ancoats

Sugo Pasta Kitchen, Manchester

We were a little tipsy by the time we reached Sugo Pasta Kitchen. I know this because my bank statement tells me so. That one drink we intended to have in Wolf At The Door turned into five apiece, and we sauntered down to the road to Ancoats via a plant shop for a hanging plant we don’t need and a record shop for vinyl to be played on a record player we don’t yet own. This isn’t a bad thing; morning drinking is great fun at the best of times. It happens to be even better when you’re in the best bar in the Northern Quarter, requesting off-menu equal pours of strawberry daiquiri and pina colada to make a Miami Vice – the world’s second greatest drink. Ordering the first – the Negroni, of course – is the first thing I do when I get to Sugo.

So forgive me if the details of this lunch are glazed, or if I approach this with an air of reminiscence that adds a saccharine taste over my usual bitterness. Sugo had been on our radar for an age, and it pretty much ticked the boxes in the flesh. We get sat on a communal table with a young couple and their baby, a scenerio that we are far happier about than they are. We could have ordered starters, but when you call yourself a pasta kitchen it’s important to test the fundamentals out. We order three pasta dishes between two, an order which was at least one and a half bowls of pasta too many.

The food is comforting and rustic and basically everything that you want from a bowl of pasta. There is orrechiettie with a loose ragu of beef, pork, and ‘nduja that nestles in the pasta indentations, and it’s longer sibling, strascinati, with sausage that pops with anise, porcini, and thyme. Two huge bowls of pasta that work because the flavours coming off them are as big as the bowl they rest in. The only time it slips is their take on the classic pomodoro. The tomato and basil sauce gets watered down by the cream heavy burratta. It’s nice, but the choice if cheese is misplaced: often burrata is a welcome upgrade to mozzarella. Not here.

Service is swift and we’re in and out within 45 minutes £70 lighter than when we arrived. I appreciate that from your perspective it would have been nice to have read what the starters are like, or how boozy the tiramasu is, but frankly we came here to eat pasta and that we did. It’s no great secret that Birmingham is short of great pasta options; Laghi’s and Legna aside there is nowhere else that I could reccomend. Sugo seems a perfect fit to a burgeoning Brum restaurant scene. I would love to see them here.

8/10