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Rosso Restaurant Reviewed

Gordo puts the boot in over poor cooking in the flashy venue

Published on June 18th 2012.

Rosso Restaurant Reviewed

GORDO normally goes on with himself for a good few paragraphs in his reviews before getting stuck into the food itself. Not as bad as that little snot Giles Coren who masturbates for most of his, in order to showcase his expensive education.  

The gnocchi could have been used as ammo in the Anzio landings in WW2.  The butternut squash was inconsequential in both quantity and flavour, the pine nuts weren’t toasted. 

Coren is very good at grammar. He is also very good at being snotty about the North West and was so patronising in his review of Aumbry last week Gordo wanted to strip the little shit naked at 4am, tie a few mobile phones round his neck and handcuff him to a drain pipe outside the 24 hour Spar on Oxford Road.  

I suspect that we are going to have a lot more of this as these southern tossers have to get on the train to BBC’s Media City to do their poncey sofa chats desperately trying to sell their mind numbing books. Coren's is called 'How to Eat'. It should have been called 'How to be Patronising'. Gordo’s pick of the week it ain't, readers. 

Where was Gordo? (I was wondering that. Ed) 

Oh yes, reviews. Gordo has always been annoyed about the review/perceived hatchet job that AA Gill, the television critic, did on Rosso a year ago or so. 

Gordo's memory of the gaff was of an average faux-Italian that was fun when the place is full. So for Gordo a scored review was in order to set the record straight.

Looks smartLooks smart

Booking in under his collegues name, Ruth Allan, who was Gordo’s pal for the lunch, the fat man arrives at the front desk. 

"Hi, d’you have a table for Allan?" asks Gordo. 

A pretty lady looks at the booking record.  

"A table for three?" she asks after figuring out how the spelling of Allan works. 

"Not sure"' answers Gordo, who thinks that Ruth may have added on a pal. "It could be two or three"... 

Gordo is then taken to a table for two in such a tight brasserie-style layout that there would simply be no room for a third. Gordo points this out, the girl looks baffled; Gordo groans and chooses his own table on the other side of the room. Ruth arrives on her own. 

A couple of glasses of house Prosseco, Le Dolci Colline, Adria Vini, turn out well so a bottle, at £22.95, is ordered. Very reasonable this folks. 

The food is chosen, starters being burrata, ‘creamy mozzarella served with a fig and pomegranate salad’ (£8.50), and Zuppa di Pepperoni; ‘roast pepper and cherry tomato soup, topped with crumbled goats cheese and snipped chives’ (£4.95). 

Both pretty boring, but the choice should demonstrate the depth of the kitchen brigade skills. The first will show attitudes to ingredients, the second how careful they are with dealing with them, starting from a freshly scrubbed stockpot. 

They arrive. They look pretty. So far so good. Gordo cuts into the mozzarella, immediately becoming concerned at the resistance he was experiencing. The first centimetre was very rubbery mozzarella, which gave way to a core that was totally odd. It was a light yellow, the colour of jersey cream. It was hard but fibrous. It tasted like it had gone wrong. 

Interior Of Mozzarella BurrataInterior Of Mozzarella Burrata

Definitely not to Gordo’s taste, nor Ms Allan’s. It was...weird. Gordo asked the waiter what it was. He didn't know. The head waiter came over, looking like an East German assassin from a Len Deighton novel. He didn't know either. He did, however, take it to show the chef. 

He came back.  

"The chef," announces our good looking umbrella poisons expert, "says that is exactly as it should be."  

No further explanation. Gordo is baffled. Pardon him for being such an ignorant bugger on the subject of food.  

Fatty has since discovered that Burrata can be both a cheese in its own right as well as one made up. One is a cheese made in a very similar way to mozzarella, differing in the stretching technique in production. 

The ‘filling’ comes from cream from the whey and is, apparently quite buttery. Another example is a dish of Mozzarella cheese stretched and flattened so that it can line a small pudding basin, then filled with, for example, ricotta cheese that has had cream whipped into it. Wouldn’t it have been nice if the chef had educated front of house as to what it was? 

Gordo has no idea if Rosso’s Burrata is a good example of its ilk. He would, however, guess that it had been hanging about in the fridge a tad too long. The common denominator of all the information is that it should be eaten at room temperature and should taste mild and sweet, with the consistency of very soft mozzarella. And be eaten within 24 hours of being made. Rosso’s example was chilled, with the interior having the consistency of wet suet pastry. 

The salad turned out to be boring, the dressing vapid whilst the fig plonked on the plate was perfectly alright but sat there saying to Gordo, “Fucking kill me. Right now. Please.” Those sixteen pomegranate seeds were just. Oh God, I give up. 

The chef then sent out some more mozzarella in the form of a lazy Caprese salad (mozzarella, ripe tomatoes, de-seeded and sliced, fresh basil leaves, great olive oil, crunchy sea salt). The tomatoes were ordinary and cold; the mozzarella was a problem cheese again, straight out of the fridge and no sea salt.  

