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Numero at Manchester 235

Numero is an Italian restaurant, on the opposite side of the Great Northern Warehouse from its Deansgate façade. A stones-throw from the Hilton Hotel, fronting the Manchester235 restaurant, live music venue and gaming hall. All very Las Vegas, I might say

Published on November 7th 2006.


Numero at Manchester 235

Numero is an Italian restaurant, on the opposite side of the Great Northern Warehouse from its Deansgate façade. A stones-throw from the Hilton Hotel, fronting the Manchester 235 restaurant, live music venue and gaming hall. All very Las Vegas, I might say.

Entrance is shared with the rest of the complex, though you don’t have to join, as it is not effectively part of the gaming at all; therefore it isn’t covered by the gaming act, but to be on the safe side as you can see the gaming they have placed a plus 18 ruling on the place.

Walking into Numero you are met, charmingly, by one of three hostesses who give you the feeling that they are the chefs daughters; it’s like walking into a family restaurant in Lucca. Albeit a rather trendy one. The tables are clean, polished cherry-like wood, with firm but comfortable black leather chairs. The ceilings are trendy industrial, matt black piping and gubbins, with exposed brick walls and ceilings.

Artwork on the walls shows someone with taste as wall as deep pockets, no busty brown maidens with roses in their teeth. All in all a high end feel to the place. A cracking, small-ish bar with a superb choice of grappa though no decent bitter on tap facilitates a pleasant place to wait for guests and fellow diners.

Gordo has done two ‘soft’ meals here (free, prior to opening) and two civilian meals (paid for post opening) whilst at the same time eliciting pals comments in the meantime.

Run by the professional Marco, ex Malmaison Brasserie, the staff are immaculately trained. Gordo has been aware that a tremendous amount of pre-opening training has been going on that reflects the owners commitment to their huge investment in the venue as a whole, in terms of looks and service this place has hit the ground running.

What about the food? Gordo had a test meal last Friday at lunch. Marco was on a day off and it didn’t show. The staff were attentive but not intrusive, just as Gordo was writing a snide note that complained that his table didn’t have a fresh flower, one arrived with a large smile attached.

Interesting breads arrived, Sicilian style. Small hard-ish (they were between pretzel and bread) cashew-nut look-alikes and crispy triangles were delivered to the table. At the test meals Gordo told the chef he considered them to be too salty, they messed up his palette. This time the chef had clearly listened and they were just right.

Gordo’s Gamberoni al Balsamico (£7.25) arrived within five minutes of ordering. The salad of apple batons and rocket, correctly dressed and drizzled in good balsamic was piled high with three jumbo prawns. The salad was at room temperature, (denotes ultra fresh prep) whilst the prawns were just lukewarm (denotes cooking about twenty minutes ago, but there are tricks which can achieve this that even Gordo doesn’t know). A hugely enjoyable starter that Gordo may order as a light main course next time.

Vitello Saltimbocca (£14.50) was next. Thin escallops of tender veal wrapped in Italian ham and fresh sage leaves. The good news is yet again, prefect cooking techniques. A lovely old fashioned gravy that was stolen by some alien technology straight out of a battered old roasting tin that was resting on Marco’s Mum’s cooking range back in Italy. Rustic and lovely. Roasted potatoes and green beans accompanied the dish, the beans cooked unfashionably, but correctly, just past ‘al dente’. The bad news? Not enough sage and too much rosemary for the purist, Gordo found the rosemary overpowering.

The Zucchini Fritte al Miele, described as “Courgette Chips. Drizzled in Sardinian Honey” wasn’t what Gordo expected, sliced in thin rounds, pan fried and touched with honey, a classic, presumably, correctly cooked but not to his taste. Crispy crunchy ones are.

The pudding. Sfogliatina Caldo, (£4.50). Warm puff pastry, limoncello custard and fresh fruit. The good news? This is the second time Gordo has ordered this, the pastry was poor on the first ‘soft’ meal. This time? Just perfect. Gordo’s notes read “essentially a mielle fieulle, terrific pastry, light and crisp. Fab fruit - the best blackberry in the world! Tiny sliced lemon rind, dried sliced orange and fig. About 100 calories of heaven”. Not bad that for a Friday. Bad news? None, apart from the photograph doesn’t do it justice.

Coffee good, accompanied by super tiny shortbread ‘burgers’ with a dark chocolate filling.

Verdict?

Really great addition to Manchester’s traditional Italian restaurants; this place can stand up to Stock and Palmiro with the food whilst it betters them on atmosphere apart from Stock on Fridays and Saturdays. Food better than San Carlos and Piccolinos, but those guys creep up close on the scoring for atmosphere.

Free wireless in the place if you feel like taking your laptop.

15.5/20

A Gordo Go.

Other recommends; Kate Hitchin and her parents, Harry and Marie (Happy Birthday Harry, sorry, didn’t realise!), Stephen Lundy and the long suffering Angela. Helpfully, Stephen sent Gordo an addendum by text: Ps the loos were great!

Gordo
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