Vero Moderno has been Salford’s hidden gem for quite some time now.
The cosy neighbourhood restaurant opened in 2016, and was soon included in a list of “three of the best modern Italian restaurants” in The Sunday Times. Reviewer Lisa Markwell wrote that it “has quickly earned a reputation as a serious Italian”. In 2017, it was awarded an entry in The Good Food Guide.
For five years, however, this top independent restaurant has perhaps gone under the radar for most city-centre favouring foodies.
But if you’re prepared to stray over the Irwell from Spinningfields into Salford’s newly regenerated Chapel Street district these days, you’ll be rewarded with an ever-growing community of fantastic restaurants, bars and cafes.
And it’s an area that looks set to expand and develop rapidly over the coming months and years.
Beppe, the enthusiastic and ever welcoming owner of Vero Moderno who hails originally from Rome, chose the area to open his first restaurant after successfully managing operations for a number of successful Northern Quarter and Didsbury based eateries.
And the menu is full of surprises.
Seeking to offer something different from the plethora of Italian restaurants dotted across Manchester, Beppe has opted to lose the lasagne, catapult the carbonara and bin the spag bol in favour of a truly authentic, yet modern Italian dining experience.
As well as an excellent selection of Roman-style thin-crust pizzas – which Beppe happily informs us are made using their signature 72hr proven dough recipe – you will find a varied selection of pastas and dishes influenced by every corner of culinary Italy, delivered with Vero’s trademark modern twists and tweaks.
Some of the most popular dishes at the friendly neighbourhood restaurant include gamberoni al cartoccio (juicy king prawns in white wine, chilli and garlic), and slow-cooked lamb ragu with fresh egg pappardelle pasta ribbons.
The lamb shoulder for the ragu is cooked slowly over several hours with white wine and mushrooms, with more wine added as it cooks down for a hearty, nourishing hug in a bowl.
Other favourites include orecchiette pasta with rich Italian sausage in a light aubergine sauce with datterino tomato, a succulent 12oz Denver steak (also known as the butcher’s cut), and a classic pizza rustica topped with creamy mozzarella, rocket, cherry tomatoes, Parma ham and Parmesan shavings.
There’s also fresh homemade ravioli, with fillings which change regularly, as well as a range of specials that might include anything from scialatielli with wild mussels in a spicy cannellini bean veloute to fragrant homemade black squid ink gnocchi with fresh cod and lime.
There are Italian style Sundays roasts, too. Every Sunday from 12pm you’ll find slow roast lamb belly, stuffed porchetta (pork) and roast chicken, served up with garlic and rosemary potatoes, seasonal vegetables and proper gravy made with the cooking juices.
And from 10th November there will be lots more great value offers too, including pizza, pasta or panini and a drink for £9.95 at lunchtime (Tuesday to Friday 12pm-4pm); a Wednesday pizza and drink deal (two pizzas and a bottle of wine or Prosecco or four beers for £30, available from 5pm); and a brunch Italiano on Saturdays with an Italian street food menu offering three dishes and three drinks for £24.95 (includes beer, wine, cocktails and Prosecco).
Vero Moderno also offers an extensive house cocktail menu, full of authentic Italian flavours with a twist.
A Margarita Siciliana blends tequila, amaro averna and pink grapefruit; Little Italy mixes bourbon with vermouth, rhubarb and zesty orange; and a Montenegroni uses aromatic orange infused gin for a new take on the classic.
Well worth seeking out, Vero Moderno could well become your new favourite Italian.
Find Vero Moderno at Unit 4 Vimto Gardens, Chapel Street, Salford M3 5JF, and check out their Instagram for the latest foodie pics.