But still left me feeling a little underwhelmed. I admit, I’d expected a lot. The restaurant regularly hosts Jean Christophe Novelli, and won in the Italian Awards in 2015 and Best Newcomer in Les Routiers in 2016. So I wanted to be wowed.
It was good.
It just wasn’t ‘wow’.
So it’s been a while since I visited – but I still had people telling me how good it was, how much they enjoyed it. And that they’d just launched a new cocktail menu, and a new G&T menu.
It made me wonder. Perhaps it was just a bit of an off day?
Only one way to find out, right?
So we headed back. Of course, first stop was the bar and their new G&T menu. Copa glasses, well thought out garnishes – it’s definitely a step above what used to be on offer. In particular the Oceania with Scrapgrace gin, garnished with basil and orange is delicious – but everything we sampled was good. And the gin soaked apricots in the Manchester G&T ensure you get a nod towards your five a day.
Making the move to our table, we knew that as the menu selection is so large, making a decision was a challenge. So we asked for some dough balls to keep us going.
Light, fluffy, crisp and served with a pesto oil. You can’t complain about portion size at Don Giovanni’s – they are always generous and make the chains look stingy. Yes, you know whose doughball portions I’m talking about.
Mains starters and mains took some serious deliberation, fuelled by crispy dough, and almost swayed by the table next to us who had the antipasti platter that looked fabulous. But in the end, we went with separate dishes.
Mr GFB opted for the Frittura Mista – I had sampled this on my last visit, and was completely overwhelmed by the portion size. Mr GFB had a far more sensible head on, and opted for the smaller portion. Still tasty, still generous, but around half the size.
Taking a signal from the intense humidity outside, I went for something deliciously light.
The Insalata du Proscuitto e bufala was just heavenly, and again, a meal in itself. Peaches are one of my absolute favourite fruits, so these softly poached slices, with the crunch of walnuts, peppery rocket, salty ham and creamy mozzarella were in delicious company. I might just er, borrow this salad recipe for my lunches.
Onto mains and Mr GFB went lighter – but still meaty.
He chose the classic Saltimbocca alla Romana. Veal escalopes, with Parma ham, fresh sage and butter. OK, so it’s not light in flavour, but it was a far smaller plateful, and he felt a little more balanced foregoing any side dishes.
After a salad, I was feeling virtuous however so…
Linguine e Vongole. Sweet clams, just done pasta, and a fresh tomato sauce with a tickle of chilli heat. Just delicious – and again generous, with plenty of seafood.
Finally dessert. And a little sharing.
My original choice – potentially a dish of citrus heaven – was sadly off the menu. So instead, Mr GFB opted for the Crostata di pere – a soft almond and pear tart. Similar in flavour to frangipane, but lighter and softer in texture, it was a lovely finisher to our meal, alongside my digestivo cocktail.
I must admit Don Giovanni – I feel a little mean. My first review of you, must have been on an off day, because to be quite honest, this was just delicious. This visit was a step above, service, drinks and food.
And as a Canal St Card holder, I get a discount on dining with you. So, er, I’ll see you again very soon.
This meal and accompanying drinks were supplied for free by Don Giovanni’s. As ever, this doesn’t guarantee a positive review (if anything, I tend to be a harsher critic).
We were very impressed – particularly given my last review (also as an invitation). Genuinely pleased to have visited, and can see why it’s well loved. Til next time!