King Street in Manchester is known for its designer shops and stylish bars and sitting at the top of this chic street is Rosso – an Italian bar and restaurant which arrived with great fanfare to Manchester back in 2009. Set within a beautiful, grand building, you could be forgiven with feeling a bit overwhelmed if this is not your usual end of town. Perhaps best known for being part-owned by Manchester United's Rio Ferdinand, we were worried that the highlight of the meal would be spotting a local celebrity but there was only one way to find out...
Inside, we were greeted with an imposing venue with high vaulted ceilings and Roman-style architecture, the setting looks great. A large fireplace and marble topped bar take up a large proportion of the room making it an ideal place for after work drinks or resting your feet after a long day of shopping. The rest of Rosso is a dining area separated into two levels with snug booths and red and black furniture as a nod to the venues owner. The higher level has a glass partition suggesting a private area for maybe some of its more well-known clientele.
The Clientele and Atmosphere
We arrived early evening on a Wednesday, and the bar was busy with people having an afterwork drink, couples on dates and small groups of friends catching up. We were greeted by a welcoming hostess at the door and the bar staff were attentive and friendly. With an early evening special of five cocktails for £5 on the menu we decided to opt for these – that arrived with great flourish and a taste which defied their low price – gorgeous. The music was relaxed swing, and most evenings, customers are treated to live music from a host of different talents, making no two visits the same.
Food & Drinks
With a huge selection of classics, along with a noticeably original cocktail list, a good cocktail menu isn’t an afterthought in this City Centre venue. Pleasantly surprised by the price point, we managed to work our way through a few before choosing from the generous wine list. We chose from the A La Carte menu – I opted for Baked Mushrooms filled with pistachio and blue cheese mousse and my friend got the Bruschetta Caprese. For main course I tried a classic pizza while my notoriously picky French partner ordered steak. While fairly simple dishes our response was positive – a perfect balance of flavours, well-presented and well-cooked. Portions throughout the meal were enormous and bursting with flavour, however undeterred we ordered dessert. After an Italian carb fest we had just demolished, the Crème Brullee was fantastic with a perfect crunchy top and sweet subtle flavours followed by a small nibble at the cheese board… far too much for our stomachs to bear.
Though advertised as a celebrity haunt (which it is – we spotted two separate TV stars while tucking into our dinner) this restaurant over-delivered to us in terms of service and food. Rosso is a great place to splash the cash for a special occasion, it also offers a reasonably priced lunch menu and we will be certainly popping in for a lavish after work cocktail (and at cheaper than most bars, why not?!) With a certain sense of occasion added by the live music, it’s certainly something a little different, which is a speciality for this Manchester venue – a definite must-try for any Mancunian.