Manchester’s oldest Italian gets a spring in its step with new seasonal dishes
IF it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, so the saying goes, but when it comes to add-ons, we won’t argue – especially at Manchester’s oldest Italian, Don Giovanni. The famous indie has just updated its menu with some new seasonal dishes, and, even if the sun is a no-show, it might start feeling like Italy if you close your eyes and tuck into some of our picks.
Start with the ultimate flavours of an Italian summer: ultra-fresh tomato and olive oil. The Zuppa di Pomodoro will blow your sad tin of Heinz out of the window. Sweet, complex and flavourful, if you weren’t in such a chic setting, we bet you’d lick the bowl clean.
The peppery rocket salads are like primavera on a plate. Topped with either beetroot, goat’s cheese and pine nuts or Mozzarella, prosciutto and figs, both are finished with a zesty lemon and extra virgin olive oil dressing. Just as refined is the well-balanced polpo antipasti dish: smoky, charred pan-fried octopus served with potato and crisp slices of celery, with hints of lemon and a little heat from red chilli.
Where there is antipasti, there is pasta to follow. As ever, Don Giovanni shows how Italian food should be done. Tagliolini is our favourite from the pasta menu; extremely thin and light, and ideal for the summer months. Simplicity is key with Italian cooking and the fresh unpretentious fish pasta dishes are a great example of this. Tagliolini Scoglio has a basic, but delicious, tomato, chilli and garlic sauce, topped with king prawns and langoustines. The al Granchio version sees tagliolini lightly tossed with cream, cherry tomatoes and Cornish crab.
The more substantial secondi plates will not disappoint either. The hearty lamb shank served with mashed potato and a red wine jus is a great choice for carnivores and perfect with a side order of giant asparagus in plenty of butter with a lemony twist. Pan-fried scallops are about as luxurious as it gets, and Don Giovanni’s are perfectly cooked. Crisp, with a rich tomato sauce, and served back in their shells, they are utterly divine – something which can be said about the entire new menu. Bravo!
Don Giovanni, 1-2 Peter House, Oxford Street, Manchester, M1 5AN
0161 228 2482