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Osteria Mauro, Mottram St Andrew, review

Gordo gets his mighty axe out and goes chop, chop, chopissimo

Written by . Published on September 21st 2010.

Osteria Mauro, Mottram St Andrew, review

Where does Gordo start? Osteria Mauro today is a good looking building, which used to be The Bulls Head, a great pub on the way to Prestbury out of Wilmslow in Mottram St Andrew.

Why is it that currently, three of the five best cooks of Italian food in the region, James, Piccolino, city centre; Jason, San Carlo, city centre; Louise at Chris Johnson’s ‘Hideaway’ restaurant underneath Ramsons, are all English? When you talk to any of these three you will find more passion than you would on a United away coach - passion all about the latest dish they discovered on yet another road trip across the Apennines in central Italy?

Gordo spent his teenage years growing up in Prestbury when his Dad, Shady, had made a load of money out of selling encyclopedias and moved the feral Gordo out of Salford. The plan was to make Gordo a gentleman instead of him being nicked for stealing Mars bars out of the local corner shop.

It didn't work.

The Bulls Head though, used to have a 'disco' in one of the upper rooms, Gordo remembers, aged sixteen, the first honest wage packet being burned in the bar. This resulted in a snog outside from the best looking girl who had been hypnotising a testosterone addled Gordo for the best part of six months.

Today, many years later, the Bulls Head has had a makeover, become Osteria Mauro, and looks very pretty all dressed up in creams and browns, with a nice white exterior. Very ‘county’.

The building has an entrance that alludes to fair comfort and warm hospitality. A promise of real homely Italian food in Gordo's mind as Enzo Mauro, the Godfather of real Italian food in the area had given his name to it. He is of course the gaffer of Stock in Manchester as well as having owned back in the day the superlative Mauro's in Bollington - a restaurant that gave many a critic and chef alike a true taste of Italy.

Osteria is a name given to restaurants across Italy which are generally run by families for the local community, utilising local recipes and local ingredients. Gordo has recently returned from a four day road trip with Chris Johnson, owner of Ramsons in Ramsbottom, last year’s restaurant of the year in the picky Good Food Guide.

Chris took Gordo to meet his suppliers and eat food in small, difficult to find places that you don't find in the guides. The food on this trip was nothing short of revelationary. Only one course did Gordo recognize from UK 'Italians'. Check Gordo's review of Pedroni’s, south of Medina, (click here) for this.

'Next up was pappardelle with ragu; the ragu had a creamy feel in the mouth, full of meatiness but tinged with a slightly discernable sweet and sour thing going on. Gordo is in heaven.'

That was the description of the dish we know as spag-bol. It was extraordinary and Gordo can still feel the slick, sexy pappardelle pasta sliding across his tongue, coated in warm olive oil, with a ragu that haunts him to this day. Why can't we get that here? What was that depth of flavour, had the kitchen somehow introduced liquorice into the mix? Who was the person who must have a level of pride in their cooking that borders on the stratospheric, in this strange roadside dining room?

As you can tell, Gordo likes his Italian food these days, so you may be in for a long read.

Or, on the other hand…

Earlier, Gordo was worried by the signs as you turned into the car park. It proclaimed the venue to be ‘An Italian Gastro Pub’.

Gordo was wondering what the hell an 'Italian Gastro Pub' was. Going into the smart lounge with daughter Georgina, he met Shady and Maureen, who had already ordered a bottle of Champagne along with a decent Gavi di Gavi. The menus arrived. Gordo's face sagged. What on earth had this menu to do with real Italian food? Had the chef decided to completely take the mickey out of the English? Is he not aware that many of us actually know what Italian food is?

Gordo had this meal on a Sunday, late August. It was so poor that he went again today, three weeks later, just to make sure that he hadn’t just had a nightmare

Let’s run through what we ate. Coze bianco (£6.95). Poor, little flavour, couldn't get any wine-sharpness or flavour; mussels, four stubbornly refusing to open showing they were on their way out. Bloody shocking. Daughter's antipasto. (£7.50) The plain sliced boiled carrots said it all. What on God's earth were they doing there? One type of ham and she had to ask for that. The second visit and the trays of bits and pieces looked fresher and the carrots presented properly this time.

Veal Saltimbocca

Ravioli with salmon sauce. Hilarious, childish, bland, sickly, cloying. Gordo is guessing that it was £7.50.

Dover sole. (£22) Good. Someone can cook fish, whilst Dover sole actually gets better if you leave it for a couple of days or so.

