[Cheadle Hulme, Greater Manchester] Amici

It’s years since we’ve been to the restaurant. We went a couple of times and were just underwhelmed by the food. But, during the lockdowns, we’ve swapped our weekly “restaurant night” for a weekly “home delivery night”, from a restaurant. There are not that many delivering to our address so, when we saw Amici, we thought it’d be worth a try. We want to try and support our local places as best we can until they are able to reopen properly.

There’s a fairly extensive menu, covering the basics of your expectations of an Anglicised Italian restaurant. And, in amongst the listings, a number of items which seem to owe their allegiance more to America than Amalfi – the likes of burgers, Buffalo wings, loaded fries, cheesecake, etc. And other ingredients which you wouldn’t be likely to come across in Italy – halloumi fries with paprika and sweet chilli sauce, for example.

One of our starters used pan-European ingredients – a saute of black pudding, Spanish chorizo and Italian Palma ham, in a little red wine sauce. It comes with a couple of slices of bread and a little salad. It was all OK. My companion in life had ordered a side salad as a starter and also to finish off with lasagne. It was substantial enough to do both jobs. And the lasagne was a decent affair with a rich béchamel and a flavoursome ragu. The other main course was a chicken breast flattened, breadcrumbed and fried. It sat on a serving of spaghetti in a spicy tomato and pepperoni sauce. It made for a large plate of food and, in truth, I think I’d been happier with the penne picante which seems to be the same sauce but without chicken. Good job I’d brought an appetite to the table.

Tiramisu was a disappointing dessert. I suppose I regard it as a “gold standard” sort of dish. I’ve had excellent ones and I’ve had poor ones. I’m always going to order it in a new place – just to see how it is. Well, this one was very average. Sweet and creamy definitely. But that was as far as it went. I couldn’t detect any of the hit from coffee and booze that you expect in a good version.

So, this was an OK meal. Not one to order from again, though. There are a couple of other Italian places that deliver to our address. And the food at both is better than Amici.

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“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold