Until now, one of the only restaurants you could get pizzas in Chorlton was Croma. This is unfathomably the busiest place round these parts. On our last visit, we noticed corners were starting to be cut. The mozzarella salad had stingy amounts of cheese and tiny tomatoes, plus the tiramisu was no longer in a large coffee cup. You could almost see them saying, 'we can get away with this, we're so busy anyway'. The atmosphere was still good, and the food adequate, but we can do better than this surely?
I always think that the difference between a good restaurant and a bad one, is giving a shit. The chef has gone to that little bit more trouble in getting something right and tasty instead of thinking 'that'll do'.
I was thinking this whilst sat in newly refurbished Nook & Cranny bar in Chorlton.
We've always liked this little place, we've DJ'd at a few private parties there downstairs (Bacononthedecks) and recently enjoyed Ashley Beedle play some fine rare records.
They've just re-branded from The Nook to become The Nook & Cranny and made it into a kind of speak-easy bar upstairs and downstairs. They've added booths making it more intimate. Bars have been struggling in Chorlton over the last few years, there's so much competition, so it makes sense to do something different.
It's an antithesis to the same old cold boring interior of most Chorlton bars. For example, the coldness of The Hillary Step, it's awful acoustics, and terrible bright lighting does not make an intimate space.
Onto the food; nice to see them keeping to the authentic Napoli pizzas, only 6 types and no daft toppings. I had a good feeling about this place. We ordered a Garlic Bread & cheese to start. (£2.75).
I call those people wusses.
Onto the pizzas, we got a Valentino; Mozzarella, Tomato, Gorgonzola, Pancetta, Rocket & Red Onion (£6.25).
Hickson & Black's on really thin bases. They were way better than Croma pizzas, without doubt the best in Chorlton.
In fact, despite the fact that they don't have a real wood fired oven, I was struggling to think where we'd had better pizza in the whole of Manchester.
Honestly, they were that good.
Back to what I was saying about the difference between good and bad restaurants, for me it's just giving a shit. And when John the owner was talking about going to the trouble of getting exactly the right tomato sauce, and the real authentic Napoli style, it was exactly that. Making the effort to do it properly. Not cutting corners.
It makes a difference.
So I urge you all to give up boring dull old Croma and go to The Nook & Cranny instead.
You won't regret it.
Half price on Mondays.
£2.90 for selected beers before 8pm.
Service: No 'service' as such, this could be worked on a little.
Atmosphere: Bar style.
Food: Excellent simple Napoli pizza
Star dish: Valentino Pizza