The soup did not have a tang of tomatoes, certainly any tomatoes with a personality, whilst it didn’t have the smoky sweetness of ‘roasted peppers’. It did have some goats cheese chucked in, which did the soup no favours whatsoever as it just bullied what there was of any flavour right out of the door. No snipped chives, just a lonely basil leaf wondering about the meaning of life. 

The soupThe soup

Gnocchi con zucca ‘handmade potato gnocchi with butternut squash, toasted pine nuts, fresh sage and a touch of cream’ ( £10.95) was again mind boggling in its ordinariness.

The gnocchi could have been used as ammo in the Anzio landings in WW2.  The butternut squash was inconsequential in both quantity and flavour, the pine nuts weren’t toasted. Sage...? 

Whilst a touch of cream would be right if it wasn’t changed to a bucket-load of something that makes the dish sickly and doubly inedible. 

Gordo had ordered a seafood platter for two. Again, method in his madness, as you can't hide poor ingredients here, nor slapdash cooking, it’s all in the seasoning and the timing, as well as top-drawer ingredients. The explanation of the dish includes 'a whole lobster'. It was a quid short of eighty for the two of us. Again, it arrives looking good. 

But, there’s very little shellfish, some monkfish and other assorted anonymous white fish, some mussels and small clams, both rubbery, and two halves of completely ruined lobsters, which were incinerated (see top picture in this story). It was impossible to tell if these were native or the £5 Canadian ones from Aldi (which, as it happens, if dealt with correctly aren’t that bad at all). Dry and ruined. Oh, and stringy. Did I mention that the calamari rings had no seasoning whatsoever in its batter? This was a shocker. 

Seafood PlatterSeafood platter

We couldn't bring ourselves to order puddings. 

Franky, Gordo has little or no respect for chefs like this. There are far too many restaurants describing themselves as Italian in the North West filled with people who do not understand that this cuisine relies completely on its ingredients being top drawer, along with the reality that they have to be cooked with skill and love and a lightness of touch. 

There is no excuse for serving a dish which, when a punter asks what it is, the chef hasn’t proudly told his front line all about. Just to tell the front of house gaffer to say ‘that is exactly what it should be’ with a full stop is not good enough. 

Because, my cheffy pal, that is exactly the kind of patronising attitude that Coren and Gill have for us up here. And the sort of food that would confirm their prejudices.  

The three of you deserve each other.  

This is all a great shame as the room here is really quite exciting and the front of house staff are on the whole top drawer, unless you want you coat back smart-ish. 

The bar is one of Gordo’s favourites as well, being just around the corner from his apartment. It’s an easy ‘call in’ as long as he can find his way past the black £250,000 Rolls Royce parked as ostentatiously as possibly there by the owner. Not Rio Ferdinand by the way, although he is on board with a few shares. The Rolls Royce shows Rosso up for what it is.

All fur coat and no knickers.

Sell the Rolls Royce, spend less on PR people and more on your staff, training and ingredients - it would very much be a move in the right direction.

You can follow Gordo on Twitter here @GordoManchester


Rosso, 43 Spring Gardens, City. M2 2BG. 0161 832 1400      

Rating: 10/20
Food: 3/10
Service: 4/5
Ambience: 3/5

PLEASE NOTE: 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, we get carried away.



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

AnonymousJune 18th 2012.

I had black linguine with clams here. The pasta was stuck together. People complain that there are too many Italian restaurants in Manchester. I can't find a good one. Or a proper coffee. The closest are Glasgow, Edinburgh and London.


1 Response: Reply To This...
Jerry the blue catJune 19th 2012.

San Carlo the best by far real Italians working cooking and eating there.

AmandaJune 18th 2012.

I usually enjoy your reviews but this one kind of seems like revenge, as a result im afraid im going to take no notice.

5 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoJune 18th 2012.

An odd comment that Amanda, but you are most welcome to it. Revenge for what?

AmandaJune 19th 2012.

I'm not sure Gordo, it just seems to come across as though you were trying to show someone up rather than simply reviewing the food - like you were trying to get one over. Just an odd read.

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

I agree Amanda, Gordo u did sound a bit vindictive, it was probably the Giles Coren Masturbating comments.

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

Yes nice comments about southern tosses. As a southerner myself I shall no longer bother reading Manchester Confidential.

I used to read about how friendly the locals are up here too but all I hear is anti Media City southern tossers. Media City should have perhaps been built where people appreciated it rather than pouring scorn on it.

Susan LowndesJune 19th 2012.

Hi Amanda, I totally agree with you too.

I don't mind a poor review as it is always good to get an idea of what a restaurant is like but there was certainly no need for the amount of swearing/derogatory comments contained within the review. I was quite shocked when I read it and I am certainly not a prude.

Gordo it makes you look unprofessional, up your ass, childish and vindictive. You certainly didn't have the sense to think that subscribers of Manchester Confidential might actually originate from outside of Manchester and now live here (I was born and live in Manchester before you assume otherwise and think it is sour grapes).

