Gino D’Acampo My Pizza & Prosecco Bar, 100 Corporation Street Floor 2, Arndale, Manchester, M4 3AJ – Visit Now
We’re here for a special evening at Gino D’Acampo’s Pizza & Prosecco Bar. A four-course meal, paired with Italian wine, and featuring a guest appearance from Gino himself. The space is lovely, bright and crisp with huge windows, and upbeat giddy staff who are almost as excited about their big boss’s upcoming appearance as the guests.
We begin with a plate of cured meats, all high-quality bresaola, salami, parma ham, plus olives, artichokes and buffalo mozzarella. It’s a substantial platter but proves irresistible, particularly when matched with a glass of prosecco. The vegetarian alternative is equally good, big thick fluffy blobs of mozzarella cheese, contrasting well with the tangy tomatoes and well-dressed salad leaves.
Then the first course proper, a king prawn, asparagus and pea risotto. It’s a delight. Thick chunky prawns jutting out of a smooth-tasting gentle bowl of subtly-flavoured creamy rice – it’s an ideal starter.
Meanwhile, throughout all this Gino is parading around the restaurant, happily answering questions from the diners and posing for selfies without a care in the world. In fact, his carefree attitude goes a little far at times, when he starts cracking wise about Gordon Ramsay’s genitals and making eyebrow-raising x-rated jokes with ageing guests – who, to their credit, lap it up happily, laughing it off with a sense of “That’s our Gino!”
My decidedly-demure companion, who wasn’t aware of Gino’s public persona, was a little more taken aback, declaring “Well, the risotto was nice, shame about the knob gags.”
Cheeky chatter over, it’s time for the duck course. Crispy duck, served with green beans, roast crushed potatoes and a truly wonderful cherry and red wine sauce – so good you’ll want to drink it. Thankfully you don’t need to, this is paired with a glass of Castelvecchio Piemonte, a beautiful red wine from the foot of the Alps. The vegetarian option is a rich, cheese-heavy cannelloni that’s undeniably artery-clogging but utterly delicious.
Finally, a choice between a fluffy tiramisu – the ultimate Italian dessert, or a chilled Catalan style creme brulee that comes with a cookie wedged into the sticky crispy layer of crisp caramelised sugar. Both excellent, and both a prime example of Gino’s superb skills when it comes to high-end Italian cooking. His skills as a stand-up? The jury’s out.