Where to Eat in London: The Cicchetti Bar, at Piccolino

piccolino-cicchetti-bar-food-italian-tapas-cocktails-where-to-eat-in-london-restaurant-bloomzy-1 piccolino-cicchetti-bar-food-italian-tapas-cocktails-where-to-eat-in-london-restaurant-bloomzy-2 piccolino-cicchetti-bar-food-italian-tapas-cocktails-where-to-eat-in-london-restaurant-bloomzy-3 piccolino-cicchetti-bar-food-italian-tapas-cocktails-where-to-eat-in-london-restaurant-bloomzy-4

The Cicchetti Bar, at Piccolino* | Dinner/Bar | Mayfair | Website
– reservations available –

Like most Londoners I avoid Oxford Circus like the plague. Pair that with living in East London and you’ve got one little lady who does not often venture into the dark realms of tourist hell – aka Regents Street. However that all changed when V.A (of Chopstickpanorama) invited me along to Piccolino’s new Cicchetti bar. An Italian friend had actually been recommending cicchetti (Italian tapas) to me a few days earlier, that had to be more than a coincidence, right?

Piccolino itself is nestled amongst a small set of restaurants in Heddon Street, just off Regent Street. The quiet courtyard feels miles away from the hustle and bustle of the main road, which accompanied with the fairy lights hanging above, gives it an almost fairytale-like quality. When we arrived at Piccolino we were greeted by the hostess who kindly showed us down to the cicchetti bar in the basement. The bar has just been renovated in a somewhat contemporary take on art deco. One wall is covered by large sections of mirror, which reflect the bar taking pride of place in the centre of the room. The dark green, black and gold accents won me over straightaway.

We were offered a selection of cichetti as we waited on two bellinis at the bar. I started with the ‘bruschetta con burrito e fichi’ (Turkish black fig on mozzarella and toasted ciabatta), which was refreshing, but slightly bland. However we followed it with a slice of crispy ‘picante pizzette’ (spicy calabrian sausage, roast red pepper, tomato and mozzarella pizza slice), which had tons of flavour – namely spice. It sat on the verge of being too hot for me to handle, but that made me enjoy it even more. Of course you can’t have Italian without Arancini, and the ‘Arancini Bolognese’ (Sicilian risotto rice fritter, beef ragu, peas and mozzarella cheese) was not a let down. The ‘spiedini di pollo’ (skewered chicken wrapped in pancetta) was tender, juicy, and perfectly salty. It was my favourite, alongside the ‘zucca fritta’ (crispy fried pumpkin and sage) which was so incredibly delicious I was left craving more – the foodie’s sign of a perfect dish. Oh yes, the bellinis! I’d almost forgotten about them amongst the heaps of food I’ve been fondly recalling for you. As far as cocktails go, it wasn’t the best bellini Ive ever had, but it wasn’t the worst.

For my first taste of cichetti I was pleasantly surprised. The experience left me wanting more, as did the menu. I love sharing food and connecting over it, so I can’t think of anything better than heading to the bar after an evening of press events. I’ll certainly be going back, and I’ll be bringing my friends with me.

You can read more of my restaurant reviews on Zomato.

Chamonix Travel Diary: Part 6

chamonix-france-travel-diary-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-diary-fashion-style-topshop-cat-print chamonix-france-travel-diary-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-diary-the-alps-mountains chamonix-france-travel-diary-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-diary-saint-gervais-vallorcine-train-station chamonix-france-travel-diary-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-diary-la-regina-architecture chamonix-france-travel-diary-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-diary-train-line-station-stop chamonix-france-travel-diary-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-diary-omelette-foodie chamonix-france-travel-diary-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-diary-mont-blanc-marron-dessert-pudding-sweet-foodie

It’s been just over two weeks since we returned from Chamonix, and already I’m craving French food and long walks in the mountains. My nostalgia got me thinking; what better way to remedy my withdrawal symptoms than with a blog post? I have yet to publish the photo diaries from my last few days in France, so now seemed as good a time as any.

A walk alongside the river to La Praz is perfect for a mild day in Chamonix. We headed back via train and wound up in our favourite omelette restaurant…yes an entire restaurant dedicated to omelettes. Afterwards we went for another walk around the outskirts of town, and to the mountainerring/crystal museum. Unfortunately it seemed as though we chose the worst time to leave as we were greeted with torrential rain. So we ran through town, ducking and hiding under canopies before deciding that cake and hot chocolate were in store. After only a few minutes of nibbling on a Mont Blanc we had already forgotten about our wet clothes and the impending walk back to the apartment.

Chamonix Travel Diary: Part 4

chamonix-travel-diary-france-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-bloomzy-1 chamonix-travel-diary-france-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-bloomzy-2 chamonix-travel-diary-france-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-bloomzy-5 chamonix-travel-diary-france-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-bloomzy-8 chamonix-travel-diary-france-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-bloomzy-7 chamonix-travel-diary-france-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-bloomzy-3 chamonix-travel-diary-france-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-bloomzy-6 chamonix-travel-diary-france-lifestyle-blog-blogger-photo-bloomzy-4

As a little girl holidaying with my parents meant museums, art galleries, trying food we’d never seen before, and learning the language basics (hello, please, thank you etc) of the country we were in. Naturally this has shaped the way I travel today. It also means I tend to dislike sitting on a beach for hours working on my tan…although that may also be down to the fact that my pasty white skin shrieks at even the thought of sun. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind relaxing on the beach or taking a dip in the pool if my companions want to, but when it comes to planning my own travels I take a different route.

After finally getting our guest cards from the Town Hall yesterday, we grabbed a coffee (the French do a good decafe) round the corner as we waited for the museums to open up again. Note: shops, pharmacies and museums etc close around 12 until about 2-3pm for a long lunch in the South of France. Several coffees later we went for a stroll around town, before we ended up at the Musée Alpin. The museum tells the story of Chamonix and Mont Blanc throughout the years – offering a great chance to test the ol’ French reading skills. I loved seeing the old Winter sport advertisements and reading about the women who had conquered Mont Blanc (girl power!). The museum also happens to have an amazing exhibition of Chinese paintings on right now, which was worth the visit alone.

We had intended to visit a couple of other museums too but the draw of Richard’s ice cream stand was too much in the insane heat. So we went for “deux boules” of salted caramel butter and macaron ice cream. Yes you did see and read that correctly, macaron ice cream. It was basically chocolate with a macaron on top, but that’s still pretty darn awesome. And yes, the salted caramel butter ice cream was as deliciously decadent as it sounds.