioners), a selection of fruit and a plate of petite cakes.
Even pensioners like red jelly the best
I was actually pretty surprised at the quality of the chocolate mousse and the chocolate-based cheesecake. I consider myself to be an experienced cheesecake appraiser and this was rich but not too rich and really delicious.
Look out for the cheesecake on the left
Two deals worth considering when you go to the Manhatten:
$8 POT AND PARMA All Day Every Day! This is pub style Parma served with chips and your choice of a VB, cascade light or soft drink. This is served in the Lager bar only from 12pm - 8.30pm. Conditions apply.
A very special Christmas feast will be held on 25 December. It's an all you can eat lunch. $80 adults, 6-12 yr olds $35 and children under 5 eat free.
I'd highly recommend the bread and butter pudding
But wait there's more! The Manhattan hotel has a gaming room, two separate TABs, function rooms, Bottle Shop, boardroom, kids play area with play stations and party room, the Lager Bar with one of Melbourne's best beer gardens now boasting a massive 3.5mtr by 2mtr outdoor Super screen.
If you want to kick back and be entertained or be actively involved in a bit of fun, the Manhatten has something in stall for you. They host Morning melodies, karaoke competitions, poker nights, trivia nights and bingo. On Friday night the beer is served by models! A free club for kids entitles them to $1 off every meal, meal surprises, competitions and birthday offers. You can join online club4kids.com.au
If you like the sound of a cheap weekend the Manhatten also has accommodation for only $80. Located on Canterbury Road just off Eastlink in Ringwood, the Manhattan Hotel is a world of its own.