Rosso Restaurant and Bar – Manchester

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A week later, I was off on the plane again. This time, I was traveling alone, and it felt sort of weird. At least I was traveling to Manchester where people spoke English, so I wasn’t as worried about getting lost. My plane had delayed, so by the time I got into the city, it was already getting dark. I took a bus from the airport into the city and it took roughly an hour. Luckily, N somehow magically hopped on the same bus I was on, or else I’d probably have some trouble meeting up with them. After meeting up with S, they took me to Rosso Restaurant and Bar.

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The inside is really decked out and I would categorize it as fine-dining. I felt sort of shabby in my backpack and jeans, but they still let us in. It’s an Italian restaurant, and also offers a bar.

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They even had a wall full of pictures of celebrities who have dined here.

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Garlic Bread – Half Tomato, Half Cheese

The waiter suggested the Garlic Bread for us to share and start. When it came, we were sort of confused. Not exactly the garlic bread we were imagining. It was more like a pizza. You can choose tomato sauce or cheese, or half of each, which the latter we chose. The bread was really fluffy and surprisingly was really good. It was a bit plain though since it was only lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. To be honest, I couldn’t really taste any garlic taste to it. It tasted more like a pizza dough with cheese and tomato toppings.

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Risotto Al Funghi Selvatici – Arborio rice cooked with mixed wild mushrooms and fresh cream, finished with a drizzle of truffle oil

For our mains, we all went for pasta. However, their pastas come in two sizes. You can get it as a antipasti or the regular entree size. The waiter said that assuming we didn’t eat too much, the starter size would be enough to get us filled. The plates were definitely a starter size, but by the end of the meal, I was pretty full. I guess if you order an appetizer like bread, you’ll get filled up already. I chose the Risotto al Funghi Selvatici. The rice was cooked perfectly so it was al dente and the mix of mushrooms with cream was really good. It was topped with some Parmesan cheese. The menu says there’s truffle oil, but I didn’t really taste it. It must’ve been a small drizzle!

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Ravioli Con Melanzane – Fresh pasta parcels filled with aubergine, buffalo ricotta and mozzarella, cooked with cherry tomato and basil sauce

N got the Ravioli con Melanzane. There were only 4 or 5 raviolis, but because they were filled with cheese, she said she was quite full by the end. I tried a bit of it, and it was quite good! The sauce really made it tasty, and the pasta was really fresh.

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Gnocchi Al Gorgonzola E Noci – Potato gnocchi with blue cheese and walnuts

S got the Gnocchi al Gorgonzola e Noci. The gnocchi were made well so it wasn’t a bunch of sticky flour. I hate it when gnocchi just tastes like you’re eating dough. I did find the Gorgonzola to be a little powerful, since it’s a blue cheese. However, that’s just because I’m not a fan of blue cheese.

Overall, Rosso was a decent Italian restaurant. I think it would be a great place to have celebrations at, such as birthdays or holidays. The atmosphere is classy so it’s definitely not a casual dining restaurant. Prices were a little expensive, but I guess it would be reasonable when you take into account the whole ambiance. Also, everything in the UK is just expensive in general compared to Spain. The soaring pounds really make everything more expensive than it appears! Lastly, some of the waiters here were extremely friendly, but there was this one waitress who we found really rude. She would continually ask if we were done with our food and when we told her we’re still working on it, she would give us some attitude. Other than her, the other staff gave us good service. Also, a reminder that in the UK, you need to tip!

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Bits and Pieces of Venice

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City of water…If you guessed Venice, you’re correct! I don’t normally post pictures of myself, but I took so many pictures while traveling, I might as well share some of the scenery with you all! During our stay in Milan, we actually took a day trip to Venice by train. The train was pretty fast and we were there in less than 2 hours. Maybe even less! We decided on a one day trip, since we found that the hotels in Venice were extremely expensive! We basically had half the day to explore and hoped it would be enough. If you’re planning to go to Venice, I can assure you that a day trip is enough. The city is beautiful, but it’s honestly quite small. If you want to really take it slow, then a maximum of two days will give you enough time to literally explore the whole city. First off, we hadn’t done any research of this place. We were hoping there would be a tourist center where we could get some maps and such. Yea, there was a tourist booth, but all the maps cost money! We ended up wandering without a map and actually hit all the tourist spots! So no need to really buy a map…To be honest, I found Venice one of the most touristy cities I visited. I felt like everyone around me was a tourist, and I couldn’t really figure out if locals even lived here (well, of course they do). Plus, be warned that everything is expensive! They really know how to get the most out of us tourists…

