Delicate meats, fine wines and fresh natural cheese made my tummy very happy (for once!). I never thought I’d see the day – everyone MUST try this place… IBS or not.
Manchester offers its wealth in top food joints – on the high street you’ve got everything from delis, to burger joints, to fine dining outlets. Whether you’re on your lunch break, going out with a loved one, or popping in before the theatre, there’s something for everybody. So how does someone choose where to eat?
Well, for somebody like me, dining out with IBS can be a nightmare, and despite this vast range of eating choices, I’m still pretty restricted. My main requirements are always to consume fresh, natural produce which is to be enjoyed and not endured. It also needs to be satisfying and wholesome, without making me crave anything extra.
And I found my place in Veeno.
Fresh meats and cheeses galore
I was invited to try one of their sharing platters on Saturday afternoon and it couldn’t have been a more pleasant experience. The sun was shining and the ambience was buzzing as soon as my friend and I walked in – my optimism about the food started early.
We were given the Italia House Platter which came with a mixture of Italian cheeses, including Parmigiano Reggiano (rich Parmesan), Gorgonzola (their best selling creamy blue cheese, served with a whole walnut on top), Pecorino In Grotto (speciality sheep’s milk), Fontina (strong cow’s milk cheese) and Asiago (smooth cow’s milk aperitif). They thoughtfully left out the Caciocavallo Al Peperoncino as I let them know spice can affect my IBS.
The meats included were Porsciutto Di Parma (delicately seasoned Parma ham), Bresaola (salted beef), Speck (smoked ham) and Salame Milano (smooth pork spheres). There were some others but with such long Italian names I forgot! Blame the wine…
Along with all this we received a selection of bread which they call the Selzione Pane E Olio, a rustic, crusty bread selection which were light in texture and all went expertly well with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar served.
My top choices from the Italia platter
Amongst all of this gorgeousness, I was advised by the Italian chef (who came out to describe each section of the platter to us, which I thought was a thoughtful touch) which meat went will with which cheese, etc. etc. His words were wise and I enjoyed every last mouthful – although I do have to say my favourite cheese had to be the Fontina as I enjoy a rich cheese which pairs well with red wine. My favourite meat was definitely the Speck as the pepper gave it so much flavour. This went really really well the creamier cheeses.
Although my IBS can be triggered by soft & creamy dairy products, these cheese didn’t seem to do anything to upset my stomach. I think it was a combination of it being very high quality cheese which hasn’t been pumped full of nasties, that the creamy cheese were served in small quantities so it was never too much, and because of the pairing with the red wine (which always seems to settle my stomach when alongside food).
The best olives I’ve ever tasted
This is true Italian food in the heart of Manchester, and what’s a true Italian place if it can’t convince an olive hater to absolutely LOVE THEM? We were handed a bowl of olives by our server and told “No, seriously. You’ll never have tried olives like them before”. He was so right – they were what you’d call ‘micro-olives’ because they hadn’t been pumped full of water to make them look plumper (like ones you’d buy from the supermarket) and were directly imported from an Italian farm specifically for this restaurant. You can’t get more authentic than that – and you could tell the difference in the flavour. Rather than being horridly pungent, these olives were subtle and not too salty and tasted less like something you wanted to scoff, but something you’d wish to savour.
A great place to chill out and chow down
Once my friend and I had finished the meal we were both lovely and full up and, after spending around two hours savouring our meal, felt like we’d had a great day out. In too many restaurants nowadays you’re rushed through ordering, caught struggling to catch a server’s attention, or are constantly amongst the bustle of other customers in queues.
Here, it is quaint, reserved and quality in every sense of the word. If the best thing about this place wasn’t it’s incredible selection of fresh food, it was that these foods didn’t cause any digestive upset whatsoever. These foods which are typical ‘trigger foods’ kept my stomach settled and my hunger satisfied throughout the rest of the day. I never once regretted consuming any of the food, which I usually do after eating any salty meat or creamy cheese.
Now, I’m not saying I’m going to start eating salty meat and creamy cheese everyday, but what it has taught me is that some trigger foods are (sometimes) okay to eat, just as long as they are in very small quantities. Because it’s true what they say – you can have too much of a good thing. On the other hand, I don’t think I’ll ever enjoy meat, cheese and wine in the same way again thanks to Veeno.