Manchester’s oldest Italian restaurant reaches a new level
Manchester’s oldest independently owned Italian restaurant – Don Giovanni on Oxford Street – is celebrating 32 years in the city with a dramatic new contemporary look, following an extensive refurbishment described by the owner as ‘a fantastic job.’
Voted the most romantic Italian restaurant in England, 2015, the venue was acquired by restauranteur Adam Karim, who was behind its recent distinctive interior transformation which was carried out in an astonishing six days.
Adam Karim said: “I now have the final finished version of Don Giovanni as I see it. All the regular customers have been overwhelmed with the transformation. Initially the reaction of everyone was to question why the refurbishment was needed as they said that the place already looked amazing. But now the project is completed that can see why we did it.”
The project was carried out by main contractors Kays Joinery, with DV8 Designs as the interior designers.
The restaurant, which is all on one level now includes a new meet and greet area and a transformed bar and dining area.
The restaurant’s £400,000 distinctive new look includes vibrant bright orange décor and a fresh pasta station in the window, where diners can watch chefs create signature dishes, a new look bar, a brand new prosecco bar and an upgraded private dining area for 50 people, complete with polished French oak floor, full AV facilities and duck feathered pendant lighting.
Lee Birchall of DV8 Designs said: “In order to remain true to its classic, sophisticated feel, we included subtle influences of rustic Italian ambience that have been incorporated throughout the space to create a welcoming atmosphere.
“We were able to retain the original aesthetics and historic charms, while adding a contemporary twist such as unique lighting and decorative elements to heighten interest and make a lasting impression.”
Highlights of the new interior, which features a new colour palette of orange, white and light oak, include the introduction of new furniture, including banquette seating, as well as the re-upholstery of original furniture and the introduction of new semicircular seating booths with leather upholstered seating.
A new oak-screened meet and greet area complete with seating has been introduced and new planting in the windows adds a splash of colour. This is complemented by the addition of new signage and a new logo for the restaurant.
The original bar has been re-clad in oak boarding and a new Italian marble bar top added. Oak boarding wall cladding has also been fitted in the restaurant area.
New lighting is another important design feature and includes light fittings with large fabric shades and additional new lighting of varying designs in different areas, including around the bar.
New floor finishes include tiling, as well as herringbone wood block flooring.
Adam Karim said: “We have been here a long time and over the last two years virtually the whole surrounding area has been regenerated, including the library and the Palace Hotel nearby, which have both been extensively refurbished. We therefore felt that Don Govanni customers also deserved to enjoy the benefits of an extensive makeover of the restaurant.”
Speaking of the venue’s new pasta station, he said: “Most people think that pasta simply comes in a packet. But that is not so. We feel that freshly made pasta has a completely different relationship with the sauce. Because of its coarse, sticky texture, we find that it absorbs the sauce in a completely different way.
“The restaurant has had a complete overhaul and the finished look is stunning and exactly what I envisioned. Both the builders and architects did a fantastic job and the restaurant was finished to a standard that I was happy with.”
According to Don Giovanni: “Begin your experience perched by the amazing marble bar, sipping on a signature cocktail as you watch the chefs create the finest Italian food in Manchester. From delicious, fresh lobster and crab ravioli, to delectable desserts, watch the magic unfold in front of your very eyes as you await your culinary journey
“We are based on a very simple principle. We proudly use only the freshest, tastiest ingredients, our food is all cooked fresh to order in our open plan kitchen, and fresh pasta areas, where you can see your food being created.
“Wherever possible we use locally sourced ingredients, and scour the local areas and markets to find the best possible.”
All dishes are cooked from scratch, including crab and lobster ravioli, tiramisu and panna cotta.
The menu offers a wide selection of dishes such as: Sri Lankan tuna steak (seared and served rare) with black olives, white anchovies, green beans, mixed leaf and baby potatoes, topped with a quail’s egg; pancakes filled with ricotta cheese and grilled mediterranean vegetables, topped with tomato, béchamel and baked in the oven, and lobster in a lobster bisque with a touch of chilli.
Other options might include miniature potato dumplings cooked with mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil; ribbon pasta with smoked salmon, dill and pink peppercorns in a cream and tomato sauce, and potato dumplings with sun dried tomatoes and green beans, topped with a grilled chicken breast.
Further dishes on offer might include: squid ink spaghetti pasta with fresh mussels and king prawns in a white wine sauce; grilled chicken breast topped with goat’s cheese in a vine cherry tomato sauce; lamb loin with rosemary gravy with shallots on dauphanoise potatoes, and a selection of juicy steaks including fillet, ribeye, sirloin and T-Bone.