The shame of it is, I and probably a lot of others (you will never know) would never have been offended, if you have just written a straight forward poor review concentrating on the main elements i.e. food , service, ambience.

AnonymousJune 18th 2012.

Best coffee is Carluccios for me..its a pound before 12 too...they also sell Burrata as well Gordo .. got some last week..didn't mess with it though..just great Evo oil and black pepper as part of an antipasti .. amazingly luxurious and delicious

1 Response: Reply To This...
GordoJune 18th 2012.

ooh, I am going to try it tomorrow, seems everyone in Manchester knows whar Burrata is but me. I hope it isn't like the one I had at Rosso as i will be disspointed

ChorltongalJune 18th 2012.

Funny that. Having made the mistake of eating there once myself and being asked to describe it by a friend who was thinking of going there, I said 'Hmm, lovely room but fur coat no knickers kind of place. Don't bother.' Great minds Gordo... Oh and they also made me a watery marguerita without a salty rim. Unforgivable.

FurFoxAcheJune 18th 2012.

Where do you go for a good Italian meal without being surrounded by footballers and their WAGs?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
BenjminJune 19th 2012.

don marco's on livepool road!

Jill JillianOctober 8th 2012.

agree Don Marco's just wish it opened a bit later

Charlie BJune 18th 2012.

Furfoxache...dead easy. You go to Salvis in Exchange Square.

AnonymousJune 18th 2012.

Piccolinos by far best Italian in manchester. Food fab and staff are attentive and full of personality

PollyJune 18th 2012.

I would never go to Rosso again! We went for my birthday last year- a party of 8. The food was ok but when the bill arrived we couldn't believe it. We called the manager over and he said that they'd lost track of what we'd had to drink so they had 'estimated' it. They had estimated it to the tune of 8 bottles and 12 pints!
Totally unacceptable.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

jesus christ

Richard HJJune 20th 2012.


Publican SamJune 18th 2012.

WTF? is what I asked myself when I saw the top photo ... glad you explained what it was ... not been there myself ... but next time in Manc will studiously avoid it ... spot on about Coren et al BTW

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

Your reviews are normally pretty shit, but this one was good. Kudos.

1 Response: Reply To This...
GordoJune 19th 2012.

Thanks for that (I think)

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

And as for good Italian food...cook it! Italian food is, as Gordo said, mainly about the ingredients. It isn't hard or expensive to cook a good pasta, and you certainly shouldn't be shelling out more than £8 for one at a restaurant.

pollolocoJune 19th 2012.

great review...absolute shocker of a restaurant....survives puerly because of the fur coat no knicker brigade that frequent it.

AmandaJune 19th 2012.

I'm not sure Gordo, it just seems to come across as though you were trying to show someone up rather than simply reviewing the food - like you were trying to get one over. Just an odd read.

1 Response: Reply To This...
GordoJune 19th 2012.

Nope, I wanted to do a good review to counter AA Gill. It turned out he was right, it was appalling.

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

Hahaha and totally agree. Completely overpriced to boot.

Food BabyJune 19th 2012.

Awesome review Gordo, Rosso is shockingly bad, went there with a friend, and because we are clearly not WAG's we got awful service. Nice building though.

Dan McGlynnJune 19th 2012.

"Franky, Gordo has little or no respect for chefs like this. There are far too many restaurants describing themselves as Italian in the North West filled with people who do not understand that this cuisine relies completely on its ingredients being top drawer, along with the reality that they have to be cooked with skill and love and a lightness of touch."

You've nailed it with this paragraph, Gordo.
Rosso is an embarrassment. It infuriates me that its popularity suggests that the majority don't realise this.

noelieboyJune 19th 2012.

10/20 - Exactly the score we gave it! we went the day after our wedding, staff didnt even say congratulations. we shouldve walked out then! I tweeted rio as we were eating to say it was rubbish - no reply though, mustve been quacking somewhere.
we use san rocco as a fair bench mark for Italian food & this was below that!!!

1 Response: Reply To This...
FurFoxAcheJune 19th 2012.


Nobody bar you or your family and friends gives a f**k that you're married. If it wasn't your wedding breakfast I'm not surprised they didn't say congratulations.

David JenningsJune 19th 2012.

I rarely go to UK Italian restaurants for this very reason - plus, it is arguably the easiest style of cooking to do really well at home, for about 1/4 the price. n

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

There are too many restaurants that are viewed as the place to be but lost their chef with skills a long time ago. The chef IS the restaurant no matter how good the service if the food is not as good the restaurant shouldn't get customers!
Time for our restaurants to name the chef each night outside every night!!!!

Seventies ManJune 19th 2012.

I'd rather walk round town with a nail in my shoe than eat at Rosso again.....the food is unpleasant, the staff are obnoxious & the diners are desperate.

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

Is there any need for all the swearing? As a 'seasoned' critic surely you could make better use of your vocabulary?

2 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoJune 19th 2012.

