Pagliacci – more than just pizza and pasta

LOOKING for a Manchester dining experience with all the trimmings but without being restricted to a one-course meal due to city centre prices?

Then you can join the growing number of customers at a Hyde restaurant enjoying tasty, wholesome food in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.

And it won’t only be the smart and attentive staff who are wearing a smile when the bill arrives at the end of the evening.

Pagliacci on Market Street is a 75-cover Italian restaurant run by head chef Raimondo Hasanaj and his cousin and fellow director Ardit Curri.

The hard-working duo, supported by a number of family members front and back of house, have built up an envious reputation since taking over Pagliacci in April 2017.

Both began careers in the restaurant trade at Cocotoo in Manchester. After two decades working in some of the city’s best-known eateries, including San Carlo and Don Giovanni, they considered it was time for a change.

“After 20 years we decided perhaps instead of working for other people it was time to open our own restaurant,” said Raimondo. “That’s the dream of every head chef.

“We knew the previous owner here and that it had been an Italian restaurant for many years.”

So, a new team moved in with a new menu and ideas as fresh as the food. But one thing that didn’t alter was the name.

“We kept it because so many people knew it,” explained Raimondo of Pagliacci, the name of Ruggero Leoncavallo’s 19th century Italian Opera. Indeed, look closely and you will find a portrait of Pagliacci.

“It wasn’t easy at first,” admitted Raimondo who has studied alongside some leading chefs including Aldo Zilli, Jean-Christophe Novelli and John Thompson.

“I came here having worked with Michelin starred chefs with a Manchester mentality of price and fancy decorated food.

“That wasn’t what our customers wanted so you have to adapt, especially when you have your own place.

“But we were determined not just to be a pizza and pasta restaurant. We are much more than that with our choices of steak, fish and other seafood. It’s all fresh, nothing frozen and with little waste.”

The introduction of an early bird menu (Tuesday to Friday 5pm-8pm and Saturday 2pm-6pm) has proven a big attraction for diners travelling in from outside Tameside.

Pagliacci doesn’t open at lunchtime or on Mondays but they are options under consideration to develop the business.

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