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.