IT’S FRESH, AUTHENTIC, TRADITIONAL AND RUSTIC
NEW RESTAURANT JOINS TOP-CLASS FOOD SCENE
EVERY time I visit somewhere on Chapel Street - Lupo Caffe Italiano, Kings Arms, Another Heart to Feed, The New Oxford etc - I end up describing them as ‘hidden gems’ in a burgeoning inner city area. It’s probably not fair. The Salford corridor that touches the Manchester border is fully fledged, despite the area itself being barely halfway through a 25-year remodelling process.
The businesses mentioned have been up and running for varying lengths of time but have established themselves. They have regulars and are quietly delivering something of real value to the area.
It’s encouraging then to see another of those places - Vero Moderno - make its way into the Good Food Guide recently.
The neighbourhood restaurant, which opened in June, occupies one of the spots in the newlycreated Vimto Gardens.
Fresh, authentic, traditional and rustic is the vibe here.
At one end is the restaurant, at the other a deli counter bursting with interesting looking meats and cheeses. A leg of cured ham sits proudly on top as chefs behind make the day’s pasta and check the 48-hour proved pizza dough.
As we settle in for a sharing board of dry cured meats and buffalo mozzarella (£18.95), I’m transported back to a recent weekend break to Bologna. Warm olive foccacia and a cold Peroni Gran Riserva (£4.50) are decent companions.
I’m drinking Lambrusco like it’s Vimto at the minute, but there’s none on the menu sadly.
No worries though, because here comes the daily special ravioli - filled with octopus in a simple tomato sauce (£12.95). Proof that great flavours don’t have to be steeped in complex aesthetic. The simplicity shines, the pasta is bite perfect.
As is the ragu di agnello - lamb cooked in a white ragu with mushroom (£13.25). The combined flavours are the best bit of a Sunday roast and a rich, hearty pasta bowl. Four ingredients, five stars.
The menu only breaks away from its home style once - with a beef burger ‘Italian style’ (£12.95). Topped with pancetta (smoky) and buffalo mozzarella (creamy), it’s a fine effort, with excellent chips that crunch and fluff in all the right places.
A chocolate truffle ice cream ball (£4) and a top-notch espresso (£1.60) draws a very good lunch to a close. Back from Bolgona to Salford, the place is filling up - some locals sip aperitifs at the bar, others are on coffee, light lunch and laptop duties. It’s a good mix and encouraging to see it being backed by the people who live nearby.
Chapel Street is a bona fide food and drink destination now, and it has another cracking neighbourhood restaurant worth seeking out. Simon Binns