Gordo's saltimbocca. Veal with sage and a slice of ham with masala sauce. The sage had been sandwiched in between the ham and veal, therefore not perfuming the masala sauce, which, by the way, hadn’t seen a quality masala. It might have been lifted with a squeeze of lemon. Good ham but spoilt in the process, veal chewy, no flavour.

Georgina and Shady's steak, (£19.50 and £20) poor. Don't forget, Shady was a master butcher before he started selling books. Cooked as requested. Béarnaise sauce had no tarragon that could be seen or tasted. This was like something from a Berni Inn three decades ago.

Chips excellent both times, spinach rancid on the first, lovely on the second.

Dining Room

We waited forty minutes for desserts, but left in the end. The only thing that kept us there for so long was the hugely entertaining row in the kitchen, which ended with a fight. Gordo kids you not.

The service on the first run was surly from the old hand Italians waiters, whilst the local youngsters were inept. On the second, much better attitude from younger professional Italian guys, but very slow even though there were only five covers in the restaurant.

Overall, this faux-Italian is a travesty. Why is it that currently, three of the five best cooks of Italian food in the region, James, Piccolino; Jason, San Carlo, Manchester; Louise at Chris Johnson’s ‘Hideaway’ restaurant underneath Ramsons, are all English? When you talk to any of these three you will find more passion than you would on a United away coach - passion all about the latest dish they discovered on yet another road trip across the Apennines in central Italy?

Gordo had pannacotta on the second visit to Osteria Mauro. ‘Traditional Pannacotta with butterscotch sauce and caramel brittle’ had the ‘just about coming up to scratch’ thing that comes from a chilled van arriving outside the back door early in the morning. Can you imagine being an English chef in Italy and serving Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire Puddings? The butterscotch sauce is actually sticky toffee sauce from Cumbria and there was no caramel brittle.

Gordo simply can’t be arsed going through the wine, it’s ok people.

Enzo, if you still have an interest in this place, close it immediately. Employ a new chef and manager, start again. This place is, like a lot of the area, all fur coat and no knickers.


Follow Gordo on twitter GordoManchester

Breakdown:3/10 food
2/5 service
3.5/5 ambience
Address:Osteria Mauro
Wilmslow Road
Mottram St. Andrew,
Cheshire SK10 4QH
01625 828 111

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2010.


Stieg LarssonSeptember 21st 2010.

Something very bad happened here. The food quality fell through the floor a while back and I have been back once, never again unless something changes.

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2010.

Some good points here. Gastro Pub? It's been done to death, the two words should not be uttered in the same breath as far as I'm concerned. Even worse,an ITALIAN Gastro Pub. It's either a restaurant or a pub serving decent pub food. As for the nationality of the chef; a professionally-trained and passionate chef should be able to turn his hand to almost any cusine, regardless of what his passport says. Good waiting staff are hard to come by in the 'burbs - they are either mardy, middle-aged Italians biding their time before retirement to Lake Garda, or precious little darlings who don't need to work, but Daddy told them it would give them a bit of moral fibre. Enjoyed this review and as Gordo says, if Enzo (Stock) still owns the gaff, he should hang his head in shame.

Peter HarrisSeptember 21st 2010.

I have just returned from two weeks in Italy. Two days in Milan and 12 at a wonderful Hotel on Lake Garda. My abiding thought, every day, was that most Italian restaurant owners/chefs in UK need shooting. Their food is so far removed from the "real thing" it is a disgrace to Italian Gastronomy. In the two weeks, we ate magnificently and loved every meal. We had a wonderful 6 course lunch at a REAL Osteria (The Osteria Rubbiara in Nonantola, mentioned above and written about previously by Gordo) As different as chalk and Parmigiano from most Italian wannabe's over here.

Peter HarrisSeptember 21st 2010.

BTW Gordo. The meat in the ragu had pork and veal mince plus chicken livers and the chef is Italo Pedroni's wife. There will be a very detailed review of the Osteria in an edition of the NY foodie magazine Bon Appetit next year written by the Foodie Journo, David D. Downie who was there for lunch when we were there and was asking loads of questions and making copious notes.

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2010.

Mauro's in Bollington is "Briscola" these days.

Loads better than this tripe in Mottram.

TOMMYZOOMSeptember 21st 2010.

I ate here last Christmas. We were overcharged by the very rude staff who informed us that "good parma ham from italy is expensive." Unfortunately for them one of our guests was Italian who informed the staff that this was true - but we had not been served good parma ham. Don't waste your money here. I drive past every day and they are offering incentives to get business - never the sign of a good restaurant.

