Winter is coming…
…Okay, granted not for another 3 weeks officially; but there’s no mistaking that the weather has taken a turn for the grim in more recent days.
Gone are the brisk chills which gently rock the golden yellows and rich red trees; and in the blink of an eye, the fiercely warm colours of Autumn fall victim to the perishing winds, leaving only a skeleton of summer behind.
But I know a place that’s holding on to the warmth.
A comfortable, cosy, safe haven away from greying streets of Manchester.
An old favourite, and an institution in our fair city; Don Giovanni’s.
Launching their Christmas Menu on December 1st, I was thrilled to be asked to attend to try out their new party menu ahead of the official festivities.
Starting with cocktails.
The Venice; a delicious drink all year round, but exceptionally apt this time of year.
A gorgeous, red-jewelled tipple, frosted like winter with a sweet, rich kiss.
If this is your first time at Don Giovanni’s, I recommend you go hungry. Don G’s are not only experts in Italian cooking, but pride themselves in Italian hospitality, which means piled-high portions which would make any Nonna proud!
The menu is vast with satisfying somethings for everyone; if you’re feeling indecisive, I recommend having a little bit of everything…
Bruschetta al Pomodoro
Crunchy, bites of bread soaked with liberal drizzles of olive oil, topped with onions, garlic, cherry vine tomatoes and splattered with pesto.
Garlic Bread with Tomato and Mozzarella
A classic; loaded with drippy, molten cheese and sweet tomato passata with a pillowy-soft crust.
Frittura Mista (not actually on the Christmas menu, but Don Giovanni’s are more than happy to oblige – there are no Scrooges here!)
Crispy-coated whitebait, calamari and juicy king prawns. Sensational when dunked in the creamy pool of snow-white aioli.
For mains, we danced between classic Italian fare and traditional British comfort.
Normally quite adverse to eating a Christmas Dinner ANYWHERE but my mother’s kitchen (where the Turkey is massaged in butter and the screams that I’m not stirring the gravy quick enough come for free), I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of this particular roast.
The turkey, despite being breast (not my favourite part of a bird), was soft and tender, its rich taste helped marvellously by the thick gravy which coated the delicate slices of meat and juicy bites of chipolata sausage. The stuffing added a humbling herby flavour to every forkful while the carrots added a satisfying crunch – a plateful full of festive cheer.
The Risotto Al Funghi is served by the trough-ful, and is powdered with parmesan, scattered generously until the oozy dish is blanketed by snowy-peaks.
Rich, sumptuous and deeply comforting; it’s a classic dish that never fails to warm even the coldest of hearts.
Whilst by now I imagine you’ll be feeling impossibly full – I urge you to make room for pudding.
More specifically the Millefeuille…
Oh! And the Panna Cotta (when in Rome after all).
A homemade cream and vanilla infusion; it’s slowly cooked until silky, smooth perfection. Topped with a winter berry compote, it’s simply the sweetest way to end your eve.
If you’re looking for a place to escape the cold and crowds, I insist you pop into Don Giovanni’s to put a little warmth back in your belly.
Their festive menu is available from Friday the 1st – I dined on their Party Menu priced at £32.95pp. Book ahead and get a head start on your holiday cheer, tis’ the season after all!