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Pesto. Gordo visits, Good or Bad?

Pesto is open, Gordo has a good root round the place in order that he can bring his loyal readers The Truth. Oh yes, Trudi King makes a remarkable admission about her breasts…..

Written by . Published on December 14th 2006.

Pesto. Gordo visits, Good or Bad?

Pesto, the new ‘Italian’, has one of the best pitches in the City, on the corner of John Dalton Street and Deansgate. Gordo has been watching the progress and listening to the comments, which are seemingly ‘for’ or ‘agin’, no middle ground here. Slated by The Metro and the MEN, praised by Moving Manchester and finally with passions running high across the online community, friends and family come to the rescue on the MEN blog; ooer missus.

The exterior looks lovely, a green oasis, with a generous area for tables which beats the pants off the stretch down by the Café Rouge. We may well see this being the spot in town for alfresco eating whatever the quality of the food.

The interior is all dark wood. Having met one of the owners, the tasty but dangerous Sara Edwards, Gordo isn’t going to comment on the pictures on the wall. He will leave that up to Jonathan Schofield, MEN reviewer for whom Sara is keeping an eye out, along with a sharp knife. Jonathan does have firm views on interiors. Sara didn’t appreciate them. Gordo told him this in an email, and said that Sara was going to cut his balls off and serve them up to him. With a nice Chianti.

“Judging by the last dish I had in there, she already had” replied the cheeky little public house botherer.

Trudi, left, proper pair of bristols by all accounts…

Gordo has been in three times now and has formed his own opinions. The first was an invite from a couple of Journalists who are well known to Gordo. Janet Reader and Diane Cooke. Both good drinking pals of the large fat one. The idea was to see if some positive press could be ‘cooked up’. Retired king of the food critics, Ray King and his wife, Trudi were on the same table. Sara was on Gordo’s left and Deanna Delamotta, features editor over at the MEN on his right. These two normally aren’t Gordo’s type. Very fair birds, lookers, but far too intelligent and gobby. A debate was raging about Katie Price, aka Jordan, far more Gordo’s type. Deanna is a Jordan hater. She clearly does not like ladies who get their tits out for the lads. Half way through a row that was looking like moving up into second gear, Trudi pipes up.

“Well, I got my tits out for the lads when I was single. The Mirror in fact.”

Gordos chin was on the floor. Ray was beaming away. Sara and Deanna went quiet. According to Ray, they were a fine pair. Having a good stare, Gordo was thinking they still were.

Gnocchi con pesto basilica and parmigiana

The second occasion happened when Gordo bumped into Sara and her sister when he went to have a drink in his favourite bar, The Restaurant bar and Grill. Sara, although a bit feisty, was starting to grow on him. Sara’s sister, Rachael Bell, is very easy on the eye. Gordo joined them for a quick snack back at the ranch. Well, Pesto.

The service was good on all three occasions; the last when the staff didn’t spot Gordo, although Sara did half way through. Sara and her Partner, Neil Gatt set up La Tasca, selling out for millions a few years ago. La Tasca brought the tapas concept to the high street and did very well. That concept has been moved over to Pesto. You, dear reader, will either love it or hate it. Gordo quite likes it.

Lots of familiar small dishes at small prices. Lets trip through a few.

Two thirds of a coven; Diane Cook and Janet Reader

Bruschetta al pomodoro e basilica (£2.25); good, ripe tomatoes, room temperature, fresh basil coming through nicely, toast crispy. Asparagi con parmigiano, (£3.95), pan fried and finished with sea salt and parmesan shavings worked well, a dish that Gordo throws in the oven at home. Timing is a bit of an issue with this and it doesn’t bear hanging around on the pass, but the kitchen got it right.

Arancini, (£2.95), fried saffron risotto rice stuffed with melting mozzarella is good fun. Gordo liked them a lot. Gnocchi con pesto basilica and parmigiana (£3.45) is a top dish. Jonathan hated his by all accounts. Gordo has eaten three bowls of the stuff. Loved it, great comfort food that can, and did, mop up five pints of Guinness.


OK, you get the idea. However, Polpetti di Manzo (£3.45), beef and pork meatballs disappointed, the balls hadn’t seen enough seasoning and the texture was a bit mushy. One poor dish out of nearly twelve tasted all in all.

Gordo likes it here. It’s a bit too warm, but that is being sorted. The décor is kitsch bistro just off the main square in Lucca, the small dishes a little strange at first. It’s not fine dining, nor is it aimed at the trendy crowd who have Grill on the Alley and Restaurant Bar and Grill just up the street. It’s not a destination place. It’s somewhere to go in for an hour or so whilst shopping, early doors, pre or post cinema. Lots of pals together grazing and food sharing, getting warmed up for the clubs.

Spinach pizza

The wine. When Gordo arrived at the first dinner, he took a glass of red. Very good it was too. Glancing at the label, Gordo saw Grigio. Funny, he was sure that Pinot Grigio was white only.

Sara, later, gave Gordo the wine list to chose another bottle. The Chianti Classico reserve, 2001, San Felici winked at him. “May have a bottle of that please?” Sara looked at Gordo. “You mean the one you have been drinking all night fatty?” says Sara, a cruel glint in her eye. Gordo looked at the bottle. “Chianti Classico reserve, Il Grigio, 2001,San Felici. Bollocks. A little knowledge, people, is dangerous.

The wine list has something for all tastes and wallet sizes, put together by Paul Boutinot wines. Paul used to look after Gordo when he had a restaurant in Heald Green many years ago. He knows his stuff.

Don’t ask about puddings. Gordo has forgotten.


115 Deansgate Manchester
0161 831 9691

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