Since our holiday to Italy a couple of years ago, I started to love and understand Italian food even more. Not only for the best pastas and pizzas, but also refined dishes such as anti pasti and a delicious piece of meat or fish. In the kitchen at home we are inspired by their ingredients, but secretly we enjoy it even more when we go out for dinner at the real Italian. Like last week, when we went out for lunch to one of the best Italian restaurants in London: San Carlo Cicchetti.
The restaurant in Covent Garden is next to Manchester and Piccadily Circus the third establishment in England. All with the same look and feel of Venetian chic: marble, parquet, gold, mirrors and pastels interspersed with robust pieces of meat in front of the window, a wood-fired oven and a glass cabinet full of wine bottles.
On arrival we were friendly welcomed by the host who escorted us to our table. Soon our table owner followed with a set of menu cards and described the specialties of the day. The restaurant serves cicchetti: small Italian dishes, served directly after they’re prepared. The menu is extensive and seasonal with some classics and many regional, lesser-known Italian specialties. There is a range of dishes made for sharing two – such as antipasti, seafood fritto misto, as well as a variety of pasta dishes, meat, fish, vegetable dishes and cheeses. There is also a regularly changing selection of specials, priced from £6.95 to £25.
In the end we opted for the lunch menu for £15.95 per person where you can choose from a wide selection of 4 dishes. At first I was a bit hesitant about sharing 4 ‘small’ dishes, but Ralf assured me that the dishes would be big enough. (He had lunch there before) – Cicchetti also offers a wide selection of Italian wines and cocktails, we chose to start with a bottle of Franciacorta.
Not much later the first two dishes were served at our table: Gnocco Croccante, with cheese fondue and truffles, and the Rib-eye or Beef, with chilli, garlic and sweet potatoes. The Gnoccho Croccante had a delicious taste, but could have cooked just a bit further. The Rib-Eye, on the other hand, was excellent. Delicious tender with a refined sauce and home-made crispy sweet potatoe chips.
Soon the two other dishes followed: Risotto, with pumpkin, pink peppercorns and black truffles and the Fillet of Sea bass, baked in black salt from Etna, Sicily. Perhaps the tastiest Sea Bass ever, so creamy that it almost melted on the tongue. – In our opinion, the order would have been better if we had the Sea bass before the Rib-eye. But probably it had to do with our choice to start with the bubble and to order a glass of red wine halfway.
An Italian lunch is never complete with a dessert, we chose for the panacotta with raspberry coulis and fresh fruit in combination with a glass of dessert wine (Vin Santo) and a cocktail (San Carlo’s Shrub). All beautifully served and with a sensational taste.
Cicchette is a great place if you like different flavors and want to combine several dishes. Moreover, it serves authentic Italian products of high quality, in a central location in Covent Garden. The atmosphere is very friendly and the service is well informed and helpful. An excellent value given the quality of the products, service and location. Definitely a place to come back more often wether it’s for breakfast, lunch or diner.
For more information about the restaurant, click here.
Suitable for ages
Children (under guidance of a parent/carer), Adults
Restaurant – food and drink – toilets – not suitable for wheelchairs
Address & Contact
30 Wellington St, London WC2E 7BD
For more information about San Carlo Cicchetti, click here
Opening times Covent Garden:
Mon till Sun: 11:30am – 11pm
Opening times Piccadilly Circus:
Mon till Sun: 8am – 11:30pm