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Manzis - London RIP


"London RIP-ers, actress Sophie Thompson among them, are mourning Manzi's fish restaurant."


Sophie Thompson - Stella Crawford in EastEnders - mourns one of London’s great fish restaurants

Manzi’s nestled between Leicester Square and Chinatown, and it was the most wonderful old fish restaurant with gingham tablecloths and mermaids painted on mirrors and huge pretend plaits of bread hanging above the counter. The waiters wore proper unfussy waiter outfits and were invariably Italian and a bit eccentric, the house wine was perfect and the chips fresh and fat.

Manzi’s RIP: Mamma Mia

My first meal there was a huge, plate-sized steak that I ate all of. I was six and very happy and the waiter said “mamma mia” when he saw that I had polished the whole thing off.

Still mourning

My last meal there was when I was 40-something and me and my husband were enjoying a birthday treat that involved lobster thermidore and skate in black butter with capers. I was very happy and then very sad, as that very night we learnt that Manzi’s was to close. The sons did not wish to carry the business on. Our wonderful waiter gave me a cup with “Manzi’s” on that is a treasure on our kitchen dresser, and I cried as we left. It was 2006. We are still in mourning for Manzi’s.

As is London-RIP reader, Nell, who writes:

Whenever something special needed to be marked Manzi’s was the place, with its checked table cloths, buzzy atmosphere, and waiters who had been there for as long as I had - 40 years. My first meal, when I was seventeen, up at the counter with a much older man.

Manzi’s RIP: Curried halibut and stewed eels

First course curried halibut 2s/11d. Dover sole firm charred skin, and the famous strawberry and cream flan oh my god. They stopped the curried halibut in the eighties, but never mind, there were stewed eels and mash (flavoured with nutmeg) as a starter or main. It became a solitary vice, lunching on stewed eels and mash, sitting at the counter watching the waiters fill the sauce boats to the brim with spoonfuls of unctuous tartare sauce, me feeling so anonymous and independent and self indulgent.

Then they stopped serving food at the counter, but I was getting more sedate anyway. Last solitary meal was at the table next to Sir Peter Hall who was filling the room with his personality, and I was a bit annoyed, because Manzi’s was MINE not his. Last month I was peering through the windows, the tables all laid, but the lights not on. Tears streaming down my cheeks. RIP

Are you missing a restaurant you loved? Contact London R.I.P and tell us about it.