Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Review - Piccolo Mondo, Glasgow

So the Easter weekend has come and gone. Over the last few days, me and Nicola have barely stopped long enough for a cup of tea. We've spent hours in the garden, tidying and planting, we've been out watching live music by local Glasgow band, Full Tonne Kid. We've visited Culzean Castle and Nardini's in Largs for ice-cream. However the highlight of the weekend was definitely drinks and dinner on Friday evening.

After a few drinks at Grill on the Corner in Glasgow, we made our way down to Piccolo Mondo on Argyle Street for our booking. I'll say at this point that we have been going to Piccolo Mondo for many years now, always returning for the high quality food and the excellent service.
Although we had not been to Piccolo Mondo for at least a year, we were welcomed back like old friends. After being shown to our table, we had a look over the various menus before deciding to order from the Celebration Menu, which is possibly the best value you will find this side of Tuscany.
Starting with our aperitifs, Nicola enjoyed a Bellini whilst I savoured my limoncello cocktail, before our order was taken.
The celebration menu includes aperitifs, three courses, a bottle of wine, coffees and a liqueur each for a staggering price of only £55 per couple. This value coupled with high levels of service ensure that Piccolo Mondo is always busy. Check out their website for other offers and deals for different times of the week.
We ordered a bottle of Trebbiano, one of our favourite Italian white wines, which arrived alongside some iced water and a basket of fresh baked olive focaccia. As we sat in comfortable surroundings, enjoying the ambience of a quickly filling restaurant, our starters were promptly delivered to our table.

Nicola had ordered a Trio of Deep-fried Mushroom, Onion Rings and Mozzarella cubes, whilst I ordered the Mediterranean Antipasti. I eagerly tucked into my selection of buffalo mozzarella, roasted red pepper, courgettes, aubergine, mushroom and balsamic onions served on a slice of toasted focaccia and topped with dressed rocket leaves and chives. Nicola was chuffed to bits with her well presented stack of crispy coated home made onion rings, and crispy garlic mushrooms. The deep-fried mozzarella cubes were perfectly cooked with a crisp shell but melting soft cheese oozing out when cut open. The dressed salad that accompanied Nicola's starter was a perfect balance of sweet and sharp, consisting of watercress, carrot strips, cubed sweet red pepper and a sharp lemony dressing. Both courses were just the right size and polished off in no time.

Once the starters were cleared away, we were given a short break before our main course was brought to the table. Nicola had taken a little risk in ordering her main, linguine with prawns in a creamy tomato sauce. Normally thick creamy sauces or acidic tomato based sauces aren't her first choice, as well as the fact that there is always the risk that a seafood dish can be overpowered by the fishy flavours. Quite the opposite can be said about the plate of food that was put in front of Nicola. Three types of prawns including tiger, king and Atlantic served in a light tomato and cream sauce with a tiny kick of fresh chili, all on a bed of perfectly cooked linguine. I fully expected that I would be helping her to finish the pasta however my assistance wasn't needed.
Maybe just as well as I had ordered the fillet of salmon Nizzarda. Poached fillet of Scottish salmon in a white wine sauce, topped with prawns, broad beans, red peppers and fresh herbs in a creamy sauce. This was served with roast potatoes and roasted seasonal root vegetables. The salmon was cooked perfectly, with thick flakes of fish breaking away at the touch of a fork, whilst the balance of flavours in the cream sauce were a perfect accompaniment to the huge piece of salmon on my plate.
As we finished off our wine, we scanned the dessert menu. Normally I am strictly a two course person but as the meal so far had been awash with light fresh flavours, I still had room for something sweet and sticky, which was why I picked the sticky toffee pudding as my guilty pleasure. Nicola chose the classic Italian dessert tiramisu, something that I don't make at home.

Presentation is a huge part of serving any food, and restaurants do a great job of making desserts look like little works of art. Nicola had popped off to powder her nose when our waiter brought these two gorgeous looking desserts to the table, had she been any longer than a minute or two then I was helping myself to both puddings!
The sticky toffee pudding was deliciously light, whilst the caramel saucy drizzled around and over the top was very creamy, and super sweet. A great balance!
Nicola's tiramisu was a perfect mix of sponge, cream, mascarpone, and coffee liqueur, dusted with shavings of dark chocolate. Once again Nicola disappointed me by managing to finish her dessert on her own!
So three courses down, we spent the next fifteen minutes savouring a chilled glass of Sambuca before finishing off with our coffees.
As I mentioned earlier, all of this was just £55. The quality of food was as high as ever and the service from the attentive staff made sure that your glasses were never empty or that you sat with empty plates in front of you for any longer than necessary. (which is one of my pet hates).
With all round value like this available every day of the week, is it any surprise that Piccolo Mondo has been voted top restaurant on Top Table by its diners? Not to me.
If you've never been to Piccolo Mondo, make sure you add it onto your list of places to visit this year. You will become a regular before you know it. We'll be back again, only this time we won't be waiting a year between visits!

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