Picking your food is arguably the most important part of any meal out. The risk that you’ll end up regretting your choice and staring enviously at another dish hangs over your head, and the pressure grows with the size of the menu.
At Manchester’s Rosso, a friendly Italian restaurant that combines upscale food with a celebratory atmosphere, the menu is long and filled with beguiling dishes. Faced with this pressure, I fell back on classics that I know and love: tomato and mozarella salad, a seafood pasta and then tiramisu.
The first two courses were an unmitigated success. I tucked into a generous ball of creamy, salty bufala mozzarella speckled with lemon zest and ‘micro basil’, while The Brunette – to misquote AA Gill – enjoyed meltingly tender guancette (pig’s cheeks) with a rich prune sauce. We had both opted for seafood pasta main courses. My ravioli was filled with sweet crab meat, and just the right amount of ginger to enliven it without overpowering the crab; his linguine was covered in a myriad of seafood and a well-balanced lemon, garlic and chilli sauce.
Sadly, the meal began to falter at the final hurdle. We both opted for tiramisu which, while not unpleasant taste-wise, was a bit too moist, lacking the pleasing contrast of soft sponge and creamy marscarpone. It has long been my policy to judge any Italian restaurant primarily by its tiramisu, but Rosso left me questioning this dessert-based assessment scheme. The overall outcome of a pleasant time over good food was achieved, but a key measure of success had been missed. It was a salutary lesson in the difficulty of defining outcome metrics, though the finer points of the lesson have sadly been lost in the mists of wine.