Gordo likes to irritate people.

AnonymousJune 22nd 2012.

Gordo fucking a fig is a great pictire

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

I never went back after I was told at lunch time they only had one or two of the desserts on the menu - they were waiting to get more delivered (none of them made there, then?). As for the rest of the meal, it was very basic/bordering on complaint worthy (poor quality, didn't seem fresh) and massively over priced. This was not long after it opened. Never been so under whelmed.

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

Destinos is my favourite in Manchester. Excellent food, provided you ignore the menu and just follow the house recommendations.

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

"find his way past the black £250,000 Rolls Royce parked as ostentatiously as possibly there by the owner" - Completely agree, however, To be fair, your mates at San Carlo do the same on a much tighter street..

"Sell the Rolls Royce, spend less on PR people and more on your staff, training and ingredients - it would very much be a move in the right direction." - Love this one. Can't agree more. Rosso, if you want to see staff who can answer any question you throw at them, go to Gaucho. Now theres staff training. (and no, I dont work for Gaucho!)

Paul CarterJune 19th 2012.

Rather than Rosso, Jamie's Italian, Carlucciwhatever and San 'f**king Carlo why don't you lot experience some 'proper' Italian cooking and get down to Ramson's in Rammy. You won't find anything decent in Manchester, you have to go out in the sticks.

1 Response: Reply To This...
GordoJune 19th 2012.

type Ramson's into the search engine in the site

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

I am not sure about the language of the post, the swearing and southern snobbery. I, as a foreigner, had trouble understanding all the ironies between the lines BUT the point of the post is 100% correct for me. Too much style over substance. I was taken there for dinner only once and I have to agree with all the points of Gordo. Apart from the stunning decoration, there is nothing else worth paying for. The tables are crammed together, it was impossible to have a private chat or avoid listening to the people in the next table, the staff where very unfriendly, not unprofessional -they did do what we asked them to after all- but very un-smiley and cold. The food I had was probably in the top ten restaurant disasters and I think I am being fair. I had risotto with mushrooms, which was undercooked, unseasoned and on bitting the mushroom a tasteless liquid (water?) came out. My friend ordered lasagna which both in appearance and in taste seemed like a cheap supper market microwave meal. We were both very disappointed by the quality of the food. I won't even talk about value for money. This sort of food is an unacceptable output of a professional chef, even when it's given for free...

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

Manchester charges London prices but the quality and service is poor.

I can eat at Scott's of Mayfair for less than I can up here. If you don't believe me go on their website or indeed that of The Ivy. You'll see that Manchester charges a lot for bland food.

These are great restaurants in London and I am not talking Michelin stars like Marcus Wareing or Held Daroze but just fantastic restaurants.

Jonathan SchofieldJune 19th 2012.

Honestly some of you.... There is some great Italian food in Manchester. Just at lunch I went to Salvi's in the Corn Exchange: www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/…/Salvis-Exchange-Square-Reviewed….

Beautiful cheese, hams, and exquisite coffee. Also try Cicchetti and even Ettore's Piccolino.

3 Responses: Reply To This...
SmittyJune 19th 2012.

And don't forget about Pizza Hut with its playful blend of saturated fat and buffet offers.

MaggieJune 19th 2012.

Yep, agree with you about Salvi's, a perfect example of substance over style. My snobby moronic brother -in-law turns his nose up at Salvi's but has stars in his eyes over Rossi. great! At least it means I don't have to listen to him and his ilk as I enjoy my authentic Italian food. x

Jonathan SchofieldJune 20th 2012.

Maggie do you and bro-in-law get on well

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

I have never had a bad meal at Rosso and whilst everyone is entitled to their opinion I wonder if Gordo's review has more to do with the owners refusal to offer deals through Manchester Confidential, than it does about the food/service he received! On one recent visit I came across Gordo, so apparently inebriated and slurring his words he struggled to make any sense. Let's hope that when completing this review he didn't drink all of that, good value, Prosseco, all on his own!

On a further note, as Gordo well knows, Rosso is only a small part of the owners, very successful, business portfolio. If being successful in business and enjoying the trappings of it, such as driving a Rolls Royce, is such an afront to Gordo, I have to question if this is this more a case of a touch of, The Green Eyed Monster!


3 Responses: Reply To This...
SanJune 19th 2012.

Well said Ian!

GordoJune 19th 2012.

Gordo Pissed? Never!... Ian, the comments from Twitter and here are now at something like 59 in total agreement, you and one other in disagreement. Virtually no-one has a good word to say about the cooking here. As for the Rolls, I was chauffeur driven to school in one every day in my teens, I hated the ostentation of it then and more so now. To have £250,000 sat outside and a second rate chef inside simply shows what the attitude of the ownership is. Anyway Ian, which part of the operation do you work for?

NeilJune 20th 2012.