LUISASeptember 21st 2010.

I did the same too, visited once, hideous! Returned again and it was just as bad. Never in my life have i been around such rude, arrogant staff! Over priced, wait hours for food (even though it was never busy on both my visits, 3 other diners!) and grubby pub. My collegues who have been have said the same. Should be ashamed to use the word "Osteria"

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2010.

@Pedro; I agree with your sentiments regards Italian food in Italy, as opposed to some of the muck shovelled out by the ever-growing number of 'Italian' restaurants in Manchester. It's chicken and egg. Did we end up with soo many poor Italian restaurants in Manchester because we wanted them, or were they forced upon us and we now know little else? I can somewhat understand why someone would open an Italian restaurant, the basic food is cheap as chips to knock out, but I do not understand why diners put up with such rubbish

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2010.

Does Enzo still own this place then, or has it changed hands, hence the rapid decline? Not that it was ever that good anyway

AnonymousSeptember 21st 2010.

What is that, on top of the veal? Looks like onions.....

Saudahe fabiutSeptember 21st 2010.

Pedro 1874. Isn't Gordo better than David D. Downie? Forget Bon Appetit here's Manchester Confidential.

GordoSeptember 21st 2010.

Quite right Saudahe!

TomRSeptember 21st 2010.

I'm glad this place is rubbish. My parents used to take me to Mauro's in Bolly as a child- it was excellent and still sticks in the mind years later. Then we went to Stock a few years ago and it was disastrous. We ordered a couple of different cuts of 2 beef, each for 2 people, each cooked the same (med rare). One came blue, the other overdone. The head waiter refused to do anything about it and then told us that we didn't know what we were talking about. Despite the fact my family had spent a lot of money with the Mauro family and my mum knew him, Enzo wasn't interested either and told us if we didn't like it we could leave. Won't be surprised if it goes bust, fingers crossed it takes Stock with it.

Peter HarrisSeptember 21st 2010.


Suzanne AckermanSeptember 22nd 2010.

Food was better when it was a Beefeater!

AnonymousSeptember 22nd 2010.

To be honest, I really can't believe what I'm reading!!! Osteria is a personal favourite of mine! As a family we eat out at least once a week and we love Osteria! The food is delicious and the kids are made to feel very welcome! we have NEVER had a bad meal in this place! The only bad thing about Osteria, is you have to drive to get there! Our other favourite for Sunday lunch is the Alderley Edge Hotel - the yorksire puddings are delicious! I would be interested to Read your review on this place!

AnonymousSeptember 22nd 2010.

I think you'll find the Alderley Edge Hotel scores pretty high - same reviewer I think too

President LincolnSeptember 22nd 2010.

Anonymous above, are you sure you aren't the manager? I think you doth protest too much.

Juliet CapuletSeptember 22nd 2010.

well you got me there Mr President, nothing gets past you does it. are you sure you're not William Shakespeare?

NortherngeezerSeptember 23rd 2010.

You gotta admit Juliet it looks slightly suspicious.
Everyone else slagging the place and 1 rant thinking its the best thing since sliced bread.

JULIET CAPULETSeptember 23rd 2010.

I can see your point NorthernGeezer, but at the same time if the title of the discussion was named 'comment' rather than 'rant' then it might encourage people to place positive as well as negative posts? Surely you must know what people are like for jumping on the negative bandwagon?!! Either way this is a genuine post so come on all you positive people, have your say and stop sitting on the fence!!!!!

Kat1977September 23rd 2010.

Reading the comments above that are mostly negative I would like to add something else positive to you non believers! Osteria is great! I too have been going for years and was also a great advocate of Mauro's in Bollington and love Stock too! I've never had a bad meal here, the food is delicious, the staff friendly and there's always a warm and welcoming atmosphere. It's not trying to be stuck up or pretentious which is quite refreshing these days so give it a go and make the decision yourself.

ellpollolocoSeptember 23rd 2010.

Went a couple of times when it first opened a number of years ago and it was shocking even then. Enzo Mauro is arrogant and doesn't take kindly to criticism...hence we have never spent our cash there again. I work close by and always chuckle when I see the "Italian Gatsro pub" sign...desperate springs to mind.

EllpollolocooooooooooooSeptember 23rd 2010.

Let's just start by saying - who do you think you are calling Enzo Mauro arrogant????? Enzo is actually a very lovely kind, family man who's ambition was to make something of himself!! of course he donesn't like criticsm - who does?? Let me ask what you do for a living??? Would you like criticsm?? Give the guy a break....he's worked very hard all his life - where are you on a saturday night - at home having a chukle yo yourself no doubt!!!! You should be ashamed of yourself!!!!!!!!

