Wednesday, 4 March 2020

Manteca, London pasta and nose to tail restaurant review

David Carter, the guy who founded London’s brilliant barbecue joint Smokestak, has teamed up with Chris Leach (formerly of Pitt Cue and Kitty Fisher’s) to open Manteca, a nose to tail meat and hand-rolled pasta restaurant in Soho.

If all of these things sounds like your kind of restaurant, then I can guarantee you this will be your kind of restaurant.

Their buzzy dining room is packed with tables cheek to cheek. Whilst there are no labels on the menu of starters, mains and puds, you can still fashion yourselves a traditional three course dinner. 

Focaccia (£2.50) was crisp, beautifully soft, slightly elastic and rich with olive oil, salt and rosemary.

House made mortadella (£5.50) cleverly straddled the pate-sausage divide. Light and soft, it melted in the mouth with a porky, garlicky, peppery twang. 

A coarse snappy skinned pork sausage (£7) was fragranced with fennel and accompanied by sweet, tangy and warming stewed grapes with mustard. 

"Pink fir potatoes" (£7.50) were so much more than their menu description. Rugged and super-crisp of skin and tender of interior, they were essentially deep-fried smashed new potatoes. They were accompanied by a light, creamy, smokey, fishy and salty whipped cods roe. 

Dinner was already brilliant but things went up another notch with our mains.

Thin-cased yet al dente agnolloti (£9) were stuffed with sausage meat and bathed in a deceptively rich sauce of butter, parmesan and toasted hazelnuts. Mrs G declared it one of the best pastas she'd ever eaten. 

I thought my dish was even better. Slippery tonarelli fronds (£8.50) were bathed an a silky, peppery, cheesy sauce with a gorgeous note of rich brown crab. 

Dessert was rather reminiscent of a superb pudding we ate at Smokestak. A ludicrously soft and squidgy yet still light date and prune pudding (£6) was bathed in salted caramel sauce. An airy, milky and potently gingery gelato did an admirable job of balancing the dish's richness. 

We had a fabulous meal at Manteca. This is exactly the kind of comfort food I love to eat and our bill for two including service and sans booze was £50. Its a reminder that you can have some top drawer cheap eats in the Big Smoke.

The Details:

Address - Manteca, 58-59 Great Marlborough St, Soho, London W1F 7JY
Web -
Telephone - 020 3827 9740

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