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Spritz Veneziano

So we were warned ahead of time that food would be expensive, so we tried to settle at average looking cafes and restaurants. After exploring the city, we decided we would grab an early dinner since we would be on the train around dinner time. We walked back towards where we arrived by train as we remembered there were a line up of restaurants. At this point, it didn’t even matter if they were tourist traps – honestly the city was catered to tourists. During our exploration, we realized everyone was drinking this orange drink in a glass. They often came in a wine glass, and my sister insisted that we had to try this. According to her, it must be the drink all the locals drink here… Alright, after doing some research on it, I can tell you that it’s so popular here because the Spritz Veneziano is actually originated in Venice! A-ha. Anyways, it is a drink prepared with prosecco wine, which is an Italian white sparkling wine. It is then combined with a dash of a bitter liqueur such as Aperol, Campari, or in Venice, Select. It is then topped off with sparkling mineral water. Sometimes it is also garnished with a slice of orange or olive. Sadly, all three of us hated this drink. I guess it was the bitter liqueur that they used, that really turned us off. Even worse, was this drink cost a lot, and the three of us had each ordered one. Just when we thought it would be a delicious, fruity cocktail…

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Spaghetti with Clams in a White Wine Sauce

We had settled at this restaurant that had what was called a “tourist menu”. Now most of the restaurants in Venice basically have this. They also have something called a cover charge. Cover charge is essentially a charge per person for just sitting outside. Actually, I’m not sure if you need to pay a charge just for sitting. But we sat outside, and this was added to our bill. Not to mention that service was just terrible. And they expect you to tip here… Service like that really does not deserve any tip. Anyways, K and my sister order the tourist menu. If I remember correctly, it came with a salad, pasta and another dish, which I wish I could remember. This was their pasta dish which was Spaghetti with Clams in a White Wine Sauce. This was actually pretty good! It had a lot of clams and the pasta was cooked to al dente.

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Seafood Risotto

For myself, I ordered the Seafood Risotto, which was off the regular menu. I absolutely loved this. It was a bit pricey, but I think it was still under 20 euros. It was really good though! The rice was cooked to perfection, not too chewy and not too soft. The sauce was amazing. There were bits of clams and shrimps inside and it came with three more mussels. The seafood was surprisingly quite fresh. Not the freshest I’ve had, but quite decent! Loved this dish.

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And now let me show you some of the shops around the city! Venice is basically filled with narrow streets which are really pedestrian walking only. Every once in a while, you would see the canal, and then you would enter just a street with buildings on both sides. It’s almost like a maze. Along these streets, you will find shops from bakeries, to pasta shops to mask shops and etc. It’s extremely popular to see these shops that sell almond cookies and these gigantic meringues. If you’ve been to Macau in Asia, my friends told me that is what Venice really reminds them of.

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There are also tons of pasta shops! Well Italy is famous for pasta, so it’s no surprise. They claim they are handmade, and I was just drawn into their colours and detailed patterns. I love how they are shaped into Venice infrastructure, gondolas, hearts and much more! The colouring is also natural as they are made from vegetables or spices, which is pretty cool.

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More pasta! I thought these were pretty cool since it was curry flavoured. They also had some truffle flavoured ones. Mmm!

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And yea…we ended up getting some gelato again. This was amazing because it was pear flavoured! I love how the Italians use every fruit they can think of. Super refreshing. Underneath is a scoop of pistachio. I can never get enough of that.

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And my sister decided to buy one of those gigantic meringues. It’s literally the size of two fists put together. This one was pistachio flavoured. However, all we could taste was sugar. Well meringues are made of egg whites and sugar… It was so sweet that we both took a few bites and threw the rest out… You need ten people to finish this! It was pretty expensive too…

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And last but not least, I’ll finish this post with a picture of gondolas! I didn’t get a chance to take one since they are quite pricey and wasn’t worth it when we only had three people. Also note that these guys don’t actually sing… Thought it would be all romantic like in those movies…Nope! Oh well, Venice is still a beautiful city to visit! Jealous of anyone who is heading there! Next post: we head back home to Barcelona!

Portobello Ristorante

RISOTTO DI MARE
Italian Rice with Prawns, Squid, Sea Scallops, white wine, fresh herbs

COZZE ALLA MARINARA
Fresh mussels, steamed with butter garlic and white wine, touch of tomato sauce

FUNGO PORTOBELLO GRATINATO  Portobello mushroom stuffed with bread crumbs, fresh herbs  Served with roasted red pepper sauce
 Amaretto Di Saronno crème brulee

Torta di Nocciola

Hazelnut chocolate Cheese cake

Portobello Ristorante is said to be hidden gem in the neighbourhood when you have a look at the reviews online! So of course, I decided to go try it out! I had imagined it to be a very fancy restaurant, but it was actually quite family-oriented. It is apparently an Italian family owned restaurant and therefore, the food is quite authentic. Both the risotto and mussels were very delicious! It had great flavour. The portobello mushroom stuffed with bread crumbs was my favourite. I’m guessing this is their signature dish since the restaurant has the word portobello in its name! It was extremely moist and juicy, and crispy at the top. The hazelnut chocolate cheesecake and creme brulee were also exceptional! Definitely need to check this restaurant out! It’s casual, but the ambiance is lovely!

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