I have to agree with Ian... i have visited rosso on 5 or 6 occasions and never had a bad meal.. service is excellent... and if you try to compare to San Carlo no comparison... too cramped .. rushed through your meal... total oppostie in my opinion at rosso... cant wait to go back...
As for Gordo sounds to me like he likes it but can't admit it..

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

Don't understand Gordo's issue with Corens review of Aumbrey at all. Other than a justified aside at the embarrassment that is MediaCity he is spot with regards to his comments on the food.

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

‘I just watched the opening sequence of High Noon six times and I cried and cried about being a man’

I just booked a ticket on the noon train to Manchester. The noon train. It has a resonance that never fades. Not if you were brought up on black-and-white westerns starring Audie Murphy, Alan Ladd, Gregory Peck, John Wayne, Henry Fonda, James Stewart and, above all, Gary Cooper, the local lawman in High Noon, newly married to Grace Kelly, who learns – almost in the moment of kissing his bride – that the murderous Frank Miller is arriving on the noon train.

Frank Miller, whom he put in prison all those years ago to make this town a safer place, where a man could buy a plot of land, put away his gun, maybe raise a family…

Now Miller is out, arriving on the noon train to take his revenge. Will Kane (Cooper) could flee with his bride to a new life far away. Or stand and fight. Tick, tock, goes the clock as the story plays out in real time. One by one the townspeople withdraw their help, terrified. Tick. His wife screams for him to flee. But he can’t do that. Tock. He will fight them alone, at high noon, on the main street.

And as the Miller gang musters on a hill to ride down and meet their returning leader, that old Tex Ritter ballad just grips my stomach every time:

“Do not forsake me, oh, my darlin’,

On this our wedding day…

The noonday train will bring Frank Miller.

If I’m a man I must be brave.

And I must face that deadly killer

Or lie a coward, a craven coward

Or lie a coward in my grave…

Do not forsake me, oh, my darlin’,

You made that promise when we wed.

Do not forsake me, oh, my darlin’,

Although you’re grievin’

I can’t be leavin’

Until I shoot Frank Miller dead.”

I sat there by my father’s side in the front room, on the floor, him chain-smoking and teary-eyed at the song, me in a fringed cowboy hat, holding my Pecos Kid cap gun and waiting for the shooting, and asking, “Why doesn’t he leave, Daddy? Why doesn’t he? Frank Miller might kill him, Daddy. And then his wife will be sad. Why doesn’t he just leave?”

“Because he is a man, son,” my dad would say, as if he had faced endless dilemmas like this in the untamed frontier of the Cricklewood borderlands. “And he knows that even as she begs him to run, she would never be able to love him if he did. You’ll understand one day.”

And, you know, I do. I just watched the opening sequence six times on YouTube (trying to copy the words down off that hissing, 60-year-old recording) and I cried and cried about being a man. “Oh, to be torn ’twixt love and duty/ S’posin’ I lose my fair-haired beauty?”

Partly I’m crying because of Manchester. Sooo far away. I’m not going on the noon train to kill a man. Just to plug a book on afternoon radio. But I’m not looking forward to it. I was there last week doing the same thing on breakfast television. Stalking through the empty streets of Salford’s MediaCityUK, thrown up on a whim to create an illusion of media devolution to the regions. But in truth everyone just racing up to Manchester, yodelling their lines into the mic and then screeching off in a cab, tyres smoking, to get the train back to London.

All sorts of shows that needed no messing about with – BBC Breakfast, Richard Bacon’s Radio 5 Live show, Match of the Day – have been randomly booted up there, so everybody just commutes from the South (if they’re rich and powerful) or uproots their family and moves up (if they are a lower-level functionary), for a cause that nobody understands, at a cost of what I’m told was around a billion pounds.

When you get here, it is very like High Noon: wide, empty streets, vacated lots, haunted-looking gunslingers, tumbleweed. A few weeks ago a mate of mine got home to London two hours late because someone was shot dead literally outside the door of his studio.

And so I am torn between love and duty, as I was last week when, in order to talk about my book on BBC Breakfast, I had to go up the night before, and miss the company of my wife and daughter for 24 hours, because there are no trains early enough from London to travel there on the day.

To double up on that duty, and make the outweighing of love more palpable, I decided to review a restaurant on my wasted night. I booked a place called Aumbry, which has been called the best restaurant in Manchester but never been reviewed in the national press except in the (formerly Manchester) Guardian by a chap who, though an admirable writer, is not a restaurant critic.

So I was forging a path into the Wild (North) West. Opening a trail. One man against the wilderness. Well, one man and his publicist. Lucy Zilberkweit from Hodder, whose job it is to shanghai me into these trips.

Aumbry is awfully cute. A wee townhouse in the not otherwise especially charming suburb of Prestwich. It is chintzy, with accent walls and the deliberate sense of being in somebody’s front room. A good-natured girl presses you upstairs to a pelmetty lounge for champagne. It’s very old-fashioned in its way, but the unstuffiness is quite modern. And the menu is a strange meeting of old and new as well.