AnonymousSeptember 23rd 2010.

Let's just end by saying, yes, no one really likes criticism do they? However, most of us are open and mature enough to accept it if given in a constructive way. Who rattled your cage?

AnonymousSeptember 23rd 2010.

I would like to end on the point that even though I have never had a bad meal at any of the above mentioned I think that this should be a constructive argument/agreement on the review of one person. Cage rattling aside, form your own opinions and have freedom of choice as we are all entitled to?!?!

ellpollolocoSeptember 24th 2010.

Just going on my own experience of the man and the restaurant...burst crab ravioli and over cooked calves liver.....he demonstrated a dismissive, couldn't give a toss attitude that came of having a busy restaurant at the time (recently opened). I know of many people that have had a poor food and service experience here and people vote with their feet. This is why the place is struggling..end of. I receive criticism in my job on a regular basis...mainly cosntructive...it's how you deal with it and take it on board that matters. I am entitled to my opinion of the man having had first hand experience...so wind your neck in mate!

AnonymousSeptember 24th 2010.

So ellpolloloco is the real regular one then, not ellpolloloco with lots of added 'o's? I thought the cat had stood on your keyboard

ellpollolocoSeptember 24th 2010.

No, that'll be a Mauro family member!!

Martin CordwellSeptember 24th 2010.

enzo mauro is a good man and a great chef never had a problem dining in osteria!!veal saltimbocca alla romana traditionally doesnt contain marsala wine,sorry gordo maybe you dont know as much about traditional italian as you think!!!

NortherngeezerSeptember 24th 2010.

15-love...................over to you big fella ;-)

GordoSeptember 26th 2010.

MartinO475, this is the same argument as goes on about whats in a Irish Stew or a Cornish pastie. A quick review of ten recipes across the net shows deglazing the pan juices with white wine: dry, medium, sweet, even chablis (!) , a red, nothing but a squeeze of lemon, just butter, you name it, no-one, including me, has the right answer. One thing though,whatever you do with to it, it has to taste good. This one didn't, not once, but twice.

GordoSeptember 26th 2010.

One last point; I know Enzo and the family well, I have total respect. They are my clients over at Stock, the food there is authentic and terrific. But I will not allow friendship nor money colour my reports for the ManCon readership.

NortherngeezerSeptember 26th 2010.

Point well made big fella.
Its a fine juggling act keeping both the readers and the advertisers happy.
As in most things in life, its all about opinions, generally, not everyones always right, and not everyones always wrong but if you live by the dictum 'you cant polish a turd', you wont go far wrong.

GordoSeptember 26th 2010.

nice, Northern, nice...

Martin CordwellSeptember 26th 2010.

an honest opinion is great we all have one but do you accept vitello alla saltimbocca doesnt contain marsala and if so maybe mistakes are made by everyone inclusing chefs,critics etc......even the great gordo!!

ellpollolocoSeptember 27th 2010.

Martin, did you not read Gordo's comment? Every region in Italy has their own take on how certain dishes should be made. For instance, in Rome a Carbonara sauce will usually have only eggs and Pecorino (and pancetta) however elsewhere it might include cream and parmesan. They will also all tell you that their version is the best and the original!

GordoSeptember 27th 2010.

Martin, I think Ellpolloloco has made my point eloquently. Just out of interest, would you deglaze the pan, and what with?

Martin CordwellSeptember 27th 2010.

probably a good roman wine such as frascati and finished with a touch of veal stock and butter.....pure foodie heaven...

Martin CordwellSeptember 27th 2010.

oh and this regional italy thing..."vitello saltimbocca alla ROMANA...the clue is in the name guys...

NortherngeezerSeptember 27th 2010.

We'll be extolling the virtues of which type of salt one puts on ones fish 'n chips next, ffs.

JockeyboySeptember 27th 2010.

Northerngeezer I always use the sweat from a horse on my chips. Salty.

GordoSeptember 27th 2010.

Martin, I go back to 'Lancashire Hotpot'. My Father and Grandmother on my mothers side used to have a war whenever they 'discussed' how it should be made.

ellpollolocoSeptember 27th 2010.

And every Roman housewife will tell you their recipe is the original.

NortherngeezerSeptember 27th 2010.

Horse sweat eh Jockey, is that from the fetlock or hind quarters though ;-)

High Way ManSeptember 27th 2010.

