When Don Giovanni took over the kitchen at Mediterranean favourite Per Tutti last October, they turned a few heads with their classic Italian offering.
Now, with their kitchen takeover having drawn to a close, the multi-award winning team behind Manchester’s oldest Italian has moved into the 100 cover site permanently, revamping the restaurant with a £250K refurbishment and exchanging one Italian name for another.
Per Tutti (‘for all’) has become Cibo (pronounced chee-bo, an informal Italian word meaning ‘food’).
Drawing design inspiration from the southern Italian city of Naples, Cibo’s new cafe-style setting is defined by bright colours, luxuriant fabrics and eclectic details. Cibo has a younger, cooler feel to it, whilst retaining the stylish atmosphere of Don Gio’s.
It’s not just the interior that has changed. With the kitchen now under the management of head chef Salvatore Galdo, the old Italian classics have been exchanged for more exotic and experimental fare. With a strong focus on fish dishes and a straight-up pledge to stay away from the frozen stuff, he is set on breathing new life into Cibo’s kitchen.
We popped in to find out more.
What is your cheffing background?
I have been working for Don Giovanni for a year and a half, but prior to moving to England I’ve worked my whole life as a chef in Italy. My mother and my grandmother are both chefs, and my family have had their restaurant Casa De Campo by the sea in Abruzzo for 20 years now. Growing up living 5 minutes from the beach has definitely shaped my appreciation for these super fresh flavours and many of the fish dishes that will be appearing on Cibo’s a la carte are inspired by dishes from my home town.
What are the major changes in the pipeline?
First and foremost, where possible we will be using all-Italian products and cooking them in the proper Italian way – meaning more simply, like we do at home, with an emphasis on strong and full flavours. I want to recreate for the Manchester market the original taste of Italy like my grandma taught me to make.
This means we’ll be utilising a different style of cooking. No long prep, nothing will be pre-cooked and we won’t be using any frozen fish. I only want to work with fresh produce and to see minimal waste coming out of my kitchen. This means we’ll be sourcing wild vegetables and ingredients with maximum natural fresh flavours from our suppliers on a regular basis.
In terms of the restaurant’s new look, we have completely revamped and refreshed the old Per Tutti site with a £180k refurbishment. We’re drawing on the style of Naples for interior inspiration, so expect bright colours, luxurious wallpapers and high-end furnishings all-round.
Will Cibo specialise in a particular region of Italy?
I have taken inspiration from all over my country. For example, the carbonara comes from Rome and the veal Milanese is from Milan – however, many of the fish dishes have come from my home town. My aim with the new restaurant is to bring true Italian quality to Manchester, honouring the tradition of my family and of Italian cooking more generally, but bringing something a little more modern into the tradition, using different and non-traditional flavours such as lime, lemon and ginger to bring a freshness to my fish dishes.
So there will be a big focus on fish over meat?
Definitely. There will not be much meat on the menu, but what meat there is will be halal – first for our Muslim customers but also because I find that meat that is treated in this way is much tastier and more tender as a result of how it is drained of its blood. Often, when meat isn’t treated in this way, it’s tough and chewy and lacking in flavour and this is what I want to steer away from. Flavour is king here for us at Cibo.
Tell us about some of your specialist suppliers
We will be using a lot of Italian produce imported through our specialist suppliers, as a lot of the supplies I want to work with can’t be bought in England. We will also, however, be working with local suppliers too from the Manchester area to help support our local community of farmers.
Will you be making your own pasta?
We’ll be working with fresh pasta definitely. Some will be made at Don Giovanni and some will be bought in fresh, for now, as we’ve not got the space to make it ourselves in house at Cibo currently. I’ll be working with different pastas such paccheri, spaghettone, trofie – keeping it interesting, and offering a change-up from the basic Mancunian Italian fare.
Will Cibo have a speciality or a signature dish?
I intend for every dish to be special at Cibo. For me, when you cook, it’s like creating a picture. It’s to give life to what you cook and you want some emotion, even when you eat, otherwise your job becomes boring. I want to give love to the people, for them to feel it when they eat, this is what makes the job worthwhile to me.
Cibo is open to the public now with a 30% off food soft launch offer* available until the end of February if you make your booking online. Excludes set menus and breakfasts.