There’s no skirting around it. Mondays in hospitality have become a bit dead. They are, in effect, the new Sunday – widely adopted as a day of rest after a busy weekend’s trade, a welcome opportunity to save some money on the quietest day of the week, or both.
That’s not the case at Ornella’s, though. This tiny Tameside pasta kitchen may have only opened just a few months ago but it’s completely overflowing when we visit, chancing our luck with a lunchtime walk-in (not the smartest move on my part, considering it’s a half-hour drive from town).
Having managed to sneak in early and snag the last free table, we wouldn’t recommend that you do the same. We soon overhear eager diners being politely turned away, despite the fact that It’s only ten past twelve. They’re already fully booked.
We’ve heard great things about this place – and when the food hits the table, we soon see why there’s such a clamour at the door. This unassuming little Denton cafe is, no shadow of a doubt, serving some of the best pasta dishes in Manchester.
Sicilian-born Ornella’s perfectly plump lobster ravioli is the star that draws us in, but it’s a butter-drenched crispy sage and hazelnut spinach ricotta ravioli that has me closing my eyes and murmuring sweet nothings.
Another bowl of carbonara bucatini has a similar effect, its fat ribbons are liberally doused in pepper and egg yolk, with crisp flecks of guanciale on top, all glistening in the sun. I think this might be pasta heaven.
We also order a few slabs of gorgeously fluffy, spongey focaccia as a vehicle to hoover up a creamy pot of hummus, a rich pool of olive oil swimming happily on its surface. Prior to opening her kitchen, Ornella was the head chef for Pollen, and it is clear she picked up a few tricks along the way.
There’s more to shout about here too, not least the satisfyingly smooth pearls of cantaloupe melon that come nestled inside very generous pockets of parma ham. The accompanying rocket, however, I mostly leave untouched.
As for the arancini – my god. Crunchy and crisp on the outside, but not greasy or oily in the slightest, it’s the most perfect specimen I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy, a gooey nduja and mozzarella center positively oozing and made even better by an accompanying hot honey dip.
There is pudding, too, in the guise of a classic tiramisu and traditional Sicilian gelato-filled brioche – another example of Ornella’s bread-making talents. They’ve run out of pistachio, and instead, offer vanilla with an added layer of fruit compote, a suggestion we gladly accept.
Unbelievably, my dining partner has already reached her limit after a few scoops of tiramisu so I valiantly soldier on, doing my best two eat two desserts at once. Sometimes this food reviewing lark really puts you to the test, let me tell you. It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it.
Inevitably, the last morsels of the soft, buttery brioche bun defeat me – but not before I mop up all the best bits. Simply put, food like this is too good to go to waste. It’s no wonder she’s so busy.
Feature image – The Manc Eats
Food & Drink
Hit Stockport sandwich shop Rack is opening a second cafe in Sale
Stockport’s favourite sandwich shop is coming to Sale, it has been revealed this week.
The small but mighty butty shop is expanding, as owners unveiled plans to open a new cafe and brunch spot inside a former barber’s shop in Sale.
Set to open on School Road later this year, the team will move into a characterful and quirky space in M33 following a full refurbishment.
With a hidden entrance down a side alley and then up a flight of exterior stairs, it might not be the easiest to find but – based on the calibre of butties coming out of their original shop – we know with certainty this will be worth seeking out.
Promising to keep it ‘all things sandwich’, just as they do at the original Stockport shop, on the Sale menu fans of things in bread will be as well catered to as ever with a dedicated grilled sandwich menu, plus staple breakfast butties and regular specials.
That’s not all, though. Given the increased size of the new space, the Rack team is also planning on introducing a new brunch menu – although details are currently being kept under wraps.
Sharing the news with fans online in a post that has been liked over 500 times, the Rack team wrote: “Huge Sandwich & Brunch Announcement.
“We’re opening a brand new sandwich and brunch spot on School Road in Sale M33! Taking over the space that once was a quirky first floor barber shop on the high street – The entrance is down the side alley and up the stairs, it’s got bags of character.
“Swipe to see how buzzing we were to start smashing walls down and see some of the progress. Keep your eyes peeled for progress pics and the menu drop – opening soon!
These are Manchester’s favourite takeaways, according to Deliveroo
When it comes to finding the best takeaways in our area, we don’t mess about – and neither does Deliveroo.
The original restaurant-quality food delivery service is celebrating eight years in Manchester this summer – and after nearly a decade of championing independent eateries, the team has noticed that when it comes to ordering in we Mancs are creatures of habit.
According to new insights published by the food couriers, Manchester locals can’t get enough of Salford’s sell-out smashed burgers, with the Burgerism Meal Deal being the most popular dish in the city.
Other top orders include Egg Fried Rice from Oodles and Margherita pizza from Rudy’s, followed by 8 Boneless Pieces from Wingstop and – last but not least – the OG Kebab from German Doner Kebab (GDK).
However, when it comes to local favourites, biryani, ice cream, and cookies all top the list of the most searched-for dishes in Manchester, with searches for biryani rising by 39% in the last two months.
Finding also discovered that Friday night at 7pm is the most popular time for Mancs to order on Deliveroo, with more orders being placed in central Manchester, Chorlton and Withington than any other neighbourhood.
Since its launch in Manchester eight years ago, more than 4,000 local restaurants have signed up to the platform.
Deliveroo has created work for more than 5,900 people in the city and surrounding areas, with the majority of these being the Deliveroo riders who deliver your food which is cooked fresh to order and brought to your door within 30 minutes.
Deliveroo has also remained committed to supporting local businesses in Manchester, with 60% per cent of its restaurant partners being local independent restaurants, creating new revenue streams for homegrown culinary talent.
Burgerism, Zumuku Sushi, and Proove Pizza are the top three small businesses that have been supported by Deliveroo over the past eight years.
Across these eight years, Deliveroo has become a city staple, with the top neighbourhood for restaurant orders being Central Manchester, whilst in second and third spots are Chorlton and Withington, respectively.
American cuisine has been a consistent favourite for all Manc orderers over recent years, alongside German, Mexican, Greek & Thai.
And that’s not all, Deliveroo data can also reveal Central Manchester is the neighbourhood that orders the most burgers, whilst Hulme is the city’s vegan capital, and residents in Salford can’t get enough of wings.
Daniel Soile, City Manager for Manchester, said: “Our whole team here at Deliveroo is delighted that our rapid growth in Manchester over the past eight years means that customers have more choice, restaurants are able to increase their revenue, and riders have the opportunity to choose well-paid, flexible work.”