Described as Manchester’s “Hidden Gem” of Italian food, Salvi’s Cucina makes up one third of the restaurant’s presence in the city. Alongside Rosticceria, a quick-stop lunch-time delicatessen, and the corn exchange’s re-vamped Mozzarella bar, Salvi’s Cucina offers a rustic and warm dining experience quite like no other.
The combination of fresh southern Italian ingredients with warm, rustic family charm makes it easy to see why Salvi’s receives the praise it does. The emphasis on family and hospitality appears to be something of which the restaurant prizes itself. From the spills of conversation in the open kitchen to the jokes and chatter of the other diners, Salvi’s Cucina acts as somewhat of a culinary respite from the hectic and dysfunctional chaos of Deansgate and the rest of the city centre.
We struggled to find the restaurant at first as it was snugly nestled away between a derelict office block and a newsagents which was vividly illuminated with copious amounts of LEDs. To some, this could be seen as a deterrent, however for me, it only added to the experience. The fact that the spot doesn’t need glamorous neighbours to draw in customers gave off yet another impression of humility.
Enough setting the scene, time to talk about what I ultimately visited for, the food. After being greeted and seated we were handed their rich yet modest menu. We opted for the meat and cheese board to start which came presenting an array of mouthwatering delicacies. Now don’t get me wrong, I am carnivore in every sense of the word, however this was the first time I can happily say that the meat came in second best. Of course I was over the moon with the mortadella, proscuitto and fennel salami but the real show-stopper was their home made Bufala mozzarella. The starter included both a smoked and un-smoked version which was made fresh on the premises that day. Accompanied with a wedge of Parmigiano Reggiano this was a starter fit for a king, and a large one at that.
For my main I opted for the special of the day, squid ink ravioli packed with fresh ground scallops. The bed of ravioli lay under a scattering of shellfish, fresh tomato sauce and chopped fresh parsley. After my starter I was happy to see the main course was not matching in size. Although full, the dish went down a treat. For me, the tomato sauce really helped to balance the flavours of the seafood on this dish, a dish that at first could appear as somewhat overpowering.
All in all the experience was great and gave me something that I could take away with it. For me, the Cucina is a place which offers fantastic food and experience without boasting about it. It’s discreet location and warm atmosphere makes it all the more unique. The perfect place to stumble across on a freezing afternoon in Manchester.