Restaurant review - Sugo, Altrincham
PUBLISHED: 17:00 18 October 2016
Feel the warmth of southern Italy in the power-packed flavours created at Altrincham's Sugo pasta kitchen, writes Janet Reeder.
Sugo is the kind of restaurant we should have in every neighbourhood. With just four communal tables in a space the size of the average kitchen it’s not flash or fine-dining but if you’re looking to experience sensational Southern Italian-inspired food in a setting reminiscent of an ‘intriguing little place’ in Puglia, this is it.
Having never been before, I didn’t realise that the menus chalked up on wall mounted blackboards are what’s on offer that day, same too with the wine list. I took a picture of them on my phone to save craning my neck over the lunchtime dining crowd who were already making this feel like I’d hopped on a plane to a European hotspot.
Add to this a view across to the alfresco diners who were feasting on pizza from the Honest Crust across at Altrincham market house and we were definitely having a ‘holiday at home’.
(Incidentally, Sugo’s Alex De Martis and Jonny Marcogliese came up with the idea for Sugo when working at that very pizza place).
There was a choice of three ‘primi’ so I ordered burrata con caponata Siciliana, £10 - boo hoo the burrata, a creamier younger version of mozzarella had already gone but I was offered bread and olive oil with the caponata which is a Sicilian style aubergine stew. Sugo’s version looks beautiful, presented on a pretty turquoise and white artisan pottery plate. The flavours are intense. Sweet caramelised onion and celery, deep warmth from fire roasted pepper puree and a sweet hit from raisins with crunch from pine nuts and ciabata crisps.
We also has sarde ripienee. Plump fresh sardines butterflied stuffed with herbs and pine nuts, sun dried tomatoes anchovies and served with radicchio and fennel raisins, pine nuts and chilli.
Everything is cooked to order but we didn’t have to wait too long for our pasta courses - the restaurant has a 90-minute turnaround time - chosen from a list of five mains.
The tagielini con lardo e cipolline, £13, has the look of a light seafood broth when in fact it is pasta with a sauce of cured pork saddle fat in a chicken stock broth flavoured with leeks, spring onion and Parmesan. The sort of thing muscley winemakers might have for lunch after a morning in the vineyard.
Strozzapreti con pomodoro fresco, zuccini e ricotta, £11 is a kind of wiggly-looking pasta coating an incredibly intense rich tomato sauce, sweet, courgette and a delightful hit of chilli. Really, both cooking and presentation are exceptional and front of house can’t do enough for you. At one point my paper napkin dropped to the floor and I was immediately presented with a fresh one.
We drank a zesty Gavi di Gavi, £34 and for dessert shared a heavenly dark chocolate pannacotta, £6 that was like the richest most unctuously chocolate mousse you’ll ever taste.
Sugo ain’t cheap and it’s hard to get a table at the weekends but the food and ambiance are terrific. Plus they are just about to open a new Italian sandwich shop and deli a couple of doors down from the restaurant, which judging from the restaurant is sure to be a huge hit.
Sugo, 22 Shaw’s Road, Altrincham, WA14 1QU. 0161 929 7706