Vino Buono - the Heaton Chapel Italian deli and wine shop that’s almost a restaurant too 

We visit for wine on tap and Italian groceries - and stay for the pinsa Romana

By Kelly Bishop | 12 May 2023

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“It’s not a restaurant,” says Davide Puglielli, owner of Italian deli and wine shop Vino Buono, “Though people seem to think it is.” 

With its mismatched wooden furniture, pretty crockery, and cabinets displaying shiny wine glasses of all shapes and sizes, the place looks like the tiny Italian bistro of our dreams – so we can understand the confusion.

Davide is originally from Rome but lived for a long time in Venice. Vino Buono has only been open since late 2022 and word is still getting around about how good it is. Previously, it was a frame shop and before that an office with dodgy looking ceiling tiles. Davide, who previously worked in the wine trade, has put in a lot of graft to give the space the Italian feel he wanted.

Vino Buono looks like the Italian bistro of our dreams. Image: Manchester’s Finest

“My idea was only [to have a] deli and wine place,” he tells us, “My wife said, ‘why don’t you sell some wine by the glass? People want to try your wine.’ In Italy, we don’t drink without eating something so then I was thinking, what can we offer with wine? Cheese, salami is okay. [But] then I [started] thinking about pinsa. [It’s] a very new thing. So that’s what we’re doing. People now are more attracted by the food.”

Wine by the glass at Vino Buono comes on tap from a keg. You can buy a reusable bottle, fill it up and come back for more when you run out – or return the bottle and get your deposit back. Davide tells us this is a popular way to buy wine in Venice. People even take plastic bottles to fill up there – which is fine as long as you’re not going to store it for long. It doesn’t hurt that refillable wine bottles are better for the environment with bottling and shipping being one of the major environmental hurdles for the wine industry.

Wine here comes on tap from barrels. Image: Manchester’s Finest

There are three reds and three whites on tap but Davide hopes to expand the range as it’s (unsurprisingly) proving very popular. We try a fresh, fruity and full bodied Montepulciano, dangerously easy to drink with the Roman style pinsas he makes in-house.

Pinsa Romana is a lighter style of pizza invented by Corrado Di Marco in 2001. Its base is made from a blend of soy, rice and wheat flour, fermented for at least 72 hours and baked at a low temperature. He tells us it also happens to have 33% fewer calories and 85% less fat than pizza and almost half the gluten.

The one we try is just the right side of crispy, topped with salami and ‘nduja, hand rolled and baked in the kind of titchy kitchen you might find in a bedsit. He doesn’t even have a hob at the moment but is hoping to expand eventually. 

Pinsa Romana is a lighter version of pizza. Image: Manchester’s Finest

Davide also prepares us a platter of cured meats including an addicitive truffled salami, a cute hand-shaped salami ‘rose’, sliced pear and various Italian cheeses to try. We love the ubriaco ‘drunken’ pecorino aged in red wine, and the picante provolone. Alongside sit purple olives, crunchy breadsticks and fennel seed tarallini. It feels like going round to an Italian family home for tea. 

The menu here at Vino Buono takes influence from all over Italy and Davide prepares dishes using the products he sells in the deli. There is filled focaccia for lunch, made with bread from Didsbury’s French bakery La Chouquette which he says is as close to the Italian style as he can find. The focaccia then is stuffed with different filling combos: caprese, picante, formaggio, and so on.  

Some Pinot Grigio has a pink hue. Image: Manchester’s Finest

Also on the menu are melanzane alla parmigiana, lasagne, and tiramisu made by Davide’s English sister in law. He says it’s really good even though she isn’t Italian because, “She uses my coffee, my biscuits, my mascarpone, my Marsala. We just buy eggs from the butcher’s shop, the best eggs.” They try to put something new on the menu every weekend but with the popularity of the restaurant side of things, they are struggling to find good, reliable staff. So if you’re looking for a job, get in touch. 

Downstairs, the deli is packed with Italian cheeses and charcuterie to take home. There are Italian craft beers you won’t find anywhere else such as the Sardinian Ichnusa and the Sicilian Messina with sea salt. The shelves are stacked with store cupboard items like jars of toad-green, deliciously bitter friarielli, pasta, olives, ‘nduja and more. Davide also does olive oil refills from a huge can of almost opaque, vibrant green elixir that comes via a Sardinian friend of the family. It smells incredible. 

Definitely try and cheese and charcuterie board at Vino Buono. Image: Manchester’s Finest

There is a small and carefully chosen selection of bottles of Italian wine including some from his own winery Paradis back home in Friuli Venezia Giulia in the North East of Italy. This is a wine region that produces, amongst other things, Pinot Grigio, but not as you know it. Some of the best Pinot Grigio wines from this region have a very slight pinkish hue (some call it ‘onion skin’) from the grigio (grey) grape skins and rarely make it out of Italy, they are way more delicious than the ones you’ll find in the supermarket. 

Other wines on the shelves come via highly respected distributor Les Caves de Pyrene, and include a few natural and orange ones. They are all vegan, as is some of the food. Davide says his customer base is eclectic, from young vegans, to couples with kids and dogs, to older Heaton Moor OGs with a bit more disposable income. 

Nduja wanna take me home? Image: Manchester’s Finest

At Xmas, he proudly tells us that he makes “proper Italian mulled wine”. His secret? First of all, you have to use decent wine, adding good quality spices and fruits before finishing with the key ingredient, barrel-aged Grappa. His spritz has a difference too: double the wine. He starts with a base of dry wine before adding ice, Campari or Aperol and a Prosecco top. We heartily approve.

On the wall of Vino Buono is a map of Italy with wine regions written on in orange marker. Davide really knows his wine and has been hosting regular wine tastings where he gives insight into different Italian grapes and regions. 

Cannoli one I know, has come to take me away. Image: Manchester’s Finest

But he has now started hosting Italian lessons too, telling us that they started doing them for children, friends of his own kids, but demand quickly came for adult classes. They advertised on Instagram, “£10 per hour, Italian course with a glass of wine”, and were surprised when 70 people showed up. Keep an eye on Vino Buono’s socials for details of upcoming events.

Heaton Chapel and its neighbouring Heaton Moor are already well worth hopping on a train to visit. With gems like Cork of The North, The Easy Fish Co, and La Capilla, Vino Buono is a lovely addition to a foodie neighbourhood. Definitely add it to your list if you’ve not been, and don’t forget to bring an empty bottle.