FOR A DIFFERENT SPIN ON FESTIVE DINING OUT
If you want to get away from turkey and tinsel type menus then why not go visit the sunny shores of Italy – not literally but via their wonderful and romantic cuisine.
Piccolino in Ilkley is the perfect place. for a pre or post Christmas lunch or dinner, special occasion or just any excuse for a great dining experience.
The best thing about this restaurant, besides its food, is the fact its light and airy with its polished wood modern furnishings and lots of natural light. Downstairs you can people watch through the large windows or upstairs there are views over to the famous Ilkley Moor.
Their menu is inspired by Italy and its from here they source their ingredients for the classical Italian dishes.
The choice of dishes is amazing and whilst we deliberated on what to order from the seemingly never ending pages of the menu we ordered bread and olives.
At Piccolino their Cerignola olives are marinated with rosemary and thyme and are large and juicy. Bread comes in the form of a sharing platter which looks as good as it tastes. The classic Italian breads are freshly baked and you can tell and the portion is large – there’s Sardinian flatbread, rosemary focaccia, ciabatta and grissini with Italian cheese plus a dish of basil pesto.
No Italian meal is complete without antipasti. As it was a freezing cold day I chose the Minestrone Classico. This was a thick piping hot tomato based soup with at least five different vegetables in it – as far as soup goes this was top of the class!
My colleague was not disappointed with her Cocktail Di Gamberi Rossi consisting of Wild Mediterranean and Atlantic prawns in a marie rose sauce. The whole thing was presented as a work of art – and consisted of at least four different kinds of lettuce as garnish.
For mains I was temped by the Pancetta Di Maisale – slow cooked pork belly with a radicchio, orange, balsamic and thyme sauce. This was absolutely amazing. The pieces of pork were cooked with the crispy crackling and the meat was tender and just melted in your mouth. The sauce was smooth had a sweet and sour taste with an Italian twist and diffused what can often be a fatty taste with pork belly and I just loved the addition to the dish of Hazelnuts.
My colleague’s Polla Alla Valdostana was cooked to perfection. The crispy fried breaded chicken had an inside of Parma ham, fontina cheese and peperonata. The dish was lovely and crispy on the outside and the meat was very tender and the cheese just poured out – a very flavoursome choice.
We shared a portion of Verdure Al Forno which consisted of roasted butternut squash, carrot, beetroot and red onion with thyme a great accompaniment to any dish. My colleague feasted on her Zucchini Frittes – Courgette fries – I couldn’t eat here without having those she always says whilst my Pure Di Patate – Italian cheese creamed potatoes put a whole new slant on the humble mashed potatoes – the best ones I have tasted for a long long time.
My heaven on a plate was the Panna Cotta with Amaretto with a passion fruit sauce – a light sweet but with a nice tangy kick. My colleague opted for Affogato ice vanilla ice cream with Amaretto, expresso coffee. The ice cream is very smooth and you could really taste the Amaretto. The combination of hot and cold is very Moorish.
A jewel in this restaurant’s crown is the friendly and helpful staff – nothing is too much trouble for them and they really know their product.
After a lovely meal these two ladies who lunch were ready for some more retail therapy – although a walk up to Ilkley Moor would have been a better option.
Piccolino 31/33 Brook Street, Ilkley LS29 8AE.
Tel: 01943 605 827
Open: Mon/Tues/Wed/Sunday – 12 noon to 10pm
Thurs/Fri/Sat 12 noon to 11.pm