Puccini is an Italian restaurant located at 141 Katherine Street, Ashton-Under-Lyne, OL6 7AW. The phone number is 0161 330 1234.
This place was recommended by a friend a few months ago, we have been a few times and have recently had a function there. However, there was an experience during that function that I feel is an integral part of the review, and people will want to know about upfront:
We booked the upstairs function room for an anniversary party. There were about twenty adults and a small gaggle of children present. The group bill was well over £1000.
I am a tad picky on my wine, and only drink one type given a choice [which they don’t sell], so I brought a couple of bottles with me along with two bottles of champagne [again of a type we wanted and they don’t sell]. As soon as I opened one of them, a young waiter came over and said this isn’t allowed. Then he said there may be a corkage charge.
Well, which is it? Corkage charge or not allowed? I explained to him that as we were spending so much, I didn’t see it as an issue, but if the manager did, he was welcome to have a chat with me about it. He went away and didn’t come back, so I thought no more of it.
At the end of the evening, when I came to settle the final part of the bill that was ours, there was a £40 corkage charge on there. I immediately took this charge up with the manager, Robert.
Repeating what was stated above, I suggested that if I was paying corkage, it should have been disclosed in advance, and why were there not even any ice buckets provided at this money? He had no reply to that so he offered to reduce it to £30.
I suggested to him that zero might be a better number as we had a choice of venues, and had this evening spent well over £1000. Further, such greediness would prevent me from holding further venues there and he would probably also lose our business several times a month as regular diners.
He was adamant he wanted his thirty quid corkage, so I paid him and said I wouldn’t be back. *shrugs*
He clearly felt somewhat uncomfortable with his behaviour moments later, as he chased us out into the car park and gave my wife a bottle of wine. Well, I dunno what a bottle of Prosecco costs, but I am sure it isn’t thirty quid. Gesture aside, it still left me with an uncomfortable taste in my mouth, so we won’t be going back.
However, peevish greediness aside, based on about half a dozen visits, I also think I can still give an impartial review for others considering dining there. You may not want to use the function room or take your own wine, so what can you expect?
The Building 8/10:
The building is modern and quite nice. The place is clean and well appointed. The toilets are also clean. Not too spacious, and not too cramped. Getting in the small car park is unlikely, but the car park across the street is not expensive and free at certain times.
The Service 8/10:
On the whole, the service is quite good. The younger male waiters can myther you a bit. They interrupt your conversation to continually ask if everything is OK. I almost felt like saying to one to stop interrupting me every five minutes, and if something isn’t OK, he would be the first to know. The older, more experienced waiters are quite slick and on the case. They do tend to fawn all over women customers a bit, kissing cheeks etc, but that isn’t terribly unusual in Italians.
The Prices 6/10:
The prices are right at the top end of what you want to be paying in Ashton. As with most places, the wine is expensive and the quality mediocre. I certainly wouldn’t pay any more in Ashton, and one can easily pay a little less for similar food elsewhere. The pleasant building makes up for it though, depending on your point of view.
The Food 5/10:
If you are a gastronome, it will not rock your world. There is nothing particularly wrong with it, and my honest appraisal over several visits is “average”. Some things were rather nice, others less so. You wouldn’t say, “Let’s go there, the food is so great”, you would be more likely to say, “Let’s go there, the food is alright“. I like the fact that you can see into the kitchen from outside, only what comes out of it could be a little better.
If you have £80- £100 [assuming two with wine] burning a hole in your pocket and want an OK meal in a nice looking place, you could do worse. In Ashton, there isn’t really much choice of clean, presentable looking restaurants, so if you are tied to Ashton as a location, you may want to give it a shot. If you are not tied to Ashton as a location, I suggest Zizzi in Didsbury or Isis in Swinton instead if you are looking for a nicer Italian.
If you are considering using the function room, ask for an older waiter or the young boys will pester you to death every two minutes, and make the manager Robert aware upfront that if you choose to bring a bottle or two of your own to a function [not to be confused with a table for two], you refuse to pay their corkage charges. Make that a condition of the booking, agree a number, and have him note it in writing.
I think if they improved the food just a little, and improved the quality of the wines somewhat, the place would be stonking. He can keep the thirty quid he greedily snaffled from me. I spent more than that on lunch at another Italian in Hale this week, so his loss.
Unfortunately, trying to nickel and dime me for thirty quid has lost him several thousand pounds of our future business [on principle], and a write up here.
You may have better luck.
Do you agree? Do you disagree? Know a better place in Ashton? If you like the article, please share it on Facebook or Twitter. Your comments and thoughts are always welcome, please feel free to use the comment box below.
I have just read your review of Puccini’s in Ashton and find it quite comical. If you say you are a regular user of the restaurant and they don’t serve the wine of your taste and the food is average why would you want to have an event there anyway? Why not choose somewhere better such as Isis or the chain Zizzi in Didsbury where you so mentioned. Or better still stay at home where you can drink the wine of your choice with an ice bucket and no corkage to pay. If you turn up at the restaurant with your own wine, as a regular person that dines out you would expect to pay corkage. If the restaurant didn’t serve your favourite cut of meat would you take your own and expect the establishment to cook it and use their plates free of charge ? No you wouldn’t.
As a regular diner at the restaurant I find the manager and staff always go that extra mile. I agree with your score of 8/10. Sometimes people don’t always get it right and mistakes can be made. After all we are only human. The food I disagree with your score, I believe it to more. But that’s my opinion.
However going back to mistakes and being human, I believe you are the one that made the mistake. Possibly you were tying to save money by taking your own “stash” of wine and champagne and then tried to put blame on the manager for trying to “snaffle” £30 out of you. Sounds to me like you were disgruntled. As for being a stonking restaurant. Have you tried to get a table there Friday and Saturday’s ? Wow that place is rocking !!! I wish I had shares in it, they are obviously doing something right.
Anyway you have made your little point that you weren’t happy. I think it would be a great idea to go to Swinton or Disdbury and try and play the game there. I’m sure Robert and his hard working team won’t miss you, your wines, or your £1000. After all they hardly look like they need it !!! A great place to go in Ashton and about time to.
Thanks for the comment Tino. We’ll agree to differ on some points, but I appreciate you taking the time to write a thoughtful and well-considered reply.
Although I think you missed the last line:
I am about to book for my eight staff for a Christmas meal – elsewhere……..
Was that thirty quid so important to him?
I have since been to Zizi and Jem&I in Didsbury, Isis in Swinton and La Famiglia in Hale. There in a month is TEN times what he tried to hoof me out of spent in other places. That I would have otherwise probably spent there.
I dunno what kind of businessman you are Tino, but I wouldn’t nickel and dime my regular, high-spending clients for thirty quid while knowing [and being told] I would lose thousands on the back of it.