One of the only sad things about our move was that we were no longer going to be near our beloved Yukti. Having such an amazing restaurant round the corner was such a luxury that I wasn't sure we'd ever have a similar "local" situation again. So when Piccola opened, I knew it would eventually be somewhere we had to try. Not quite on our doorstep, but close enough, I kept everything crossed that it would fill the void that moving further away from one of our favourite restaurants would leave.
Saying "thank you" to Ryan provided the perfect opportunity for our first date night since the move. He has put up with so much from me over the past nine months (and still is) that I just wanted to both express my gratitude and apologise in advance for calling him all the names under the sun / wanting to bite him whilst we're in the delivery suite.
Every time we drive passed Piccola it looks full to the brim - even on a weekday, and upon arriving for our date night, it was just the same. With ambient lighting that created a cosy yet classy atmosphere, and the buzz of chatter in the background, it immediately evoked a romantic yet energetic vibe. With staff constantly checking on tables, delivering food and drinks and taking orders, it could have easily became chaotic, but I think the staff were so well organised that everything seemed to be ticking by in a calm and collected manner. After a short-ish wait at the bar (about 15 minutes) we were shown to our table and given menus to peruse. Having visited the restaurant on one previous occasion, and being a little restricted by the menu options, it didn't take me long to decide what to go for. Ryan was quick to decide too, and our order was taken pretty swiftly considering how busy the place was.
To start us off, Ryan went for the Spinach and Taleggio Arancini, whereas I decided I really wanted the Caprese Salad side dish as my starter of choice (a majority of the starters either featured cured meats, were shellfish, or contained things I have gone off). Both dishes were ample size to whet our appetites for the main course, and jam-packed full of flavour. The addition of spring onions to my salad were a happy and zingy touch, and Ryan's arancini were crispy coated and perfectly cooked in the middle, with the cheese trickling out upon slicing. The pesto was a great sauce to dip each arancini ball in to (and to my delight the grilled peppers were only a faint note in the background).
Acknowledging past experience, and with the thought in mind that I was 99.9% going to be ordering a dessert (blogger's prerogative) I decided to go for a small portion main course, and went for the Pappardelle Ragu Di Angelo (pasta with a slow cooked lamb ragu). Ryan chose a large portion of the Pappardelle Di Manzo (pasta with a slow cooked beef ragu). Both of these dishes we had sampled on our previous visit, and had been very impressed. With past experience on our side, I was interested to see how the consistency of quality held up.
I definitely wasn't disappointed with my dish. After waiting a short time for it to arrive (again I was really impressed as the restaurant was still full of diners), I tucked in anxiously to find that the lamb was like butter, sliding apart underneath my fork willingly. The sauce was flavourful and rich without being overbearing, and the pasta cooked to perfection. Ryan I think was just as happy with his dish - neither of us offered one another a sampling of our dishes, which is always a good sign. The only thing that I was unsure about was the portion sizing. My small dish of pasta looked almost as big as Ryan's large portion. I was a little perplexed, but with the main courses being quite reasonably priced, there wasn't enough cause for me to draw attention to the fact.
Glad that my small portion plan had paid off, it didn't take me long to decide what to have for dessert. The Chocolate And Salted Caramel Mousse had been calling to me from the start (I can't resist anything with "chocolate" in the name). Ryan opted for the same, and once again, within a matter of minutes after ordering our puddings were with us. Creamy, thick and rich, this dessert definitely wasn't a choice for the faint-hearted. Deceptive in its size, I needed a break halfway through. All the flavours worked in perfect harmony, and it was with glee that hidden at the bottom was a thin layer of salted caramel sauce that added an extra sweetness to the dish. It was the perfect way to finish off the meal, and is definitely something I would order again.
It is of course impossible to compare Italian cuisine to Indian, however, in Piccola I think we have found our close by Yukti substitute. Within ideal travelling distance, and with really reasonable pricing (every main is under £15.00) it's going to be the perfect place for future parents-only escapes, and family outings alike.
To find out more about Piccola or to book a table, click here