OF all the Spanish places that sprung up like champiñones on or just off Deansgate a year or two back the one that charmed me most was Tapeo – thanks to the warmth of co-owners Natalia Esquerdo and Nacho Perez-Barreiro and, of course, terrific food such as their Meloso de Bogavante (lobster Meloso rice, creamier than Paella).
That dish, regular there, may now be consigned to the rather ambitious specials board at their new place in Didsbury – Tinto, on the site of the former Chalk bar. It’w where the couple have regrouped after splitting from their city partners and it’s shows great promise.
The tapas and Iberico jamon are still as enticing in Didsbury – for full menu click here – but the culinary emphasis is on Asador cooking over an open charcoal oven. Natalia tells ToM: “The smell of the grilling is enticing. Even simple vegetables are transformed. We have been busy getting it just right; my husband Nacho seems to have been constantly at the stove. Our specialities include slow-roast Menorcan milk-fed shoulder of lamb, sea bass and turbot.”
And, of course, Chuleton, that amazing rib-eye steak from 10-year-old Galician dairy cattle, aged for 45 days. “It is more expensive, but worth it,” says Natalia, whose core business has been importing the finest raw materials from her homeland.
The 90-cover Tinto is a triumph of adapting Chalk’s best features; the DIY bar fronted by wine case tops is particularly stunning. “We make everything ourselves, decor and food,” says Natalia proudly. Lucky Didsbury to have such an authentic, contemporary Spanish experience on its doorstep. Review coming soon.
Tinto Asador, 784-788 Wilmslow Road, Didsbury, Manchester, M20 2DR. 0161 445 1042.