Walking into the Pesto restaurant in the Trafford Centre in Manchester, Heather and I were met by the yellow and terracotta, Italian inspired décor, getting us fully in the mood for our lunchtime feast. After a good work out session in the gym, we were prepared to try lots of delicious taste sensations , all served in the form of Italian tapas.
Located on the top deck of The Orient, well placed in the corner nearest the main doors, Pesto Restaurant is light and airy and you can quite easily forget you are actually sitting in the middle of the bustling Trafford Centre.
Sat in one of the very comfy booths, we had plenty of table space – something we definitely needed! After perusing the very extensive main menu, we decided the lunchtime menu, offering 3 tapas dishes for £7.95 was perfect and made our choices much easier. To start we had the antipasti (£8.95 the perfect sharing platter) served on a board, the spread was delicious, with cold Italian meats, fresh bread, cheese, olives and the rather delicious tomato tapenade. For the main course we plumped for… Polenta fritta (Italian polenta, cut into chips and deep fried – super yummy!), Gnocchi, Bruschetta Mozzarella, Ali di pollo al forno (Chicken wings Tuscan style), Polpette di manzo (Spicy beef meatballs) and Calamari Fritti (deep fried Calamari).
There was so much food it was difficult to know where to start. You would assume that 3 small dishes each would be perfect… in fact 3 dishes between Heather and myself, with the antipasti to start would have been more than adequate. We were stuffed, though in our defence, we had had a good work out session at the gym and therefore made room for our very yummy feast.
The Polenta fritta is a stunning dish – cut into chip shapes, deep fried and stacked up, I do not think I care to know the calorie content. Though Heather and I did agree the next time we go in we shall order two portions! The Bruschetta, was toasted to perfection, soft but not too soft that you struggled to keep hold. Polpette di manzo had to be done, I do prefer to have a meat dish and you cannot get meaty really… the meatballs simply crumbled away they were that tender and succulent. The Calamari, again cooked to perfection and not in the slightest rubbery… the mayonnaise accompaniment with slice of lemon added a little zing.
It is ridiculously hard to choose which dishes to enjoy, so I am especially glad for the slimmed down Lunch menu. The food is mouth watering and cooked to perfection. You would expect there would be something to pick out that we did not like, but there really is not. The chicken wings were spicier than expected… that literally is it. Did the added spice stop me from eating the wings? Not on your nelly!
To say we were stuffed was an understatement, yet the on draught cold Peroni helped to refresh our palates. Our very helpful and cheerful server, Simon was on hand to tend to our every need and seeing me chomping on wings, discreetly added more napkins to our table as he walked by our table. A life saver!
We were encouraged, despite our protestations to try the new to the menu Terzetto di Dolcetti – a trio of home-made miniature Italian desserts, which included a dark chocolate and orange liqueur torte, a smooth vanilla panna cotta and a tangy lemon torte. When placed in front of us, we couldn’t help but dive straight in… the tangy lemon torte (we may have previously called it a lemon cheesecake) was divine and left us both speechless whilst savouring every mouthful. Heather and I both agreed it was by far the best lemon cake we had ever had. Soft, creamy, zingy and ridiculously more-ish! Priced at £4.50 for the trio, it was the perfect sharing dessert to complement an already wonderful meal. Though if there had been 3 lemon torte on the plate, Heather would not have even had a look in!
The service was fantastic and nothing was too much trouble, the food was sublime and I could not recommend Pesto highly enough… huge thanks go to Nigel, Simon and Jo for looking after us and ensuring we were well fed and the chef too! No-one was rushed with their meal, all other patrons appeared to be enjoying their meal and the experience. Children were happy, parents relaxed and enjoying time away from the hustle and bustle of the Trafford Centre… it all made for a wonderful lunchtime dining experience.
The prices are very reasonably priced for the quantity and quality of the food – the lunchtime menu especially with 3 dishes for £7.95!
Would we go back again? We are already coordinating dates now… I guess we should pre-warn Pesto in order to ensure a good supply of Polenta! 🙂
* Our meal was gifted to us by the wonderful Pesto for the purpose of this review. All thoughts and opinions are mine and on this occasion were shared by Heather too!