Rosso is manchester restaurant royalty – but does the menu justify the princely prices – manchester evening news chicken barbecue recipe filipino style

Standing tall at the top of king street, it was opened by former manchester united footballer rio ferdinand and is often frequented by his celebrity mates or the latest bunch of reality TV hopefuls. It also draws in much of the local business community and after work drinks brigade.

It’s become the grand dining room to manchester’s powerful city-types, a place to see celebs and to be seen as much as close deals and grease wheels.

Step inside, and rosso’s facade of high brow exclusivity gives way to flirty frivolity at the first sight of a pornstar martini. It’s the kind of place where dancing on the banquettes wouldn’t be amiss after one too many dom perignons, as the late AA gill once famously pointed out.Some people

This is what rosso is famous for – and it’s a reputation that’s served it well so far. Whether it’s an anniversary dinner or big weekend, for many people rosso is the first port of call.

But it does divide opinion. For some people, it might sound like your dream night, for others, it’s a fate worse than prezzo, fairly or unfairly.

Regardless, what you don’t always hear about is the food, which often takes a back seat in the veritable stretch hummer of PR whirl surrounding this place – and that’s what I’m here for.

But it’s a year into the fit-out, and the restaurant has started to lose some of its shine. The thin veneer of the banquettes has worn from white to brown from repetitive wear.King street

Any misgivings in the decor are salvaged by the room’s timeless original features – the walls with more marble than a prime cut of wagyu, and huge dominating pillars punctuating the dining tables.

I haven’t mentioned that this is an italian restaurant yet, and to be honest, most of the tables tonight don’t seem too concerned about that either. Steak and chips is the most popular dish here.

I didn’t order the steak, a decision I’ve regretted ever since the waiter set down a bowl of venison meatballs, sat in a tomato sauce which lacked depth on limp pappardelle pasta (£16). Sweet scallops (£16) served in the shell with cherry tomatoes are devoured, but they’re in need of some bread to mop up that chilli butter sauce, and a beef tartare (£17) lacks seasoning.Some people

The best part of dinner is the wine. The waiter lights up when recommending a glass of primitivo (£12 for a large), and it’s the one thing we agree is delicious.

A look at the extensive wine list – which does offer a range of prices from budget (£26) to baller (£2,000) – it’s clear that it’s been curated by someone who gives a hoot. It’s just a shame that the food doesn‘t fit into the grand scheme.

Overall, the scran isn’t going to win any awards; it feels like they’re playing it a little too safe with the menu. But with those prices, rosso is pitching itself against some of manchester’s best restaurants, and in all honesty – when it comes to the food – it doesn’t really close.King street

For some people, that won’t matter – there’s nothing too offensive in there, and anyway, it’s the reputation surrounding rosso which is the real draw. If popularity is anything to go by, rosso won’t need to shake up its menu anytime soon.

In some ways, rosso’s success is linked with that of manchester. This city – with an economy predicted to grow faster than anywhere else in britain – is on a high, and has a growing population of power-hungry workers who want to flash the cash. Rosso doesn’t just offer a night out, it offers a status symbol to those who want it.

Even the location – perched on the crown of a sloped king street – feeds the diners’ sense of success, as they look down on the city’s most upmarket shopping thoroughfare.Food doesn

As it proclaims on its twitter page, it is ‘manchester’s place to be’ – and for the time being at least, rosso is still owning the king street stretch. Just.