Manchester Restaurant Review – Piccolino Manchester #FreedomFriday

I have discussed before that I am retired and my husband now only works part – time. That means we have every Friday free – our weekend starts early! Yippee!

I refer to these days as #FreedomFriday

We try to spend quality time together. I like to share some of the activities we do and places we visit. Last Friday was a day into Manchester for drinks and food. We visited a couple of bars – which I will discuss in later posts about favourite bars in Manchester.

We chose to eat in Piccolino’s – Clarence Street just off AlbertSquare.

  • Name of venue visited

Piccolino’s

  • Reason for visit

Early dinner with husband

  • Time and day of visit

Friday 5pm -no prior booking

  • First impression
  • Greeted and seated immediately. Has been updated since our last visit. Lovely  vibe straight away, lively hum of chatter and activity. Love the cool blue leather, oak fittings and chandeliers. It looks much more than your average pizzeria.
    Sorry its a bit blurred!
  • Time to get servers attention/service

Met at the door by friendly staff – immediate attention.

  • Food quality

 

The food was delicious -We had garlic bread and olives for starters. For mains John chose the Linguine al gamberetti  – King Prawns, courgettes and chilli, he tends to chose a shellfish linguine. He thought this was one of the better ones he’s eaten.

I chose one of the seasonal specials – Pumpkin Risotto – I’d never eaten pumpkin before so wasn’t sure what to expect. It was lovely – the risotto was fabulous – creamy and perfect consistency. Again I eat a lot of risotto’s and this was one of the better ones.


We rarely eat desserts but we did on this occasions Afogata for John – a favourite for both of us – I ate a pear in chocolate sauce – Mmmmm- divine.

For drinks John had Moretti and a glass of Red Wine (house) for me.

  • Quality of Service

Service was prompt and business like. Not too many pleasantries exchanged. When the bill was presented it was £83 -on closer inspection there was 3 rounds of drinks on the bill that weren’t ours – a Negroni, a glass of Prosecco and an Aperol Spritz. I pointed this out and it was amended – did need two attempts though – the Aperol Spritz was still showing the second time. Again this was amended with no quibble. The new total was just a little over £54. Reasonable for the quality of food and surroundings.

  • Evaluation

Really pleasing visit. In fact I think this our new favourite Italian Restaurant.                   Would be suitable just to visit for a drink or cocktail

  • Would I visit again?

Yes, definitely.

Sample menu http://www.individualrestaurants.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Manchester-PICC-With-Fish-Platter-AW-2016-1.pdf

If you’ve visited one of the Piccolino Restaurants – was your experience as good?

What’s your favourite choice in an Italian Restaurant.

 

Please comment or contact me via earlyretirementrocks@gmail.com

Mummy in a Tutu
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Neighbourhood Manchester – Restaurant Review

Myself and OH are foodies and regularly eat out or just visit venues for drinks – I think we’re trying to work our way around most Manchester haunts – a hard task we know as the number of new places to eat and drink are multiplying every week – a tough job but we’re tough enough and ugly enough to try it!

 

I’m going to post reviews of places we visit, some reviews will be retrospective – but I will use the same format for each review and hopefully have accompanying photos for most – yes I confess I’m one of those people who can’t eat a meal or have a drink without taking a photo!

I also will judge each bar against my husbands 10 second rule – if no-one at the bar acknowledges our presence within that time we leave! Harsh maybe but my OH is right in saying that in most places the cost of 2 drinks is more than the average working persons hourly rate so custom should be valued – yes the staff can be very busy and be serving other customers – that’s not a problem, however he likes the server to at least make eye contact and state they will be with us soon. I’m pleased to say that most places do pass this test!

I recently visited Neighbourhood in Spinningfields Manchester for lunch with my husband. The venue describes itself as an all day eatery and late bar. It’s a popular venue for the smartly dressed customer.

The following paragraph is a quote from it’s own Web page

Neighbourhood is a restaurant and bar inspired by the vibrancy and accessibility of the food and drink scene you typically see in New York, Las Vegas or Miami. It’s a place where you can grab brunch, coffee and a quick snack, afternoon tea, cocktails or dinner – it literally caters for all, offering something for everybody.”

We received a nice welcome at the door, our table was ready but we asked if we could have a drink at the bar first. What my opinion was is covered in my template. Anyway here goes with my first Manchester Restaurant Review

  • Name of venue visited

         Neighbourhood Manchester 

  • Reason for visit

Late lunch with husband

  • Time and day of visit

Friday 3pm

  • First impression

Friendly welcome, looks and feels like a New York restaurant/bar. Great decor – loved            the Emerald  green leather chairs

  • Time to get servers attention/service

Met at the door by friendly staff – immediate attention.

