Now, I'm pretty good at eating and drinking. I can sometimes even be in two places at once, particularly if it involves, um, eating and drinking. Not even I, however, could manage to be at both Red's True BBQ in central Manchester AND Piccolino's in Bramhall last Wednesday night - step forward selfless guest blogger Caroline... *screen goes wavy; harp music; new voiceover begins*
Now as a local girl, who loves a good Italian, I was delighted to be invited to review one of my regular eating haunts, Piccolino’s Bramhall, particularly as it’s had a ‘new year, new look’ make over. And what a make over it is! The interior has been revamped and boasts a tantalizing new menu.
Food is the main event here and we were treated to a varied sample from the newly introduced tapas menu which is handily available to eat in the bar area and offers a more relaxed and informal dinning experience, and, let’s be honest, probably more boozy too. This is where we comfortably sat, joined by two more friends who are frequent visitors, which had the distinct advantage that our glasses where not even allowed to become half empty before they were swiftly topped up with complimentary Prosecco by the smiling bar staff! Wooden starter platters were then distributed amongst the guests at regular intervals. We greedily enjoyed the gamberoni, consisting of delicious morsels of sweet king prawns beautifully sautéed in chilli, garlic and parsley butter and the new Sardinian pecorino, a personal favourite, with its delicate sliver of sweet pear and salty pecorino cheese on top of a super crispy Sardinian flat bread. Other morsels included Coppa di parma, Bruschetta al pomodoro, and sweet little meatballs in a tart tomato reduction which were all equally delicious.
At the heart of the makeover is a new kitchen that boasts a charcoal and wood-burning oven, and the beautifully displayed produce that is dotted around the restaurant’s periphery that closely resemble the deli counters in Selfridges. From this guests can choose from a wonderful selection of fish, such as Cornish sea bass; shellfish (the native lobster looked particularly inviting); and meat, such as 28 dry aged fillet steak, with the addition of separate counters for a variety of beautifully displayed continental salamis and fine Italian cheeses.
The pastas are made daily on site from using premium quality ingredients, and going from previous experience the pasta dishes have always been especially good here and offer good value. The house specials menu also looked very attractive and I look forward to tasting these in the very near future. The 35-day Hereford and limousine prime rib, served with house cut chips, lemon, rocket and Parmesan costing £45.00 for two on Mondays as opposed its normal £55.00, particularly caught my eye.
The atmosphere as always was relaxed and friendly, with both the restaurant’s staff and the genuinely charming Giovanni providing a convivial environment that let the winter storm that was raging outside fade soothingly into background.
The evening was rounded off with a spectacular display from the pizza chef who wowed us with pizza twirling antics. So all in all there is something here for everyone, from an impromptu tapas at the bar with friends, to a reasonably priced but delicious pasta dinner, to an altogether more upmarket and special occasion treat. This is sure to keep Piccolino’s on the map as the eating destination of choice with this local girl anyway.