Then there’s the Don Giovanni’s improved cocktail menu and award-winning wines with the opportunity to sample rare vintage bottles of boutique wines by the glass.
Adam Karim concluded: “This refurbishment takes Don Giovanni on its final stage of growth and development as a brand. The restaurant is now the best that it can be and has the perfect ambience that I envisioned when I bought it five years ago.
In the late 1800’s, thousands of Italians made new homes amongst the mills and factories of Manchester city centre. Don Giovanni was created by some of the descendants of those inhabitants over 30 years ago and has introduced generations of Mancunians to real Italian food.
Ted Todd Hardwood Floors
Ted Todd’s DNA is simple – design, manufacture and transform.
Ted Todd has been making quality hardwood floors for over two decades. The company started off reclaiming floors from Victorian mills and along the way have learnt about sourcing, crafting and supplying beautiful hardwood floors that last.
Ted Todd’s wood floors are simply transformational; they look exceptional and stand the test of time. The reason for the company’s success is simple – great design, superb craftsmanship and the finest woods, responsibly sourced.
Even if you’re not familiar with the Ted Todd name, you’ve probably walked on one of Ted Todd’s floors. From the funkiest neighbourhood restaurants to prestigious multi-unit residential schemes and award winning public spaces, Ted Todd inspires leading designers worldwide to deliver exceptional projects.
There are over 400 products across all its collections, giving an unrivalled choice of colours, finishes, textures, shapes and sizes. Ted Todd’s wood floors are made impeccably; right here in the company’s UK workshops. They are truly second to none.
Ted Todd is also extremely proud of its environmental credentials. Every species of wood that is used has been scrupulously checked, with 95% of all floors FSC® certified, so customers can be assured that they are sustainably sourced.
Increasingly, Ted Todd is seeing its wood being used for vertical cladding as well as on horizontal surfaces. Ted Todd is pleased to have supplied Don Giovanni with all the vertical cladding used in the restaurant. Fleece from Ted Todd’s Warehouse Collection was used on the bar, reception and feature walls to create a soft light feel, that complemented the colour scheme perfectly.
The Eurolighting Group – including division E2 Lighting – has been in operation for 27 years, specialising in various types of lighting. Whether a client requires elaborate eye-catching fittings or working on a tight budget, Eurolighting can source, spec, design and build the exact fitting they need. The establishment also offers full project management including sourcing, implementing and engineering.
The in house design team at Eurolighting can work with clients and companies to bring visions to life, also offering complete lighting design including drawing up extensive lighting schemes, 2D sketch ups, creating 3D visualisations and lux level diagrams.
Premier Hospitality spoke with Jamie Hunt, at E2 Lighting, to discover more on the company and its contributions to the developments at Don Giovanni. Jamie commented:
“We supplied all of the lighting within the restaurant, which includes the lighting design, layout and also bespoke manufactured “over-booth” floor lamps.
“We are always keen to be a part of any project, however knowing the prestige of Don Giovanni, Manchester’s longest serving Italian restaurant with over 30 year’s experience we were especially keen to be part of the project. Adam Karim is also a perfectionist just like we are; he’s always a pleasure to work with.
“At Eurolighting Group we pride ourselves on delivering an exceptional service from concept to completion and are also proud to offer an extensive after service. We have a successful track record in every kind of project, from the small to the big and from new builds to building refurbishment.”
Specialising in all joinery work for the hospitality sector, Kays Joinery has been in operation for 40 years. Kays Joinery has worked with many prestigious clients on a variety of projects including Harvey Nichols, John Lewis and The Lowry, Manchester, producing and installing display units.
Kays Joinery boasts its very own 4000sq ft workshop with the finest machinery, enabling the team to manufacture all of their products in-house. The establishment also carries out designs that are client-specific and led by the client but guided by staff members. Fascinatingly, Kays also do exhibitions.
Premier Hospitality spoke with Peter Kay, Managing Director at Kays Joinery Ltd, to discuss the project on Don Giovanni; Peter said:
“Working on Don Giovanni, we refurbished the bar area, decorated throughout, fitted the fixed seating, fitted the wall panelling and put down a new tile floor throughout.
“We had to complete the project within a very short space of time, so it was an extremely quick turnaround, which was challenging of course – but I like that. I also enjoy seeing the difference between the site beforehand and the end product.
“As a company we pride ourselves on our ability to complete projects within a short space of time, our quality of work and value for money.”