[Sale, Greater Manchester] Perfect Match

There’s a couple of perfect matches at play here. Firstly, there’s the couple who own it. Jazz (her) is the chef. Andrea (him) runs front of house. Both do it excellently. Andrea is a trained sommelier and that brings me to the second perfect match. He brings his skill to bear to suggest a matching wine, by the glass, for each individual dish on the menu. It’s the sort of thing you’d see at a high end place offering a multi course tasting menu but, out in the suburbs at a neighbourhood restaurant, it’s a delight to find. Andrea is Italian and, whilst there are Italian influences on the menu, this is not an Italian restaurant.

Red pepper croquettes were as good as any you’ll find in Spain. Well flavoured béchamel mixed with the peppers, then breadcrumbed and fried to crisp. And they come with a very pokey aioli. The other starter was pasta (it can also be taken as a main course). Properly al dente trofie held the courgette cream sauce well and little bits of crispy guanciale provided a salty, meaty texture contrast. It was the best pasta dish I’ve eaten in ages.

Breast of lamb is also something you’re not going to come across too often in South Manchester restaurants. Here’s it’s very long cooked, the meat falling apart at the touch of a fork but the fat still sweet and slippery (yes, that is a good thing). It came with carrot batons, finished in lamb fat, carrot puree, a few sprigs of chervil and shitake mushrooms. All really nice, although the soy based pickling of the mushroom could have been more assertive (but I’m nit-picking here). Rump steak was 32 aged and comes from the Butchers Block in Poynton (from where our steaks for tomorrow’s dinner at home come from). Some real skill shown here by Jazz – cooked to medium yet still soft and tender meat – not what you expect from rump. The steak comes with roasted cherry tomatoes and fries. Jazz has worked at one of the London branches of steakhouse mini-chain Hawksmoor so perhaps not surprising that she knows her way around a bit of steak. She’s also nicked their idea of a side salad consisting of nothing more than dressed leaves of butterhead lettuce. The floppy leaves perfect for picking up the last of the red wine sauce.

We both went with the same dessert – peanut butter pie. It’s outstanding. Rich, yet not overly sweet. There’s a biscuit base and sides to the tart and a peanut butter cream filling – think a sort of tart version of cheesecake, for textures. It’s topped with candied peanuts and a drizzle of caramel sauce. Unsurprisingly, coffee was also very good.


Unlike our first visit here, last July, we found parking literally opposite the restaurant, which saved a schlep from the town centre car parks. The restaurant was busy for a midweek which may account for the relaxed speed with which food came out of the kitchen. But, when it arrived, it was as good as the last visit.

For one of us, there were grilled tiger prawns to start. Big, fat, juicy prawns simply grilled with a saffron aioli to dunk them in. No messing about. Dead straightforward. Dead good. For the other, well made rabbit rillettes which, I think, contained a bit of pork to keep it moist and perk up the mild flavour of the bunny. It came with a knockout prune chutney – sweet, rich, thick. And there’s slices of baguette to slather it all over.

For mains, we both went with pasta. Orecchiette comes perfectly al dente. It also comes as starter or main. And it also comes in vegetarian or omnivore version. That’ll be one of each please. The omnivore version comes with chunks of a flavoursome sausage, along with friariellli, Parmesan and just a background hint of chilli. In the veggie version, roasted red pepper replaces the sausage. Both are lovely and, being almost dry, have none of the sloppiness you often get with too much sauce in many restaurants. These were the best plates of pasta we’d eaten since………last time we were here.

Good dinner. Nice “date night”. Note to self: make sure you have dessert next time.