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FIRST LOOK: San Carlo Fumo | St Peter's Square

Confidential tucks in before the grand launch of San Carlo's latest Manchester restaurant

Written by . Published on November 25th 2014.

FIRST LOOK: San Carlo Fumo | St Peter's Square


YOU'VE probably noticed, but there's been a real buzz about St Peter's Square of late.

Executive Head Chef Filipo Pagani - with textbook Italian intensity and a blue-eyed chef's glare that could strip barnacles from a ship's bottom - has been drafted in from San Carlo's hugely profitable Bangkok operations

Following a £50m four year makeover the city's landmark grade-II listed Central Library reopened, golden boy chef Simon Rogan pulled up the socks of the grand 'ole Midland Hotel whilst Metrolink folk continue to beaver away at the Second City Crossing.

The Cenotaph has been upgraded and shifted 100m away, John Cassidy's daffy 1907 work ('Manchester's maddest statue'), Adrift, is back after fifteen years in exile and everybody is feeling just swell about the new £3.5m conservatory they've slapped on Library Walk.

You've probably also noticed the soon-to-be finished whopping great, ultra-modern, thirteen-storey, 273,000 sq ft One St Peter's Square building pop-up where that 'orrible 60s Elizabeth House used to sit... yeah the one that had the Dutch Pancake House and Allen's Fried Chicken down below.

Where unlucky Allen flopped, Manchester's San Carlo Fumo begins.

One St Peter's SquareOne St Peter's Square

A forming Fumo by nightFumo forming by night

Alongside accountancy big'un and new neighbour KPMG (who've already let nearly 75,000 sq ft of the building, handily plonking hundreds of hungry and monied suits right on their bonce), the San Carlo restaurant group - now fifteen restaurants strong in the UK with five in Manchester - has snapped up 5,500 sq ft of the building's prime ground and first floor space.

As San Carlo Fumo restaurant, cicchetti (Italian for small plates, by the way), cocktail bar and late lounge gets ready to open to the public in the coming week, Confidential took a camera and a fork for a first look around the place.

Fumo 3

San Carlo FumoSan Carlo Fumo

Firstly, you have to hand it to San Carlo, they certainly know how to deck-out a space.

But then you'd hope so for £1.7m.

The 15m long, ground-floor, curved marble bar practically sweeps you in, off your feet, and plonks you on a stool. It just falls short of ordering your martini for you. The design, though as glossy and modern as ever, maintains that warm Cicchetti-brand glow that has made the King Street West operation San Carlo's most popular.

They've also drafted in some serious minerals to see Fumo jumps straight from he blocks. Executive Head Chef Filipo Pagani, with textbook Italian intensity and a blue-eyed chef's glare that could strip barnacles from a ship's bottom, has been drafted in from San Carlo's hugely profitable Bangkok operations (of which there's three) to see Fumo Manchester off to a winning start.

This guy cooks like he stares, brilliantly. San Carlo's signature pigeon pate with black truffle and lightly oiled, slightly toasted bread, rich and smooth to taste, had us sticking digits in the jar. The tuna with fennel mousse too had been treated with flair while a plait of beautifully milky-white mozzarella sat in the middle of the table like a centrepiece; creamy, fresh, proud and as plump as a fat lady's sock.

Pigeon PatePigeon Pate

Tuna with fennel mousseTuna with fennel mousse

They're not messing about with drinks either. Journeyman Manchester bartender Jamie Jones - recently voted the World's Best Ever Gin Bartender (or something) - has been drafted in to buoy the bar element and has created over thirty original cocktails for the Fumo menu. 

More so than any previous San Carlo, they're focussing on the late and wet trade as much as the food. At least, that's what the £50,000 sound system and 2am Friday and Saturday licence would suggest.

Photo 24-11-2014 12 34 13Fumo cocktail

Alessandro Distefano (son of founder Carlo Distefano and brother of MD Marcello), who'll be overseeing the day-to-day running of Fumo, told Confidential as we tugged at the pigeon pate pot: "We want people to be able to use Fumo from breakfast until the early hours.

"We want our customers to enjoy the late lounge long after eating, to come even if they haven't been eating, take a stool at the huge bar and dive into our cocktails.

