‘A Sunday Well Spent’ with Gino
Sundays. With the rush of the week finally over, Sundays are for relaxing and spending time with the people you love. Sundays conjure up thoughts of bubble baths and lazy mornings, late lunches and walks in the countryside. What better way to spend your Sunday this August than with a night away at INNSiDE Manchester, at their First Street Bar & Kitchen restaurant! We spent one luxurious Sunday tasting the menu, created by the Gino D’Acampo team.
Situated right next to HOME, INNSiDE has the kind of buzzy atmosphere you get in a West End restaurant after showtime. An Instagram-ready display of twinkling lights and flowers welcomes you to First Street: inside we were sat in plush velvet half-booths, creating pockets of intimate couples amongst the tables.
The restaurant definitely has a couple feel. Currently, INNSiDE is running a package called ‘A Sunday Well Spent’ which includes a twin or standard room at the hotel, complimentary breakfast, a bottle of wine and £75 to spend in the restaurant. First Street has succeeded in creating an ambience that leans into being romantic, without going overboard.
Our hopes were high for the food, having heard good things about other D’Acampo restaurants in Liverpool, Newcastle and elsewhere in Manchester. The menu is varied and pays homage to Italy’s culinary depths: on land and in the sea. We started with a crisp bottle of organic Pinot Blanc, a light and citrusy choice which our server had kindly ordered to pair with our meal.
A restaurant is only as good as its classics, so we ordered tomato bruschetta and calamari to start.
The crispy bruschetta came covered with jewelled red and yellow tomatoes, and was both garlicky and fresh. Calamari can sometimes become soft and sad looking somewhere between the kitchen and your plate, so it was refreshing to see it done right here. Moreish and crunchy, the calamari was paired with strips of gently salted battered courgette. We also tucked into some truffle fries, which were covered in shaves of parmesan. No need to go all the way to Italy with food like this so close!
Our mains strayed away from the core of the menu which is a section of tempting looking steak. For those looking to go all out, the fillet steak looks particularly appealing. This time though, I tried the spinach and ricotta tortellini which came arranged in exquisite green parcels that were reminiscent of roses.
Creamy, soft, and covered in crunchy pine nuts, this was the best pasta I’ve had in a long time. We also enjoyed the Italian style burger, although the presentation style seemed unnecessarily deconstructed. Once we’d put it back together again though, it made for a flavoursome and tender take on a classic.
By this time, we felt close to that state of well-fed slumber. We enjoyed the chocolate fondant pudding recommended to us by our server, which is definitely rich and indulgent enough that it’s wiser to split between two.
The meal came in just under the £75 mark, which is included in the package.
Full as we were, we (luckily) didn’t have far to go! The hotel room itself was open plan and modern, floor-length windows looking out onto the lights of the city. In the morning, we sampled the buffet breakfast which included pastries, a selection of cheeses, and all the essentials for a full English. All in all, this was certainly ‘A Sunday Well Spent’.
‘A Sunday Well Spent’ at INNSiDE Manchester by Melia runs all through August and is priced at £150 for two. First Street Bar & Kitchen is located on the ground floor of INNSiDE at 1 First St, Manchester, M15 4RP.