A couple of months ago, back when it was warm enough to sit outside out of choice, I was down at the rather brilliant Altrincham market trying to sample as much food as possible. Me and a pal were taking it in turns to order something to eat alongside another ale from the bar. I can wholeheartedly confirm there was more than enough to keep us occupied all afternoon. Anyway, we both spied an interesting looking place on the other side road called Sugo Pasta Kitchen, it turns out I’d stumbled on a bit of a hidden gem. Locals probably won’t thank me for sharing their little secret, but having been down there last week for dinner I’ve got to spill all.
Stepping inside it’s a rather cosy affair, there can’t be more than 4 or 5 tables in the place and they don’t take bookings, so be prepared to maybe wait your turn in a bar nearby, but it’s well worth it. Also bear in mind the menu changes by the day based on what they can get in fresh, you might not find the same dishes twice but then that’s all the more reason to return I suppose.
We kicked things off by sharing king prawns with sambuca and the ricotta bruschetta. The prawns were lip smackingly good. Juicy, tangy, bitter from lemon, potent from booze. Right slap bang at the top end of every flavour you could get away with. It’s a bit a of classic starter obviously, and to be honest I don’t think I’ve had them better. The bruschetta was also good, toasted sourdough and chilli ginger marmalade providing the foil for rich ricotta and salty ricotta salata. Washed down with a couple of Menabrea’s, a slightly malty Italian pilsner, I could already see the draw of this laid back restaurant that takes it’s food very seriously.
In between courses our waiter Luigi regaled us with tall tales and even a few recipes, don’t worry though guys, your stories are safe with me. For mains we chose first langoustines with squid ink linguine, which was flavoured with n’duja sausage, crab bisque, tomato and white wine. It was definitely one of those dishes that takes you straight back to a holiday, there’s nothing like seafood to do that, but let’s be honest it’s still a pretty impressive feat to conjure balmy beach evenings from just about anything akin Manchester in winter. The other dish felt altogether more hearty, slow cooked lamb shoulder with tuscan sausage and strozzapretti pasta was generously portioned with huge chunks of beatifully braised meat. It made a perfect match to the recommended glass of passimento rosso.
And that was that. The menu was short and sweet, indeed so short that there was no sweet, as the ingredients hadn’t been available to make anything fresh. We had an espersso and left very satisfied having found somewhere really worth writing home about. This isn’t just somewhere to check out if you’re in the area, it’s well worth making a trip for.