“ Address: The Great Hall / The Trafford Centre / Manchester M17 8AA / United kingdom „
Pesto's at the Trafford Centre in Manchester is a restaurant I've visited on two occasions. Both visits were fairly similar but my review will be based on our most recent visit last weekend.
Pesto's is a small chain, with most restaurants based in Northern England and Scotland, that serves Italian dishes in small portions, tapas style. If you've ever eaten at a La Tasca restaurant, it is a fairly similar experience but involving Italian food rather than Spanish. For our meal last week we paid £35 for two starters, 5 small dishes to share, a beer and a diet coke. Everything is priced individually but each main dish on average costs around £4 per serving, the bruschetta starters were also £4 per serving.
Arrival and Seating
When we visited it was a busy Friday night - the Trafford Centre was as busy as I've seen it. There were queues at a lot of restaurants but surprisingly not here. We were seated almost straight away and were given a table outside with having our little girl and pram. The seating is something that lets it down a little in terms of small children - there's not many tables that will cater for families with pushchairs but luckily a table was available that suited. The outside area isn't outside in the open air, but it's outside of the main restaurant and is a nice area to sit nevertheless. The atmosphere is relaxing although the tables are quite tightly packed together so I had to squeeze up to the table in order to let people pass!
Menu and Ordering
The ordering process is quite easy - it's waiter service and the lady that served us was very attentive, friendly and helpful. She took our order a few minutes after seating which I like because some places don't give you chance to look before wanting to take an order from you! The menu offers small pizzas, pasta dishes, meatballs, bruschetta and garlic bread, chicken dishes, beef dishes, fishcakes and salads so there is a good selection and something for everyone I would have thought. The titles of the foods are in Italian but there's an English description with each that I refer to as my Italian is not the best.....
We were asked if we wanted our starters as part of the main meal but we asked for them to be brought separately. We ordered the following: 2 portions of Bruschetta (starters) and chicken thighs with garlic, a large chicken skewer, spaghetti Bolognese, beef stew and potatoes and Penne Pasta with chicken in a creamy sauce (mains). We waited around fifteen minutes before the Bruschetta starters arrived and then halfway through these, the rest of the food came. Beforehand, we'd have probably preferred the main meal dishes to come after finishing the starters but it turned out to be a good thing as the Bruschettas complemented the rest of the meal. Bruschetta comes with goats cheese on but they were happy to not add it onto my bruschetta, so they accommodated our tastes.
All dishes were delicious. All were piping hot and considering we'd ordered so many different items I was impressed. All five main dishes were served at the same time - it didn't turn up in dribs and drabs. Once served, the waitress came over to offer parmesan which is a nice touch although this isn't left for you to help yourself (we never have it anyway so it doesn't matter to us). Then you can enjoy the meal - we were asked if everything was ok and then left alone. The spaghetti bolognese is a favourite of mine and my husband loves the chicken skewer so we help ourselves to what we like - I'll have a bit more of my favourite, he has a bit more of his and it works very well. I love the fact that you can try what you like and if you're not keen on one you can just move on to another. We didn't feel rushed and could take our time eating - something that I find is quite rare in restaurants we visit. In terms of portion size, the small dishes are ample if you share a few between the table. For two of us (and being a bit greedy!) we found five was plenty - my parents share three but have desserts afterwards to compensate. With the chicken thighs, we received four pieces (so two each) and they were quite large. The chicken skewer had four big pieces of chicken too. The spaghetti bolognese and the penne pasta came in a dish around 12cm in diameter so there's plenty for between two if sharing other small meals. The beef stew was the only one we both weren't overly impressed with as it only had two large pieces of beef and loads of potato, but we'll just choose another dish instead next time.
There are toilets, but neither of us visited them while we were there. Highchairs are available for younger guests along with a small children's menu with a colouring activity on the back. There's a wine list available and they also have separate menus on offer at lunchtime and menus for larger parties visiting of eight people or more.
Payment and Conclusion
We asked for the bill and paid promptly. The same waitress served us throughout and was friendly when paying - there were no awkward silences which make me feel uncomfortable! I think £35 was very reasonable as Pesto isn't a restaurant we would visit regularly - we see it more of a nice treat and for the amount of food we had and the drinks I think this was good value. The great thing is if that sounds a little expensive, one main could be eliminated - £4 immediately comes off that price. Four mains probably would have been filling enough for us with the starters!
I'm going to take one star off, but I feel a little mean doing so because we had such a lovely time. Just for the cramped feel of the outside part and the lack of tables that are suitable for small children. But the service gets a thumbs up and so does the food - a wonderful experience and looking forward to our next visit.
Thanks for reading :o)
The Great Hall
The Trafford Centre
Telephone: 0161 749 8228
Opening times: Monday - Saturday 12pm - 11pm, Sunday - 12pm - 9pm