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Gordo gets operatic about in a stall in the Manchester Arndale

Written by . Published on February 19th 2008.


It’s half past twelve and Gordo is feeling peckish. No change there then. Walking through the better half of Manchester Arndale, he is taking a short cut to the office when he decides to have a look in the food market to see what’s about for his lunch. Wings have a trainee ‘Yo Sushi’ doing respectable and good value food on the conveyor belt but Gordo has a proper look at some Italian meats which have caught his eye.

These are big suckers with ingredients fresh off the bacon slicer an hour before, using tomatoes as big as a baby’s fist, as bright red as a smacked arse and tasting of the sun.

They’re on a stall called Gastronomica, and since that chance encounter he has been back a few times. The usual reason, it’s food. In Gordo’s case it has to be good. And here on this ‘market stall’ you will find some of the best raw and cooked ingredients outside Italy. They range from hams and pasta through to wines and bread (described as ‘crusty loaves’, which are fantastic and give the usual suspects like the Barbakan a run for their money).

Cleverly, the team here do a little value adding, making a simple range of fantastic rustic sandwiches to ‘eat in’, they have two tables of their own, or take away. Additionally, there are a couple of slow cookers on the go most of the time, with steaming pots of, for example, fusilli all amatriciana (pasta with pancetta, onion, tomato and chilli for £3.80) or, the ‘famous Sicilian meatballs’ which are available every Friday and Saturday. The quality is outstanding for this type of venue and just the thing for a cold winters day.

The sandwiches include baguette with cooked ham, cheese, tomato and rocket (£2.50), baguette with parma ham, buffalo mozzarella, tomato and rocket (£2.80). These are big suckers with ingredients fresh off the bacon slicer an hour before, using tomatoes as big as a baby’s fist, as bright red as a smacked arse and tasting of the sun. But the daddy for Gordo is the ciabatta.

This concerto starts with porchetta, an Italian roast pork that sings of sage, thyme and sea salt: a luscious mouthful that doesn’t worry about its fat content. Draped on a layer of tomato, rocket and Italian mustard that cuts the fattiness wonderfully well, it becomes a king of a sandwich. The ciabatta is crisp as you bite through, then a soft pillow and finally the filling, all moist bursting with flavour. It really is ‘sunshine in a bag’.

Go and have a look for yourselves. If Gordo catches any of you muppets in that shithole Subway, he will cut your hearts out. But there again, if you are in Subway, you clearly don’t have one to cut out.

A Gordo Go, the food scores 9/10 for its sandwiches. The location might not be a piazza under the shade of a walnut tree but that’s the only downside.

The Food Market
Manchester Arndale

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

Stuie72February 19th 2008.

Not been to Gastronomica, but apparently we are tomorrow. If you want a top class beef curry with Singapore noodles, Wings take out do the best. The food section of the Arndale is one of the best around.

forrestFebruary 19th 2008.

I think a lot of these places in here are overlooked, theres a number that offer great value and superb tasting food. I love this italian, theres a cracking tea shop around the corner as well as the sushi place and a couple of real kebab places. Tremendous.

DazzerFebruary 19th 2008.

Been raving about this place since it opened, it is superb and authentic, with amazing pasta!No doubt i will have to queue for ages now!Been trying the Brazilian stall in the arndale too recently, which is also very tasty, like a samba on your tongue!!

Jonathan SchofieldFebruary 19th 2008.

Deli Llama since I shop at the Barbakan in Chorlton pretty regularly I hang my head in shame. I must have thought that he was being all familiar with that big place in the Smoke. It's corrected now.

deli llamaFebruary 19th 2008.

mazel tov Gordo,.Barbakan....Barbican...Polish ......polish....bagel ....beigel....who cares as long as the food is great....

ancoats girlFebruary 19th 2008.

The butcher stalls are also great - they do very competitively priced free range chickens (£5.99 for a whole bird) They roast up beautifully.

Anthony McCaulFebruary 19th 2008.

Agreed - this is a great little place - fantastic ingredients. In fact, the food market as a whole has some really interesting and good stuff - always try and get my fruit and veg there and meat from the new butchers. Well worth a visit, and important too that we support local traders and independents.

tomFebruary 19th 2008.

The power of Gordo: got there moments after receiving this email and the Porchetta sarnis had all gone! Parma ham still tasty though.

GordoFebruary 19th 2008.

Deli, you rested my case in the end....

MartinFebruary 19th 2008.

Try the soup stall. Beats paying double the price for some warmed up liquid from one of our many 'chains'. On the whole; so much choice it's about time people stopped turning their nose up at 'market' food.

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