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Felicini Review II

Reviews are like buses. You don’t see one for ages, and then two come along at once. Following last week’s review of Felicini through Geoffrey’s experienced eyes, we have a fresh look at the place from the perspective of spring chicken Laura…

Published on July 17th 2006.

Felicini Review II

Received morning phone call from Pops, who was amazed to find that not only was I awake but also dressed and ready to nip out to meet him for coffee.

Through our musings and ramblings we covered a variety of topics, discussing the noise of the manhole covers being driven over at speed by buses, declaring Oxford Road the noisiest road in Manchester, and lamenting over the football. Before we knew it, it was midday. As our minds turned to food we wondered where to go for an early lunch. We decided to try out the recently opened Felicini as it was just tripping distance from the coffee shop.

The colour scheme is orange and black which could have the potential to make the outfit look like confectionary made by Terry’s, but the quality of the finish is to such an obviously high standard that it looks very chic indeed. The inside is multi-levelled and clever use of interior walls breaks the space up so it doesn’t feel like you’re eating in a corridor.

As the sun was threatening to brighten up the gloomy morning we opted to sit outside on the sun terrace, again evidence of an exacting eye to detail and polish to the design. The terrace is half covered by a canopy for the shade lovers and half exposed for the baskers who fight over any sun-bathed paving block in town; being a righteous pair, we opted for the sunshine.

The terrace is set off the road, which is just as well seeing as we had already established previously that morning that Oxford Road makes Deansgate at rush-hour look like a lane in Midsomer, but there is the reassuring rumble of city-life continuing on in the environs without causing you to suck up diesel smoke with your linguine.

The terrace is laid against the backdrop of the rather turgid water of the Rochdale Canal which oozed behind us like a recently fed python in varying shades of mongrel brown, all glossy and glowering. Its presence, however, did not hinder our enjoyment of the surroundings as the tables around us began to fill. And besides, the Grand Canal is hardly renowned for its swift moving azure waters, is it?

The service was attentive but not intrusive. Our waiter appeared at just the right moment so we felt looked after rather than fussed upon. We ordered a lovely bottle of Sicilian Viognier (£17.50) which is very recommendable. I had the Crayfish and Salmon Fishcake (£6.75) from the bar menu which was just a fillet of salmon that had been compressed and then lightly fried on both sides. It was delicious. One observation though; despite it tasting absolutely fantastic there didn’t seem to be any crayfish in there at all! Pops chose from the main menu and went for the Wild Mushroom Risotto (£7.95). Wild, it was as rabid as Old Yeller, definitely a case for One Shot Finch! It was creamy, truffly and ever so sticky. Taking a surreptitious gander at the surrounding tables it was clear that the portions are more than generous. All the food being carried past us elicited an appreciative comment from Pops or me. It all looked great.

The clientele was a good mix of business, girls lunching from the office and the luckies like ourselves indulging in that most guilty of pleasures; going out for lunch on a school day knowing you don’t have anything to do in the afternoon. We were in and out in just over an hour so it had just gone one when we left. I’m glad that we opted to go early as all the tables outside were full and inside was filling up rapidly as well.

Pasta prices range from £6.95 to £8.95 while main courses come in between £11.50 and £14.50. Take advantage of the daily happy hour between 5pm and 7pm during when all pizza and pasta is a snip at £5. What a bargain! We didn’t have dessert but there were some interesting sounding choices on the menu such as Fresh Fruit Pizza. The menu states that their desserts are big enough for ‘two spoons’ and judging from the size of their main meals I’m not disputing the claim.

Conclusion – Go! Make the effort to go to the other side of St Peter’s Square as I’m sure you’ll enjoy your experience there. The surroundings are understated and trendy, the service is good and the food excellent value for money, especially if you go during the happy hour.

PS. Manchester City Council – SHAME on you. Clean our waterways!!!!!!

Laura Sharrock

60 Oxford Street

0161 228 6633

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