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Food And Drink Round-up 20/06/2011

San Rocco mini-review, Bread and Butter and Bacchanalia for sale, West Didsbury changes and awards galore

Written by . Published on June 19th 2011.

Food And Drink Round-up 20/06/2011

San Rocco – a mini review

San Rocco (14 South King Street, City, 0161 832 7669, M2 6DW) was visited recently. Confidential knows the place well. It was almost the first place the Romans dined in when they founded Manchester in 79AD, when the place was called Cesare’s. It’s had a few spruce-ups since and presently has a neat, bright interior. The menu is 15% more interesting than the standard middle-ground Italian, more effort with the fish, the odd game dish.

San Rocco 006
Of the food we snaffled, the sardines were best; big, moist, feisty so and so’s with a fat and rich meaty flavour. The carpaccio di manzo was almost as good – an Italian classic of thin raw fillet, marinated, oiled and served with Parmesan – with that farmhouse mix of strength and subtlety. Both dishes were under £8.

Mains of grilled halibut (£15.90) and scampi (£14.90) were less good. The halibut started off beautifully and looked lovely, but in the end a white wine, oil and lemon juice simply mix overwhelmed the food and it became almost sickly - a big shame. The scampi provinciale ‘sauteed in tomato, garlic and white wine’ and served with rice was simply monotonous, see the picture in the gallery below. On the good side you’d never go hungry if you finished these dishes. A bottle of fruity Orvieto was a happy companion through the dinner.

The kitchen needs to box clever, show care – it seems capable of this as the starters showed. The halibut would be a cracker but for the excess of the juices and liquids that come with it. Service was surly. Rating 12/20; Food 6.5/10; Service 2.5/5; Ambience 3/5 – an ‘if you’re passing’ venue on the Confidential scale. (JS) 

More San Rocco

San Rocco is becoming a proper little empire. Earlier this year it acquired the former Toto restaurant in Walshaw Cross, Bury for conversion into a San Rocco. There are also restaurants in Cheetham Hill and Ashton-under-Lyne. The company also has Bellavista in Milnrow, Ancora in Chadderton and the Wine Press at Hollingworth Lake in Rochdale.

Slice of NQ

Northern Quarter tea shop and café Bread and Butter is in the process of being sold. The Tib Street venue has been on the market for a while now, as the owners look to retire. According to the sales brochure, it was on the market for £39,500 and takes £2,000 a week on a rent of £138 per week. No word on the buyer yet, but you'll know as soon as we do.

Bacchanalia on the market

Bachannalia on Chapel Walk has also been put up for sale, with King's Business Transfer. The lease is up for £199,950 and the selling agent claims the bar/restaurant turns over £13,500 a week. The restaurant has had a chequered history but seems to have settled down into a decent enough business for lunches and light meals. The location, off Cross Street, next to a major player such as Sam’s Chop House, has enormous potential despite the awkward, narrow geography of the building.

Apples go West

West Didsbury restaurant Silver Apples has closed its doors but the former owners have wasted no time on new ventures. Sarah Loader is setting up an outside catering company with her sister and Rob Loader has taken over Escape, a former bar, in Chorlton. When we know more of his intentions we’ll let you know what type of establishment he's looking to create.

West Didsbury again

Another West Didsbury restaurant closure - this time it's Verso on Burton Road. But fear not, it will soon be back in use as an additional site for Didsbury Village stalwart Saints and Scholars.

The Great North Pie Company best in the NW

Fine Food
The winners of the Fine Food Awards 2011 were announced recently, with Northcote Manor boss and chef Nigel Haworth handing out the prizes. These celebrate the best fine foods in the Northwest. The overall winner was The Great North Pie Company in Bramhall, Stockport which became ‘Supreme Champion’. We don’t know much about these people so will investigate. Organised by regional food association Food NW, the awards ‘recognise the best fine foods produced across the region, from cakes, cheeses, and chutneys, to bacon, bread and butter’.

More Fine Food Awards news

Aside from The Great North Pie Company there were other winners in Greater Manchester. William’s Butter in Bolton won a Food NW Gold Award for his salted butter (sounds fabulous, he's pictured in the gallery below) plus, two Food NW Heart Awards. Gold awards are for ‘exceptional’ foods and beverages, the nauseatingly twee title of ‘heart awards’ go to ‘excellent’ foods and beverages. Heart awards locally also went to The Cultured Bean in Bury, Whitehead’s Butchers in Bolton, The Edgworth Deli in Bolton, The Lovely Cake Company Ltd in Stockport, Adesso – H20 Ltd in Gorton, Burt’s Cheese in Altrincham, Dunham Massey Apple Juice in Altrincham, Ginger’s Comfort Emporium in Whalley Range, Halal Kitchen Ltd in Prestwich, Parker’s Preserves in Bury and The Pastry King in Altrincham. 

You can follow Jonathan Schofield on Twitter here @JonathSchofield

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CuriousJune 20th 2011.

San Rocco. I'd forgotten it's existence. Will have to give it a try again if only for the starters.

ChandlerJune 21st 2011.

It's just a standard sort of place San Rocco. Not enough to really drag you there, despite your sardines. I agree

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