"We'll soon have our outdoor terrace finished and we're even looking to set up a San Carlo coffee station beneath the staircase in the lobby for your morning coffee and pastry. It's a real all-day and night operation."

It's ambitious too. But then, St Peter's Square has a spunk about it these days. And with San Carlo one of very few quality operators in this enlivened area of the city, Fumo will surely clean-up with the coming suits.

Follow @David8Blake on twitter.

San Carlo Fumo will open for seven days a week from breakfast until late.

For bookings contact: 0161 236 7344

Fumo Manchester, One St Peter’s Square, Oxford Street, M2 3DE.


One St Peter'sFumo's staircase, One St Peter's

Fumo cocktailsFumo cocktail

Ground and first floorGround and first floor

San Carlo Fumo: artist's impression of the terraceSan Carlo Fumo: artist's impression of the terrace

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

rinkydinkNovember 25th 2014.

Looks and sounds amazing. Booking a table later!

AnonymousNovember 25th 2014.

'Confidential tucks in before the grand launch'. Surprise, surprise. Any other San Carlo fan boys there? No doubt Fumo will get a regular ManCon mention from now on. The place looks like a hotel. I'm surprised the building's first occupier weren't KPMG but I'm sure the building's owners are keen to get some income rolling in and I'm sure Fumo will get plenty of KPMG business and maybe a corporate account. If 'spunky' now means a massive building site for many years then yes, St Peter's square is spunky alright.

1 Response: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 25th 2014.

Oh Lord, you miserable twat.

Reg GressNovember 25th 2014.

Yes Anon we should have left the square how it was. It was lovely it was... manchesterhistory.net/…/area6page61.html…

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 25th 2014.

Eh! It wasn't lovely Reg. Although it's subjective, you can clearly see the Elisabeth House period was fugly. Now the Square is full of spunk.

SteamyNovember 25th 2014.

Hey Anon, I can't be sure but I think Reg may have been being sarcastic.

AnonymousNovember 25th 2014.

Hey Steamy, I think Anon was taking the P***.

pollolocoNovember 25th 2014.

yet another San Carlo...fawn fawn, weep weep....zzzzz

AnonymousNovember 25th 2014.

Poor Don Giovanni's. Will it last with this Mega-YAFI over the road?

1 Response: Reply To This...
rinkydinkNovember 25th 2014.


AnonymousNovember 25th 2014.

Did someone push the photographer over when he was taking the first two pictures?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
EditorialNovember 25th 2014.

They have one leg longer than the other...

AnonymousNovember 25th 2014.

Or he carries his head at a jaunty angle.

AnonymousNovember 25th 2014.

Just one more thing.... Isn't this just year another Italia...........

2 Responses: Reply To This...
GimboidNovember 25th 2014.

A what?

AnonymousNovember 25th 2014.

This year is 2014, anon.

Chrissy BrandNovember 26th 2014.

A hideous building that was not required and which I opposed on Mancunian Wave so I will advocate boycotting any restaurants within.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousNovember 26th 2014.

What did you want there instead?

GimboidNovember 26th 2014.

'Not required' ? Not sure what that even means. If it's not required, why has it got tenants signed up? I'm sure the developers and restaurateurs will be crying themselves to sleep about your boycott (Jesus, full of yourself at all?) of this fine addition to our city.

rinkydinkNovember 26th 2014.

You'll be on your own Chrissy with that one. General consensus seems to be that it looks pretty good

AnonymousNovember 26th 2014.

That building is as architecturally as magnificent as St Paul's in...er.. Manchester city centre planning is like someone picking out clothes to wear in the dark.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
rinkydinkNovember 26th 2014.

And what do you do for a living exactly? If you're so adept, apply for the frigging job

GimboidNovember 27th 2014.

Well said. MCR Planning does let some crap through, but if they get criticised even when they approve decent stuff (like this), the criticism is meaningless and they'll become deaf to it.

Anna GrahamNovember 26th 2014.

San Carlo massively hyped. For true italian food, head to salvis. You won't be disappointed.

RobNovember 29th 2014.

Went to chicceti after a good first trip. Second time round, the fried risotto balls were cold in the middle and the steak overdone. Won't be going again

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