Restaurants, Italian Central Manchester
4 out of 5 stars
4 out of 5 stars
(1user review)

The fifth outlet from the San Carlo stable, from Fumo you can expect plush interiors, brash but friendly service and great Italian small plates.

Fumo's chintzy interior may be what draws in the custom of footballers and Corrie stars, but here it's more so the food that deserves a song of praise. With a menu spanning breads and nibbles, fritto, carpaccio and tartare dishes, pasta, pizza, meat and fish, you're best off trying out something from each area to create a shareable spread of delicious Italian cicchetti-style dining.

The porcini pappardelle is a genuine feat (even if ours did come with a few rogue strands of spaghetti), with silky, al dente ribbons lapping up their rich, nutty sauce. Elsewhere on the menu highlights include the decently priced broad bean bruschetta, the delicate and delectable octopus salad and the Italian sausage served on a bed of plump beans.

The cocktail list is good, though at the time of launching there was a strong negroni menu courtesy of Manchester drinks maverick Jamie Jones, which seems to have been booted out by a baffling tiki menu as the summer months crept forward. 

Service is abrupt and not always as attentive as it perhaps should be, but is by no means unpleasant - if anything, the brash approach works well to break up the stuffiness of the plush space. Just don't be surprised if sometimes your dishes get forgotten or take forever to arrive, and for the smiley Italian response to simply be, 'It will come!'

Expect to pay £50-£60 for a meal for two including five to six small plates and a bottle of house plonk.

By: Jess Hardiman


Venue name: Fumo
Address: One St Peter's Square
St Peter's Square
M1 5AN
Static map showing venue location
1 person listening

Modern, massive, lit with what look like inverted fabric umbrellas and painted with a neutral & minimal colour palette, this place takes the idea of cosy Italian small plates and transforms it into a walk through the flavours of Italy. Actually scratch that – a menu the size of the one here makes it more of a marathon than anything else but in the best kind of way.

A chic marble bar runs the back length of the restaurant with a cocktail menu that spans the classic to the creative – the Manchester Tart is a winner for the sweet-toothed drinker and pays homage to the local custard & jam dessert by blending raspberry vodka, coconut water Bacardi, egg white & vanilla gomme. It’s utterly delicious if you like that sort of thing…which I do.

Food wise, your choices are plentiful – making this an ideal spot for group dinners – and cover everything from street food to fresh pasta to grilled meats. If you only listen to one thing I say here, make it this - spend your calories on the savoury dishes and avoid the puddings which are woefully disappointing when compared to the quality of the starters & mains.

Flying the flag for pasta and proving themselves absolute winners were the gorgonzola gnocchi in a Parmesan basket – oozy, comforting, crunchy, salty & moreish – and the Pecorino stuffed, truffle-cream-sauced ravioli.

Shell housed queen scallops, which came with a lemon, garlic & breadcrumb gratin topping, were soft, sweet & flawlessly cooked, hay baked lamb chops were tender and resplendent with the flavours of rosemary & thyme and arancini were as plump & squidgy as they should have been.

Cheese fans head straight for the fresh burrata served with Parma ham & truffle and if you insist upon throwing some vegetables on the table then please, make them the deep fried courgette batons which are crispy & tangy when doused with a squeeze of lemon.

Service is good – they’ll advise you if it seems you might be ordering too much, something I’ve yet to see as a problem myself – and although we were the last table to leave, we never felt rushed or in the way. The atmosphere is loud and buzzing – apparently the odds of seeing footballer or Hollyoaks starlets are pretty good – and it seems like the kind of place that will never be empty. On a cold night, it glowed warmly in the November darkness, beckoned us in, placed a loving-and-fragrant-with-cheese-and-garlic arm around our shoulders and made us feel very welcome indeed – what more could a gal ask for?