Set in the heart of Manchester and just off the main Deansgate stretch, Cibo Manchester is Don Giovanni’s newest venture. Bringing super fresh fish, as well as delicious local and Italian produce to the table, Cibo provides a laid back atmosphere and classic Mediterranean heart.
Following a full refurbishment to both the restaurant and the kitchen, the fresh look brings Italian cafe vibes with a classically Italian menu which focuses on simple cooking and fabulous flavours – after all, put simply, ‘Cibo’ is an affectionately informal Italian word for food.
We began the evening with a round of gin copas, featuring Gine Rose, with Malfy gin, pink grapefruit, elderflower tonic and a big slice of grapefruit. Light, refreshing and delicious, we swirled our copas and browsed the extensive menu.
Both in the mood for sharing some tapas-style starters, we ordered the ‘Frittura Mista’ (£8.95) – a selection of lightly battered appetisers (king prawns, calamari, white bait and baby octopus) which were all salted and seasoned to perfection. They came with an amazing homemade tartar sauce, and truth be told, I could have probably picked at these all night, tapas style.
We also selected Cibo Manchester’s ‘Cozze Piccanti’ (£7.50), a dish of fresh Scottish mussels, served in a spicy tomato sauce, which arrived in abundance of quantity, so happily, there were more than enough to share between us. The tomato and chilli sauce was delectably light and fresh.
For our main courses, we opted for ‘Capesante Gratinate’, (£15.50) an impressive dish of seared king scallops, topped with grated and grilled pecorino cheese. Admittedly, it was hard not to be amateurishly blown away by the flamboyance of the presentation, as each scallop was served in its own shell. Topped with tasty passata and cheese, one by one, each scallop went down an absolute treat.
We also chose the ‘Scallopine Al Limone’ (£14.95), veal with lemon and sage, with grilled venetian white polenta. This dish arrived in the form of tender veal escalopes, served in rich white sauce. Although the sauce was full flavoured and savoury, the amount served-up did take away from some of the flavour which the veal could have delivered on its own.
For sides, we selected the ‘Patate Arrosto’ (£3.50), which arrived as beautifully seasoned thick-cut wedges of rosemary roast potato, topped with fine parmesan. We also went for the ‘Spinaci’ (£3.50), a small, deep dish of wild spinach, pan friend with pine nuts and a touch of chilli.
It wouldn’t be an Italian dining experience without finishing the evening with desert. Heartbreakingly, the warm chocolate souffle was off the menu at Cibo Manchester that evening, so we settled on Vanilla Cheesecake (£5.50) made with fresh vanilla pods, topped with berry compote, and the classic Italian staple, Tiramisu (£5.50), made with homemade savoiardi biscuits soaked in coffee liquor and layered with a mascarpone mousse.