It is modern in being very short. To the point of brusqueness. I have long preached the virtues of a 6-6-6 formation. Aumbry goes 4-4-4. To offer so little choice is a very contemporary show of confidence. But when the food arrives there is a fussiness on the plate that is more retro. There are a lot of ingredients on each plate, the occasional “towering” of components, some very 2007 smears. The foragey sound of the dishes – “sautéed snails & wild mushrooms, garlic & parsley, fresh curds rolled in hay ash & malt loaf”; “grilled Yorkshire asparagus, duck egg croquette, Jack-by-the-hedge & wild garlic” – made me think it might be almost Nordic in its modernity. A scent of Noma by way of Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume.

But it isn’t like that really. It’s cosier. The best things were a tiny morsel of slow-cooked Cumbrian lamb for the main course whose slick of accompanying juice was magically rich and dense, and a terrific treacle tart with lemon jelly and Earl Grey cream. But other things were a little blighted by extensive pre-preparation.

There is a semi-open kitchen here, but no sense of much going on during service, because the cooking has all been done before in a water bath and then assembled on demand. Nothing I ate was what you would call “hot”. The poached plaice was not a piece of zingingly fresh fish recently poached. It was a clever concoction whose burnt butter, sea beet, peppermint, purslane and verjuice couldn’t disguise a rather grey, somewhat “over” bit of flesh.

The quail egg in a “Bury black pudding scotch egg” was hard-boiled – but even I can do one of those with a soft yolk in it. And I’m an idiot. And then it was not piping hot and sizzling with recent emergence from the roiling oil. It had been cooked some time ago, and then sat there waiting for me to order it.

Aumbry is in many ways wonderful. Service and setting are cute as can be and my Sustainable Restaurant Association guy raves that: “Aumbry serves high-quality food from local suppliers who operate to very high standards of sustainability. An interesting example of this is their work with the Incredible Edible charity, a community growing project that supplies the restaurant with fruit and vegetables. In addition to this, they make their own cheeses and purchase whole carcasses to make the most out of every part of the animal.”

But in a place with such a short menu and so few covers it would be nice to see a lot more of the food being cooked to order. Some of the techniques on show were originally developed to create consistent results in large metropolitan restaurants desperate for Michelin recognition. Aumbry could be getting a bit more Northern soul onto its plates.

Let us be fair, in finishing, to the BBC relocation project, which did, after all, bring me up here, and thus Aumbry to a wider audience. Valuable publicity for a small Northern business. Maybe it’s the sort of thing they had in mind when they moved. But a billion pounds?

Giles Coren’s How to Eat Out is now available, published by Hodder & Stoughton

2 Church Lane, Prestwich, Manchester (0161-798 5841; aumbryrestaurant.co.uk)
Service: 8
Cooking: 6
SRA: 7.5
Score: 7.16

Doctor QJune 19th 2012.

I've not been to Rosso yet, but have heard reports of acquaintences who have been; said it was average food priced at the high end of the market. Apparently, San Carlo knocks spots off this place.

SanJune 19th 2012.

Another horrid attack on a decent restaurant. Just because they don't advertise with Man Con they get this abuse with the other restaurants who refuse to pay to advterise in the newsletter Gordo co-owns.... but sus if you ask me and the rest of Manchester...

5 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoJune 19th 2012.

yeah yeah yeah, work there eh San?

SanJune 19th 2012.

No actually Im a teacher in Rochdale!!!!

SanJune 19th 2012.

I conduct my own food reviews but don't act in such a cruel way as you do...

SanJune 19th 2012.

No Im a teacher in Rochdale!!!!

GordoJune 19th 2012.

San, don't give up your day job son.

SanJune 19th 2012.

ps - noticed San Carlo get a good mention and write up... oh suprise, suprise they are the biggest restaurant advertisers on here... impartial my arse!

2 Responses: Reply To This...
SmittyJune 19th 2012.

To be fair to Mancon, San Carlo is pretty tasty.

ShredderJune 19th 2012.

Advertising or not, San Carlo beats Rosso senseless. If you are a food critic you are for sure a shit one San

AnonymousJune 19th 2012.

I don't understand the 3rd person concept of this review, who is writing it? Are we saying that Gordo turned up made notes then someone else wrote this? Or do Mark & Gordo now refer to each other as separate entities?

P.S. Does sound a bit vengeful, but reviews are what they are, readers just have to decide if they trust the critic I guess.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
ShredderJune 19th 2012.

Gordo has been irritating me with his third person for eight years now, have you not noticed it? He has however been 100% right in his reviews; Rosso is about as Italian as left nostril. Obsequious he isn't. And he let's people like you say what you want on here.

James KayJune 20th 2012.

If it irritates that you much, why keep reading it for 8 bloody years??
As for Anon... you say that you don't understand the 3rd person concept... eh?? James cannot fathom that comment!

FoodLovinCriminalJune 19th 2012.

