The Bassano Bar and PizzaExpress To Partner Up in Manchester This Summer

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The nation’s favourite restaurant chain PizzaExpress and pop-up innovators Bassano Events have joined together to bring ‘The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress’ to Manchester. Opening June 21st at PizzaExpress’s First Street restaurant, the modern Italian cocktail bar concept will be a first for the North of England after it follows last summer’s successful debut for The Bassano Bar and its winning Italian drinks formula within the busy ‘Magic Roundabout’ venue in London’s Shoreditch.

Offering a selected menu that combines a focus on classic Italian cocktails such as the Negroni with Campari, Aperol Spritz, Nardini Mezzoemezzo and Frizzante Frutta with San Pellegrino, the bar is also including innovative home-grown recipes, with the ‘The Haçienda Sour’ and ‘The Manchester Negroni’ featuring local gin producer, Three Rivers.

Augmenting the much-loved and increasingly broad PizzaExpress menu, The Bassano Bar is keen to promote a range of traditional Italian drinks, including grappa, Italy’s much under-rated national spirit. Originating from Bassano del Grappa in the Veneto region, Nardini is Italy’s most prestigious grappa brand, with the distiller’s home town providing the inspiration for the name of the bar.

Working alongside PizzaExpress, owners of Bassano Events Dave Marsland and Nick Hopewell-Smith have taken the opportunity to bring a flavour of Italian serves to the terrace of First Street, Pizza Express’ newest restaurant in the city, located in one of Manchester’s most dynamic leisure areas.

Dave is a well-known drinks expert and trainer, creating brand agency ‘Drinks Enthusiast’ in 2011, with his own spirits retail business in Altrincham and a national social media and publication presence as a drinks journalist.  A marketing professional with over 35 years experience, Nick is the initiator and creative driver behind The Bassano Bar in London and a specialist importer of Italian spirits and liqueurs from The Nardini Distillery.

With an al-fresco feel to the venue, making use of its natural light and, hopeful, Summer months, The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress will be a welcome addition to the Manchester bar scene.

Opening Hours;

Wednesday-Friday from 5pm – 11pm and from 12noon to 11pm on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. 

Address;

The Bassano Bar @ PizzaExpress, First Street North, Manchester, M15 4FN

Image by Georgie Glass / www.georgieglass.co.uk / @georgieglass_

For The Love of Italy: Giuseppe, Simone, Davide.

London Sessions
Just received this from the ever popular London Sessions, and one of my brands will be in attendance with Guiseppe Gallo in Nardini Rabarbaro and Amaro, so if you’re a bartender, what more of an excuse do you need to go?!

Introducing For the Love of Italy, an ode to all things Italian with three of our favourite, most talented and well… most Italian… Italians. The London Sessions 23rd Session will be held at The House of Peroni from 2pm – 4pm with Giuseppe Gallo, Simone Caporale and Davide Segat. There will be cocktails created by the trio, pizza, Peroni Nastro Azzurro, and as always, it’s free. To RSVP just reply to rebekkah@rebekkahdooley.com NOW. RSVPs are accepted on a first come, first served basis so be quick.

THE ITALIANS

Widely regarded as one of the worlds foremost vermouth experts, Giuseppe Gallo of Italys Amalfi Coast has worked (and excelled) in pretty much every role within the bar industry, inspired as a child by his mothers home made Limoncello. In 2014 he was recognised as Best International Brand Ambassador by Tales of The Cocktail, and during his 20 years of working with alcohol has been profiled by the Sunday Times, The Telegraph, Imbibe, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal and PEOPLE. Currently he serves on the Spirited Awards Judging Panel and is the Founding Director of Ital Spirits.

Simone Caporale landed in London from Como, Italy in 2009. Just five years later he was awarded International Bartender of the Year at Tales of The Cocktail 2014, the same year Artesian took home the Best International Hotel Bar, Best International Bar Team and the coveted World’s Best Bar accolades, as well as the Drink’s International World’s Best Bar award, which, under Simone and Alex Kratena’s careful watch, they’ve won 2012 – 2015 inclusive. His trophy cabinet must need reinforcing. Simone joins us fresh from launching his newest project p(our) in Paris with Alex Kratena and Monica Berg.

Portogruaro native Davide Segat learnt his trade in some of London’s most illustrious establishments before opening the London EDITION, where he meticulously runs both the Lobby Bar and multi award winning Punch Room. At the Connaught he was taught the classical arts of bartending (how to mix a Martini and flirt with your girlfriend whilst you’re in the bathroom) before moving to Miami to learn his way around a blender, and at Green and Red was taught everything about tequila and some other stuff that he can’t really remember. After two years at Hawksmoor he accepted the job of Bar Manager at The Bulgari Hotel in Knightsbridge. This year he’s mainly been travelling the world making Punch for the likes of PDT, Candelaria and Dead Rabbit.

 

Coco’s Review

Recently, I ventured along the Metrolink line to Altrincham, a reviving town which has added a new addition to its ranks – Coco’s Italian restaurant. Located on Regent Street close to the main high street and the back streets of Belgian and European bars, it houses a small bar and long restaurant that s split into two. I met with my family and were quickly greeted and seated in the front part of the restaurant, close to what looked like a rather fantastic window seat looking out into the bustling back streets of Altrincham.

After browsing the rather extensive food and wine menu, I plumped for a pint of the Italian Birra Moretti and chose the ‘Gamberoni Aurora’ as my starter – king prawns baked in garlic, fresh herbs, cream and Napoli sauce topped with mozzarella and then baked in an oven. The Birra Moretti had an instant dryness to it, but had very little malt flavour which resulted in a rather light offering. Once my starter arrived, a nicely presented fanned casserole dish with 5 large king prawns sat in the middle of the garlic and herb cream sauce, with the lightly baked mozzarella layered on top. A unique idea that I’ve never come across before, I thought it made a change to the usual prawn cocktail. Perfectly cooked, the king prawns were piping hot, with the sauce a great compliment that didn’t look greasy or burnt around the edges.

'Gamberoni Aurora'

Once the starters were finished, my Calzone was on its way – a folded pizza with ham, mushroom, garlic, salsiccia and mozzarella served with a bolognese sauce. Brought out with simplicity being the aim, the calzone was presented in the middle of the plate, with the bolognese drizzled in the middle that let the sauce slowly branch out. Once again piping hot, there were good portions of the fillings, with only a small hint of garlic which didn’t overpower the meal. The mozzarella was light and didn’t ‘clog’ the mouth as I took each bite, which you can sometimes get with regular home-made pizzas.

All dishes were made to order, so there was a little waiting time between courses, however the ambience and feel of the place made it enjoyable. Conversation didn’t have to be on shouting level, the music had authentic Italian artists singing songs you would tend to find in a cafe square and the light colours of the walls mixed well with canvases of night skylines and drawn flowers – all which are available to buy.

Too full for dessert, a good choice on my part as the counter that held the fresh desserts seemed way too appealing, we finished off with another round of drinks and enjoyed the company of the friendly Italian waiters as the restaurant slowly went from full to empty. And this was on a Monday.

'Calzone'

This is a fine Italian restaurant which has only recently been opened. They pride themselves in using fresh ingredients, with the meat and cheese sourced directly from Italy, and fish from the local market. Excellent service, fantastic food and a great experience was had, and will hopefully have again when I’m next in the area. Would highly recommend!

For more information on Coco’s, including opening hours and private function availability, click here.

 

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.