The Italian way of dining
In my opinion, there’s nothing as delicious and irresistible as Italian food. Being a lifelong pasta lover and having an early childhood obsession with pizza, means that for me going to an Italian restaurant has always been quite an experience.
So you can only imagine my excitement when I was invited to visit the recently refurbished Piccolino, conveniently hidden behind the eternally busy Regent Street.
Unlike other Italian places, Piccolino doesn’t rely purely on the presence of the usual traditional cuisine on their menu in order to create an authentic vibe. It feels like entering a Mediterranean food sanctuary because everything there from the staff to the pasta classes are as Italian as you can get.
First we were escorted downstairs to the stylish Cicchetti bar where we tried the Kim sha cocktails which are a mix of vodka and peach liqueur shaken with passionfruit, pomegranate and peach. It was like drinking a delicious alcohol smoothie!
With its spacious bar and wide selection of drinks, The Cicchetti bar is the perfect setting for birthday parties or corporate events. I’d strongly recommend trying some of the Cicchetti plates designed for sharing (more details on this to follow).
After the cocktails, we were invited back upstairs (by that time, about 8pm, the restaurant was almost completely full!) where our magnificent dinner started with a glass of Prosecco Lunetta and green olives served with focaccia bread.
We also got to try thebread but don’t be fooled by the name… it is not what you’d expect when ordering a garlic bread! Served hot with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella it resembled a small pizza (imagine my excitement!).
After the garlic bread/pizza we were completely full and there were still starters and main course to be ordered (coming in a big group of people, or starving yourself beforehand, is definitely a good idea).
We decided to try some of the various Cicchetti starters as well as the regular ones. We ended up ordering the arancini (mushroom, taleggio and truffle rice fritters), the scallops (served with cherry vine tomatoes and Tuscan bread salad) and the Salmon tartara with wild rocket, capers and lemon.
The arancini with their tender rice and melted taleggio were my personal winner. But I have to admit the salmon was impressive too!
As a main course (which I honestly don’t know how I managed to finish) I chose from the restaurant’s signature pasta dishes. As expected and boring as it might sound when visiting an Italian restaurant, trust me you will miss out if you don’t try the pasta here.
I had the farfalle with smoked salmon from the Severn and Wye Smokery, English asparagus and lemon and herb mascarpone sauce. A glass of house white wine was the perfect touch that made the meal heavenly delicious.
For desert I had a Campari sorbet served with a shot of prosecco. It was refreshing and light but be warned, it is very likely you will get tipsy.
My friend went for the Torta all’albicocca – an apricot cheesecake with Sicilian orange and basil. I tried a little bit and was amazed that what sounded as an odd combination (cheesecake with basil?), turned out to be much tastier than your regular cheesecake.
At the end of the dinner we were served a shot of limonchello to help our digestion but after that much food, I don’t think a whole bottle would have helped me!
I am planning to visit Piccolino again very soon because I want to try their fish (it looked amazing!) and might give the brand new special breakfast menu a go. Starting at 7am and offering a continental breakfast and freshly baked treats, I am sure I will be tempted and extremely challenged not to order the entire menu once again!