If someone asks you if you’ve been to Lygon St and you aren’t sure, then you haven’t been to Lygon St. It’s pretty hard to forget being harassed by the host at every restaurant you walk past. Most of them sell more or less the same thing, but they all passionately believe theirs is the best, and they won’t let you go once they’ve started talking. If it’s a slow business night, they may even offer you discounts on your meal.
It’s part of the culture of the place, and it is an experience worth having once, though you make your choice more from recommendations or liking the host more than ever actually looking at a menu, but it does get tiring.
Just off Lygon on Pelham St, after a walk up and down during which we got harassed twice as much as usual due to the inclement weather and absence of other patrons, we came across Michelinos Trattoria. Drawn in by the wood fired pizza oven visible through the front window, we gave it a go.
Nobody harassed us to go in, the host simply smiled and opened the door for us, then took our coats. Seemingly quiet at first the quite large restaurant did have a few diners already settled in, but plenty of room for more.
Starter was a bruschetta on pizza bread, which was ordered with extra extra garlic. It was somewhat garlicky, but still not enough. Will add even more emphasis to the extra next time.
For mains.. House made gnocchi in beef ragu, and veal in a creamy white wine sauce.
The gnocchi ws a perfect al dente texture, but the ragu was fairly basic, similar to the filling of a canneloni or ladagne but without all that extra cheese to carry it through. The veal was flavorful and tender, the sauce not overly creamy and cloying, and just enough mash to soak up the rest of it. An excellent, warming winter comfort food, and all meals moderately priced.
Best of all though was experiencing Italian food of equal quality to the rest of Lygon but with friendly, helpful, non pushy device. Will definitely be back some time.