  • Food quality

Good menu and choice. I had the tempura prawn starter – was delicious, OH had the               Lil burgers as a starter – 3 small burgers on a platter – he said they were really                          good.

Tempura Prawns
Lil Burgers

For mains we both had salads – Cobb Salad for me and a Chicken  Caesar for OH Nicely presented but nothing out of the ordinary.


We washed it down with a bottle of house white which was very nice indeed. Above             average taste for a house wine.

  • Quality of Service

service when seated was average, some delay for food and drinks service, but on the                whole good. Some friendly conversation and interaction – an important factor for us.

  • Evaluation

Nice venue – drinks pricey, looks like a venue where people want to be ‘seen’. There                were a few guests enjoying afternoon tea – the selection on offer looked good.                          From looking at the venue and the  other guests, we would say it is somewhere for a                treat or a special occasion. Not somewhere to visit  regularly.

  • Would I visit again?

Yes. Would definitely take girlfriends for a treat.

As a footnote I must state that we visited as a prize win from a twitter competition run by Neighbourhood and the food and a bottle of wine was free. Thank you Neighbourhood very generous. Special thanks to Jake for arranging and hosting.

 

Manchester – Sculpture Hall Cafe – A Review

Background

I am a Mancunian through and through – my accent is testimony to that! I  am staunchly proud of my home City. There is always plenty to see and do, has great history and the people on the whole are very friendly. Obviously like many other Cities it is constantly evolving and changing. I love being out and about in the City Centre. As it will become obvious as my blog develops, my husband and myself are huge ‘foodies’. We love eating out in restaurants and enjoying a drink in the many  bars and pubs around. Lately there seems to be an abundance of new establishments. We used to pride ourselves on knowing all of the bars to go to, but not so now. We are working our way through them though! There is somewhere new every visit. I will write more and more about our experiences in the future.

Reason for visiting

Since I’ve retired, I’ve joined the realm of ‘Ladies that Lunch’,  myself and my girlfriends have been regularly meeting for afternoon tea. One of my friends is very partial to this and we are all happy to go along with her. The quality of the tea’s are very variable. Today we visited The Sculpture Hall Cafe inside Manchester Town Hall. In fact until my friend suggested it none of us knew this existed. Well, I have to say we have unearthed a hidden gem. I have always admired and loved the architecture of Manchester Town Hall, it is such a beautiful building outside, one of my very favourites in Manchester. Until today ,apart from a visit to arrange my Council tax many years ago I have never been inside.  It is stunning, as lovely and opulent as I anticipated. I’m going to say something now that makes me think I’m turning into my mother! and that is “They don’t make buildings like they used to” There have been many new developments in Manchester including The Urbis, which now houses the National Football Museum, and 1 Angel Square, the Home of the Head of The Cooperative, which I have heard nicknamed the egg slice, due to it’s unique shape. These are no doubt magnificent sights along the cities skyline, but here is none of the exquisite detail and sculpture of the Town Hall. I am always in awe of how craftsmen in years gone by constructed such magnificent buildings, without the labour saving equipment available today.

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Menu 

Anyway to return to the subject of the afternoon tea, this was also as opulent as the surroundings. The contents were original. Not just a sandwich selection, it included potted Yorkshire ham rillette and  homemade piccallilli to spread on crusty bread, a Mrs Kirkham’s creamy Lancashire cheese and leek tart, Parmesan choux filled with chicken liver pâté, Smoked trout mousse and Morecambe Bay shrimps on granary bread / Longley Farm soft cheese and cured cucumber on rye.

20151022_142720The cake selection was also sumptuous and original – all the products on the menu are locally themed. Amongst the cakes was an Eccles cake, a Manchester Cake, inspired by the famous Manchester Tart and the piece de resistance had to be the Vimto Delice: sponge cake topped with a whipped Vimto mousse and covered in a Vimto glaze – absolutely delicious. Light and delicate and the Vimto flavouring was gorgeous, just enough for the unique taste to be recognisable but not enough to be overpowering. It’s the first time I’ve eaten this, hope it won’t be my last.

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I would recommend the menu and venue to anyone, oh and the service  wasn’t bad either! The best afternoon tea experience I have enjoyed in the city. After we had eaten we took the opportunity to take some photo’s of the inside of the building, I hope they provide an insight to it’s beauty.

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Although we sampled the Afternoon Tea menu there is a variety of food served all day – I would recommend that you make an advance booking. For further information please follow the link to the Town Hall Information page: http://www.manchester.gov.uk/townhall/info/4/the_sculpture_hall_cafe/9/the_sculpture_hall_caf%C3%A9_menu

My contact details: ellieblue1223@gmail.com