+
Restaurants & Bars

[Hale Barns, Greater Manchester] San Carlo Fiorentina

Harters | Aug 10, 201509:52 AM    

Whether it’s the city centre mothership or this suburban outpost, I’ve always reckoned San Carlo to be “footballers wives” territory. Well, the tally on this visit certainly included one Premier League footballer and one ex-manager of a Premier League club.

For one starter, three scallops, presented on the half shell, were dressed with a creamy, saffron & chilli sauce. Alongside, a couple of pieces of Melba toast provided a contrasting texture. I liked this quite a bit.

One of my all-time favourite Italian main courses is fegato alla Veneziana – thin strips of calves liver, flash cooked to medium rare, with a meltingly soft onion sauce. And the kitchen certainly knows how to do this well. It comes with polenta – a tiny slice that makes me glad I ordered some mixed veg, which included a couple of spuds. I didn’t want to be going away hungry.

For my partner, dinner was like the curate’s egg. A starter size portion of lasagne was spot on – well cooked pasta with a rich meaty sauce. The main course was OK but not really anything more. Sirloin steak with a rocket & Parmesan salad – I suppose a bit like a tagliata but you have to slice your own steak. Not an improvement on the original, not least as everything was underseasoned. Still you can always add salt, and the waiter was round with the gigantic pepper mill, even before you’ve tasted anything.

Her dessert was even less thrilling. A throw it together Eton mess affair of strawberries, meringue and cream. The berries had been left whole and, being a bit under ripe, were difficult to break up with a spoon.

On the other hand, my quest for the perfect tiramisu may be over. Too often, there’s skimping on ingredients and the expected hit from coffee and booze is missing, leading to you eating a bowl of “generic sweet”. Not here. Both booze and strong coffee are well in evidence, along with bitter chocolate. This may just be “the one”.

Neither of us like the service. Frankly it’s intrusive. Waiters, seemingly all genuine Italians, hover round the table. You’re very aware of them. And then they make their presence felt by randomly removing used items from the table. You’re sat there, enjoying your starter, and this arm comes whistling past your right ear to grab your empty aperitif glass. Nope, don’t like the service. But do like the food.

Want to stay up to date with this post? Sign Up Now ›

More from Chowhound

YouTube Star Gaz Oakley Promises Veganism Is Easier Than You'd Think
Table Talk Podcast

YouTube Star Gaz Oakley Promises Veganism Is Easier Than You'd Think

by Hana Asbrink | Welcome to Chowhound's Table Talk podcast, where Executive Editor Hana Asbrink chats with some of...

These Portuguese Tarts Are So Easy to Make—and Happen to Be Vegan
Food News

These Portuguese Tarts Are So Easy to Make—and Happen to Be Vegan

by Amy Schulman | Gaz Oakley wants to change your preconceived notions of veganism. His dishes, while meat- and dairy...

Check Out the 2020 James Beard Award Nominees
Food Trends

Check Out the 2020 James Beard Award Nominees

by David Watsky | The 2020 James Beard Award nominations for all chef and restaurant categories have been announced...

This Gooseberry Focaccia Is Perfect for Sour Snack Fans
Food News

This Gooseberry Focaccia Is Perfect for Sour Snack Fans

by Amy Schulman | According to food writer Mark Diacono’s new cookbook “Sour,” sour foods aren’t merely in the form...

Trending Discussions

1

May in NYC

Updated 5 hours ago
2

NYC Omakase

Updated 2 hours ago 6 comments
4

Jam, Canning and Preserving 2020

Updated 31 minutes ago 20 comments

Get fresh food news delivered to your inbox

Sign up for our newsletter to receive the latest tips, tricks, recipes and more, sent twice a week.