Following the huge success of Cicchetti Manchester and London Piccadilly, The San Carlo Group of restaurants has brought the iconic Italian eatery to the heart of theatre land in Covent Garden.
Having appointed celebrity chef Aldo Zilli as a chief adviser in the kitchen, the restaurant specialises in offering small plates of regionally sourced seasonal Italian cuisine – an Italian tapas, if you like. Much of the food is procured from the best producers in Italy such as Bottarga from Sardinia, Burrata from Naples, Culatello from Parma and of course the signature Autumn white truffle from Alba. And each dish really does taste as good, and fresh, as it sounds.
As soon as you enter the Wellington Street restaurant you are struck by the opulent decor. Mirrors, crystal and gold adorn the furniture and walls, and for such a narrow building there’s a very spacious feel. There’s a tempting fresh food display in the window and as you are led past the gleaming bar it is nice to be greeted by the staff who go out of their way to welcome you, be they bartender, waiter or Maitre D’.
Our server suggests we peruse the menu and order five or six dishes for two people. We take our time, enjoying a glass of bubbling Prosecco, then plump for the mozarella balls (served with the sweetest, juciest tomatoes you have ever tasted!), fresh grilled aubergine served with fiery chillis and fresh garlic, and crostini with San Daniel proscuitto and scamorza cheese. It was a tough choice for tasters and we were forced to leave the carpaccio of angus beef with parmesan and rocket, tartare of fresh tuna mixed with olive oil, french mustard, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar & wild rocket, and the lobster and mango salads for another time.
Served when they are ready, in true tapas style, a meal at Cicchetti is a relaxed affair. It’s all about enjoying time with friends and family while sharing the food as and when it arrives. There is the option to plump for a traditional starter and main course, but why miss out on the true tapas experience?
Having enjoyed our entrees we moved onto bigger meals and shared the incomparable truffle and pecorino filled pasta and a freshly cooked pizza. The side dish of zucchini fritte complemented everything perfectly.
Believe it or not my companion and I still had a little room for dessert. And as you would expect, the offerings range from traditional tiramisu and a selection of gelato, to more exotic half-frozen almond ice cream, freshly baked pastries and plum crepes. Irresistable!
Cicchetti’s owner, Carlo Distefano, prides himself in providing an authentic Italian experience across all of his restaurants; everything from the design and the staff to the wine list – which is expertly matched to the food with the majority being offered by the glass – has been conceived with the traditions of Italy in mind. And it shows.
TV Chef Aldo Zilli, already familiar with Covent Garden having previously owned his own restaurants in the area, has collaborated with Cicchetti on the restaurant’s menu. He told Belle About Town: “I am extremely excited to be part of this new venture with the San Carlo Group as they always bring the best to the table. By giving me carte blanche on new menu creation and developing new dishes with the best that Italy has to offer in season. See you all there! Ciao.”
Cicchetti Covent Garden is open from breakfast to midnight, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to accommodate the customers’ every need. The fully stocked bar offers an impressive wine list with an array of different Prosecco cocktails to enjoy any time of the day. See www.sancarlocicchetti.co.uk for more information.
After almost a decade chasing ambulances, and celebrities, for Fleet Street’s finest, Emily has taken it down a gear and settled for a (slightly!) slower pace of life in the suburbs. With a love of cheese and fine wine, Emily is more likely to be found chasing her toddlers round Kew Gardens than sipping champagne at a showbiz launch nowadays, or grabbing an hour out of her hectic freelancer’s life to chill out in a spa while hubby holds the babies. If only!