It seems as though I’m not destined to have much luck with Italian restaurants in Manchester... even those that others seem to love – my experience at San Carlo Bottega was “not the best”, the same could be said of CIBO. Thankfully CIBO has since closed and is soon to be reopening as a SoLiTa; run by Franco Sotgiu who for a time was partner in what I felt was Manchester’s best Italian, “Italia” which sadly also closed after his departure.
As a fan of Salvi’s Deli, I had high hopes from this, their new restaurant on John Dalton Street. Even more so when I started to read good reports in Twitter. I'm not going to waffle on any more but get straight to the point as it is a long time since I have been so disappointed by a meal.
Here are a few of our main gripes:
* Lettuce was old and brown around the edges.
* ‘Fresh basil’ on the Insalata caprese was in fact just the dried stuff;
* We found the arancini dry and very skimpy with meat, peas and mozzarella;
* The carpaccio tasted briny and felt plonked on the plate with no love as you’d expect from Italian cuisine and had two unappetising smears of something vaguely reminiscent of balsamic;
* The Polipo alla Luciana tasted of little else than tinned tomatoes;
* The stodgy Carbonara came stuck together in one big lump;
* The amount of pepper splattered onto the Timballo di verdure felt as through someone in the kitchen was just taking the piss;
* The Fregola on the other hand could have sone with some pepper… and some salt.
Insalata caprese (£9) – tomatoes and mozzarella di bufala D.O.P. topped with fresh basil and olive oil
Arancini di riso con ragu de carne (£6) – rice ball filled with meat, peas and mozzarella
Polipo alla Luciana (£8) – octopus cooked in a Mediterranean tomato sauce with capers and black olives
Timballo di verdure con formaggio do capra e pesto (£8) – mixed grilled vegetables stacked with goat cheese, topped off with pesto
Carpaccio di manzo rucola e grana (£8.50) – beef, rocket and parmesan drizzled with olive oil and balsamic finished with freshly squeezed lemon
Risotto alla pescatora (£12.50) – seafood risotto
Pasta alla carbonara (£9.50) – guanciale with egg and parmesan
Fregola con fruiti de mare (£13.95)
The selection of Italian drinks (both soft and boozy) on offer was great. The service was good too.
We declined dessert and went to a place nearby.
Salvi’s Cucina has been nominated as ‘Newcomer of the Year’ in this year’s Manchester Food & Drink Awards – vote for it here.