While I was at University in Manchester I found a restaurant that delighted my taste buds in every way. My first visit to Piccolino was on my 20th birthday with a group of friends, after that it was used regularly as a guilty meal out (when I couldn’t be bothered to shop in Sainsburys), or as a lunch date treat with girlfriends.
I always thought it was too delicious to be one of a chain, but was thrilled to find that there were a few other Piccolino's about... including three in London. A little more expensive than your standard Italian but entirely worth it. To drink, when in Manchester, I would always have a ‘virgin bellini’ – peach puree and lemonade… refreshing, and rather stylish looking too. Just the thing for ladies who lunch.
The menu is extensive with typical Italian dishes: pasta, pizza, meat and salads plus delicious sides too (I can recommend the courgette fritti). I am not one to order a salad at a restaurant, but at Piccolino the Caesar salad is quite unbelievable, and the portions are so big, the smaller size ends up being plenty. It is adorned with a decent helping of parmesan, chargrilled strips of chicken, crispy bits of pancetta and miniature croutons, and of course the dressing. Also worth a mention are the prizeworthy garlic breads (more like ultra thin base pizzas) that come either plain, with tomato or with mozzarella. They are completely to die for, and the perfect sharing starter.
Desserts require serious decision-making at Piccolino. I always used to have the sharing plate, which for £11, had a selection of their best five desserts in miniature form, super cute, and super yummy. Since that was taken off the menu (God knows why) I opt for the chocolate fudge pudding that comes steaming hot and gooey with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream on top. Then I have my usual fresh mint tea to finish.
Three courses for two should come to under £50.
Visit the restaurant website here.