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Broad Weir, Cabot Circus, Bristol, England BS1 3BZ
+447 117 929 3255
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A Stylish Italian
Portsmouth, United Kingdom
April 4, 2010
Best of IgoUgo
Piccolino is an Italian restaurant on Broad Weir in Bristol's Cabot Circus shopping area. We arrived there about 5pm one Saturday afternoon, which was certainly a quiet time. There were five of us, and while final preparations were made to our table ...
Piccolino is an Italian restaurant on Broad Weir in Bristol's Cabot Circus shopping area. We arrived there about 5pm one Saturday afternoon, which was certainly a quiet time. There were five of us, and while final preparations were made to our table our coats were taken and all put together on one hanger. We were given an identifying plastic disc for their retrieval.
Our table was a round one by a floor-to-ceiling window; there were several tables just outside on the pavement but they weren't being used as there had been several heavy showers of rain during the day. The tables are black with a marble effect and are laid in a functional and stylish way with linen napkins, but there are no floral decorations. Chairs are comfortable with green padded seats and backrests. At the back of the restaurant the food is prepared in an open kitchen; unfortunately I was sitting with my back to it so I missed out on the preparation. There is a further dining area upstairs as well as a private function room.
Menus for starters, main courses and wine are presented on a single laminated A3 size sheet. Various choices of bread are priced between £3.50 and £4.50. Antipasti, or starters, range from olives at £3.35 to carpaccio at £8.85; there are a couple of vegetarian choices as well as mussels and squid. We all agreed that we would forego starters and content ourselves with a main course.
A waitress soon came to take our drinks order. I ordered a pineapple juice that actually tasted more like mixed tropical juice, but it was pleasant enough. The other four decided to share a bottle of wine and chose the Sicilian Grecanico Roccamora for £14.25. This was a dry white wine which everyone approved of.
Main courses start with either mozzarella or Caesar salad. The Al Forno (oven-baked) section includes fish, chicken, duck and pasta dishes ranging in price from £9 to £17.55. Chargrill and pan choices start with a burger for £9 and go all the way up to skewered king prawns, scallops and swordfish for £16.25. Two steaks are offered: a 10-oz rib-eye at £17.75 or an 8-oz fillet steak at £20.50. Two of our party chose from the pizza section. One went for the rustica (£10) which has roast Mediterranean vegetables and goat's cheese with rocket, basil pesto and parmesan toppings. The other chose pollo parmigiano (£10): chargrilled chicken, buffalo mozzarella, vine-ripened tomatoes, torn basil and shaved parmesan are the toppings. Another two ordered fresh pasta, which is made with organic durum wheat and free-range eggs. The choices were fusilli with smoked salmon, peas, asparagus, spinach leaves and lemon and herb mascarpone (£11) and penne all'arrabiata with spicy sausage, roasted red peppers and tomato sauce (£9.50). I picked a zucca risotto with roast pumpkin, Italian smoked bacon and gorgonzola cheese (£10). My son had originally asked for a salsiccia risotto with Italian sausage, braised fennel and tarragon (£10), but the waitress apologised that this was no longer available as they had been extremely busy at lunch time. Side dishes of various vegetables, chips, mash, salad and so on are priced between £3.10 and £3.50. We didn't feel the need to order any of these.
While we were waiting for our food serrated knives were brought for those having pizza, and all the extra cutlery was removed as we had not ordered starters. It was about fifteen minutes before our main courses were served. Freshly grated parmesan was offered, but my younger son was the only one who decided to have some on his penne pasta. This had plenty of tomato sauce, but the spicy sausage seemed quite hard to spot amongst the pasta. The pizzas were large with thin bases; toppings looked very generous. My risotto came with two small, crisp rashers of bacon crossed on top. It didn't look like the most exciting dish, but it certainly wasn't lacking on flavour. I love the bite of gorgonzola cheese, and the pumpkin was a more subtle flavour that complemented this well. The rice was cooked to a firm consistency that is perfect for a risotto. The male members of the group polished off every bit of their pizzas and pasta, but my younger son's girlfriend and I were both beaten before reaching the end of our pasta and risotto dishes. We all agreed that the food was excellent.
Desserts are rather on the pricey side, but I can't comment on the quality as we did not sample them. Ice creams and sorbets are all £5.15. Other choices include tiramisu, panna cotta, fig and pear tart or chocolate fudge pudding; the most expensive one is vanilla cheesecake with citrus blueberries at £6.45. You could share six chocolate truffles for £3.35 as a cheaper alternative if you didn't have room for a full dessert.
There is a disabled toilet on the ground floor, but the main toilets are on the upper floor. The ladies was very clean and well appointed. Hand cream was supplied alongside the liquid soap dispensers.
Our bill came to just over £72, to which we added a tip. A service charge of ten per cent is added automatically for groups of six or more people. The service was very good – polite and efficient – although nobody came to ask if everything was to our satisfaction while we were eating.
Piccolino is certainly superior to the usual Italian chain restaurants, but also of course more expensive. Its location is a very central one, and we walked there from the harbourside in about fifteen minutes. There is no shortage of restaurants to choose from in the Cabot Circus area, but if you like good Italian food Piccolino is definitely worth a visit.
Opening hours are from 11.30am until 11.30pm Monday to Saturday, and 11.30am until 10.30pm on Sunday.
A weekend in Bristol