Don Giovanni’s

Winter is coming…

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…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.

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A comfortable, cosy, safe haven away from greying streets of Manchester.

An old favourite, and an institution in our fair city; Don Giovanni’s.

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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.

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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!

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The menu is vast with satisfying somethings for everyone; if you’re feeling indecisive, I recommend having a little bit of everything…

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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.

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Garlic Bread with Tomato and Mozzarella

A classic; loaded with drippy, molten cheese and sweet tomato passata with a pillowy-soft crust.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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…

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Oh! And the Panna Cotta (when in Rome after all).

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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!

 

 

 

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