Updated: Friday, 23rd June 2017 @ 5:56pm

Jean-Christophe Novelli @ Don Giovanni: Cooking joie de vivre comes to Manchester

Jean-Christophe Novelli @ Don Giovanni: Cooking joie de vivre comes to Manchester

| By Tom Pilcher

Before he unveils the second of five courses at Manchester’s Don Giovanni, French-Italian chef Jean Christophe-Novelli lets us in on a little secret.

He sources his scallops from Scotland. Why? Because some of the deepest, coldest waters around allow the fish to mature for longer, meaning the fibres are stronger and the scallops are therefore tastier.

The 55-year-old had an even more private admission as the large crowd emptied onto the streets.

“I wasn’t sure about the starter,” he told MM, talking us through precisely why. The temperature to make the best tomato – in his crab tartare with red pepper and tomato reduction dish – hadn’t been 100% right for his exceptionally high standards.

But to those dining in his captivating company, there was absolutely nothing amiss. Five courses elegantly served with fine wines to accompany them. This will make a good partnership.

Novelli will be back for more at Don Giovanni – a stone’s throw from the impressively refurbished St. Peter’s Square.


LUXURY LAMB: Novelli's Barolo and liquorice braised lamb, served on a bed of vegetables, had the majority of diners singing its praises

In 2016 it was confirmed he would begin a year-long partnership with the Italian restaurant and his first taste of the eaterie left him in awe of the culinary skills on show.

“The kitchen is the size of my bathroom,” he joked.

“I’ve never even met these guys! What they do is amazing,” he said of the kitchen team.

Novelli left everyone wanting more with dishes two (seared scallop with sweet potato mash and orange and vanilla reduction) and three (a deep-fried risotto ball with honey duck, pancetta, rosemary and olives) before an exquisite Barolo and liquorice braised lamb, served on a bed of vegetables.

And then, as Novelli would say in his native French, came la cerise sur le gâteau – slow roasted pears infused with honey and cinnamon, flambé and amaretto, served with mascarpone.

If this menu whets your appetite, head to Don Giovanni for more and look out for Jean-Christophe Novelli’s spring masterclass.


FRENCH FLARE: Novelli shares his secrets with his star-struck guests