I like to use the salty secretions from from the foreheads of rich people I rob from as they ride through ancient woodlands in their stagecoaches. And I like nice batter on my fish too.

Martin CordwellSeptember 27th 2010.

I like you gordo,have made my point only in the correct manner..thank you...goodbye

NortherngeezerSeptember 27th 2010.

Salty secretions.............this is getting slightly pervy now!

GUSALDEDGESeptember 28th 2010.

Guys ring up Osteria ask for Martin...THE CHEF THAT WORKS THERE!!! I can confirm this 100% as i am a chef and my mate knows Martin the main chef in the kitchen at osteria. Read the real reviews not MARTIN0475 of course he is going to be up there asses! Gordo you have touched a nerve putting his "fine" cooking down! Do your next review on Gustos in Alderley Edge, 10/10 every time!

ellpollolocoSeptember 28th 2010.

Busted!! If it was any good they wouldn't be short of punters would they?

AnonymousSeptember 28th 2010.

the head chef in osteria is not called martin,fact!!

GUSALDEDGESeptember 28th 2010.

I have just confirmed with my friend as i love all these posts and apologies all he is not head chef, BUT he is second chef big mistake on my behalf. I am not being funny but it doesnt take a rocket science to figure it out anyway by reading his posts, hahaha...FACT!

NortherngeezerSeptember 28th 2010.

Gusaledge.............If enough people tell yer the foods shyte, then take it as read, the foods shyte..............FACT!!!!.

GUSTALDEDGESeptember 28th 2010.

Point well taken NORTHENGEEZER. I have never been and will not be going now. As a chef i am passionate about cooking and dear lord who made that garlic bread it has given me and my collegues a good laugh so thank-you!

AnonymousSeptember 28th 2010.

Bit rich that Gustaldedge. Bang on about a chef from Osteria defending his corner and then pulug your own place. Naughty, naughty

GUSTALDEDGESeptember 28th 2010.

Hmmm o yeah i see i have put down the name of the restaurant where i work??? I dont need to plug business in for where i work we have the reputation already :-)

AnonymousSeptember 28th 2010.

Gusto Alderley Edge does indeed have a reputation - just not the one you'd like. 10/10? I think not

GUSTALDEDGESeptember 28th 2010.

Now, now lets not put poor Gustos down, i love that restaurant its swanky and always full of glam hotties. Unfortunately i do not work there though i just travel once a month for the fun to Alderley Edge and Gustos is where i eat followed by Panacea its the places to be and i am pretty sure everyone in Cheshire would agree. I am not from Alderley Edge just love the place!

AnonymousSeptember 28th 2010.

So what's with the name then Gust(o)ald(erley)edge?? You think Panacea is the place to go? Says it all really. Er, Gusto is full of kids making their own pizza and drawing on the table.....

GUSTALDEDGESeptember 28th 2010.

I thought that was Osteria! I have never seen a child in Alderley Edge maybe in the other ones but not sure as only dine there. Anyway we are going off the case here the review is about how turd Osteria is and i was just putting my point forward too that your chef was also putting posts forward.

AnonymousSeptember 28th 2010.

Eh? My Chef?

AnonymousSeptember 29th 2010.

Can I just say the above is absolutely shocking. Grow up, the lot of you. That includes Gordo. Northern Geezer got it spot on, it's pathetic. People naming those who work there, the chef, the owner.... Does that sound like casual foor commentary to anyone else? Me neither. Never eaten there, haven't got an opinion. Would be nice to read a review a review though without the childish point scoring of people who obviously have a grudge against the place. I'd encourage ManCon to delete the majority of the above, it devalues the usefulness of the website.

NortherngeezerSeptember 29th 2010.

I cant make me mind oop whether i'm being complimented or lumped in with the big fella ;-)

hartersOctober 7th 2010.

Ate here in June 2009. Thought it poor - decent starters, gloopy mains and just plain unpleasant desserts. Service was slow and, for what it is, bloody expensive even for the Golden Triangle.

AnonymousApril 4th 2011.

Been trying to find somewhere to post a comment about this place but it seems suspiciously absent from some sites, and judging by peoples comments here there might be a reason for that! Myself and 3 others there on Mothers Day and upon arrival was handed a set 4 course menu. When I enquired about the normal menu I was told that it was that menu or nothing. I complained that I wouldn't have booked if I had known I would have to order from a set menu but they seemed very unapologetic. We didn't want 4 courses and so just ordered what we wanted off the menu, but still had to pay the full price! The service was also poor and the food was just OK. I will not be going back to here, or any of their other restaurants...even if they sort out their shocking customer service!

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