I'm glad someone else has finally recognised that the food in Rosso simply isn't up to scratch.. I've given it a few chances and have come away bitterly disappointed each time... Not tried Jamie's yet but if I'm in that area Panama Hatty's gets my vote or for good Italian you just can't beat San Carlo for food quality, even if you do feel a bit rushed and crushed in there!

Soul ManchesterJune 19th 2012.

Manchester Confidential. I've just read all of the above comments and have come to the conclusion that, after very much enjoying dining at Rosso and most of the other restaurants mentioned above and with all else aside, your so called impartial reviewer has some sort of grudge against the proprietors and has chosen to single this business out for vindictive and snide comments. If I were to be really honest I'd say that this Gordo chap loves to be loved ( fawned over) and maybe Rosso made the mistake of not following the others down this route, others refer to greased palms - not to him but to MC via advertising ( I'll not comment on that myself ), but the simple truth is that when they're all very much a muchness some get glowing reviews and some get the boot put in. Manchester Confidential, STOP THIS NOW. The review is false, vindictive and hateful, you should be ashamed of yourselves.

1 Response: Reply To This...
Cherry TreeJune 19th 2012.

Soul, have you seen that lobster in the picure? It's incinerated for chrissakes! This review is correct. Have yoe read all the comments? Are you The owners mum?

Richard ArmstrongJune 19th 2012.

Mark I think you're being generous. This wasn't IMHO a revenge review, from recent personal experience it was accurate. We had the misfortune to listen to a "friend" who said Rosso was good again. It's not. The worst lunch I have had in the city for ages. I'll never return. Why anyone would want this nonsense in comparison to San Carlo or 63 degrees beats me

Anthony McGrathJune 20th 2012.

If we can put into context the validity of this so called independent review. The Mozzarella acheived 10/10 by non other than Angela Hartnett in a taste taste. The same producer has products that are endorsed by Raymond Blanc and Pierre Koffmann.. Is Gordo better placed to comment on ingredients than these industry heavy weights? Need i say more.
It's all about the advertising revenue unfortunately. Stroke the palm..Hey, what a wonderful meal..

2 Responses: Reply To This...
pollolocoJune 20th 2012.

You've obviously not eaten at Rosso have you Tony? I suggest you go and see for yourself pal!

GordoJune 20th 2012.

Anthony, I have now educated myself on Burrata. It isn't Mozzarella. It is similar, but the interior is absolutely fabulous, creamy and sweet. It's in Carluccios and the small, beautiful italian cafe in the triangle. It has nothing to do with what I was served. If what I was served was Burrata, it must have been a very old one; it was thick, solid and unpleasant. So what is this Mozzarella that won these accolades? I would suggest that someone has been blowing smoke up your bottom my friend. Or are you on the payroll at Rosso? Tell me the name of the producer and I shall give my pal Angela a call now to verify.

AnonymousJune 20th 2012.

Appallingly bitter and obnoxious review. The remark 'How to be Patronising' brings Pot, Kettle, Black to mind. I totally agree with Susan Lowndes.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
DannyJune 20th 2012.

What is bitter about telling it as its is Anon? Gordo can of course be obnoxious. Thats him, isnt it? But he is bloody spot on in this review, I took a girlfriend for dinner a couple of months ago and we will never go again. The food is lazy, badly prepared and the puddings come off the back of a van.

Cherry TreeJune 20th 2012.

Anony, are you Rosso's PR company desperately trying to hold on to your retainer?

Anthony McGrathJune 20th 2012.

I know where the mozzarella is produced and as i previously mention, it has received glowing reviews from the above industry chefs. I had previously enjoyed reading Gordo's humor. This has not been written with much logic in my opinion and is way below the belt. What have cars got to do with food? It has been an attempted assassination. He talks about poor ingredients. Maybe his medication has impaired his taste buds?? If Angela Hartnett says 10. Well, I think she knows her cheese.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
pollolocoJune 20th 2012.

Tony, you really are fighting a losing battle here. Don't you think that Angela might have been served a fresh one? Buratta is a cheese tht HAS to be eaten within 24 hours...do you understand??? The one served to Gordo had quite obviously been kicking about the back of a fridge for a few weeks hence the yellow colour and solid texture.

pollolocoJune 20th 2012.

Take a look at the picture .....fresh buratta should ooze once cut because of the fresh cream inside...the centre is quite obviously solid...what does this tell you Einstein?

Isabella JacksonJune 20th 2012.

Review aside, Rosso is pretty average in my opinion; I just love how 'Gordo' truly believes he's in the same league as AA Gill and Giles Coren. That's an ego if ever there was one.

GordoJune 20th 2012.

Gordo is way above Gill and Core , Isabella, he is the greatest food critic that the world had ever known. Silly girl.

GordoJune 20th 2012.

Did he forget to mention Lover and raconteur?

Mark GarnerJune 20th 2012.

Time for bed Gordo...

Anthony McGrathJune 21st 2012.

"the mozzarella was a problem cheese again," These are not my words and i have not even mentioned the word Burrata until now. "do you understand???" asks polloloco. You need to read slowly and absorb what i actually said, not very difficult really. For Gordo, very easy to google "Mozzarella taste taste Angela Harnett". The top two results provide the producer. As for Angela being your pal!!! The Queen is my drinking partner, i will tell her to award you the OBE you so deserve.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
GordoJune 21st 2012.

Anthony, the second cheese was Mozzarella and as I stated was simply served too cold. I remember it to be a very good ingredient; however, dressed very poorly as a caprese salad. I now understand that you are not talking about the Burrata. I understand that as the supplier you are a bit miffed, but I can wholeheartedly say that your ingredients from Laverstoke Park Farm are top-notch, as well as observing that they had been handled badly is all. My apologies for the confusion.

James KayJune 21st 2012.

Phew! Thought the man from Catering Connection was gonna blow a fuse for a while there! Not a good thing... especially when he boozes with the Queen!

GordoJune 21st 2012.

Anthony, the second cheese was Mozzarella and as I stated was simply served too cold. I remember it to be very good; however, dressed very poorly as a caprese salad. I now understand that you are not talking about the Burrata. I understand that as the supplier you are a bit miffed, but I can wholeheartedly say that your ingredients from Liverstock are top-notch, as well as observing that they had been handled badly is all. My apologies for the confusion.

AnonymousJune 22nd 2012.

why not stay at home and do it yourself (not in the way Gordo says Mr Gill does it.)

a USA version.


Steve5839June 22nd 2012.

I am being taken to Rosso next week, huum, will post a view, but I am not a fan of Italian restaurants anyway (apart from San Carlo)

Roger StephensonJune 24th 2012.

I'm not so bothered about the debate on Rosso, I have been there a few times and never had a good meal, but I like the bar.
Where I wholeheartedly agree with Gordo is his vitriol about Giles Coren. Aumbry is a great restaurant and stands up to national inspection. I couldn't believe the bias of his article.

Poster BoyJune 28th 2012.

Gordo has "always been annoyed about the review...that AA Gill...did on Rosso" because he called it so massively wrong when he first reviewed it, and those expensively educated southern tossers (sic) got it so obviously right.
The Rosso staff must have taken days sweeping Gordo's equally massive 'chip' up from the restaurant floor...

Christine KilbyJuly 8th 2012.

I really used to like Rosso for its ambience and special lunch deals which were, initially, very good value. Unfortunately it has become so unreliable that I have given it a miss of late as, generally, I do like my food to be edible. I have ordered from the main menu but it doesn't seem any better, just much more expensive. I have had no problems with the (mostly) efficient staff but clearly Rosso needs to sharpen up its act, pronto. Even some of my friends who couldn't care less about the food they (don't) eat have been complaining so it must be getting bad!

CameronJuly 13th 2012.

Having read the review by “Gordo” in respect of the restaurant “Rosso”, I feel that it tells us more about him than Rosso.

There are those who go out to enjoy themselves and those who don’t; of those who don’t, other than those who have no intention of paying, by far the most annoying to the rest of us, are those who endlessly pontificate about their superior expectations.

It usually starts with the table- never in the right spot, never big enough. With “Gordo” it started with spotting a ‘Roller’ outside. Too big, too grand!

The staff always suffer more than the other dinners nearby. The service is always: too fast, too slow- too familiar- too distant, they either look (sic???) too posh- too sloppy – too severe-. They know too much, too little, talk too much or too little- one wonders how Rosso staff managed 4 out of 5.

And, so to the food! Rosso is a restaurant which is very popular. 300 to 400 covers a day is not unusual, the ingredients bought fresh daily. What we all enjoy is subjective- Rosso is busy because the food keeps to a high standard and if it isn’t right it will be replaced. In the kitchen is a notice which sums up what Rosso is about, it says “EVERY customer is a V.I.P.”

Rosso occupies a converted bank, is very beautiful and is at the same time grand and welcoming.

My rating for Gordo as a reviewer out of 10

Vindictiveness 10
Knowledge 5
Snobbishness 10

30-25 -> should stop in more! 15-25 listen more, talk less

bigearsJuly 13th 2012.

I've been a few times and never had anything bad to say about it but I think I'm the only 1 that hasn't!

GordoJuly 13th 2012.

Thank you Cameron, nice to get feedback ;-) keep up the good work!

Chris CollinsSeptember 6th 2012.

I went with a group of colleagues from work (for the lunchtime menu). They brought the wrong meal for one lady and by the time it was replaced the rest of the party had finished their meals! No apology! At the very least they should have not charged her for her meal. A very pretentious restaurant.

the Whalley RangerSeptember 6th 2012.

Rosso is an eatery for an aspirational student clientele and later on in the evening for ladies who need pick-up. Fair do's.

Simon TurnerSeptember 7th 2012.

"Student". Are you sure!!!!!???? You've never been there, clearly.

1 Response: Reply To This...
the Whalley RangerSeptember 7th 2012.

Only trying to put as many defamations in one sentence as possible. Of course I have been there.

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