After struggling to stretch one month’s salary to two months, pay day last week called for a celebration. Attempting to cook with what was left in the fridge had left me terrified of cooking in case I had actually lost my mojo (two failed attempts were worrying me), and Jamie deserved pay back for the money he had to loan me just to survive!
In town to buy a late birthday present, and fed up of Carluccio’s, we took a table in the outside area at Piccolino’s under a big tree. I had noticed this area on a couple of occasions and it looked inviting, but after an Italian friend recommended the pizza we had to try it!
Sitting outside on one of the last summer evenings eating delicious olives and Italian breads including focaccia and carasau – a thin crisp bread from Sardinia – it really felt like we were on holiday.
We ordered the chenin blanc on recommendation, it was fruity and crisp – perfect for munching olives. To order I went for the classic combination of parma ham and melon to start, with Spiedini di pesce – marinated & skewered king prawns, scallops & swordfish in oregano, chilli, fennel & lemon to follow, while Jamie went for Melanzane alla parmigiana – baked aubergine & buffalo mozzarella with tomato, parmesan & basil to start, with a Quattro stagioni pizza – Parma ham, buffalo mozzarella & basil, mushrooms, tomato, roasted peppers to follow.
Service was prompt, if a little flustered – one waitress had been left outside on her own – and while she could have probably used some more help, she gave us no reason to complain. The starters arrived, and although the melon was only just ripe, the simple combination of parma ham and melon was a winner – salt and sweet wins every time for me! The aubergine was cheesy and gooey and covered in decent olive oil – it got the thumbs up too.
My main course was the star of the show though – I am glad I did not succumb to pizza! Large chunks of perfectly cooked swordfish, on a skewer with soft and delicate scallops and some of the juiciest prawns I have ever tried, all with delicious but not overpowering undertones of fennel and lemon. The accompanying courgette was a pretty perfect addition, although I ended up leaving a few cherry tomatoes – they added colour, but I probably would have served it without. The pizza also lived up to expectations, with a light base and balanced topping.
Sadly after that lot we were stuffed, but the pudding menu looked tempting, with things like Semifredo and Tiramisu. We sat and finished our wine, enjoying the atmosphere, and by then the heat of the outdoor lamps. Inside looks pretty cool here too – bright green seats and a classy, relaxed feel.
You could eat here very cheaply if you wanted to – pizzas are under a tenner – we spent a bit more (it was pay day afterall!) but it was definitely worth it. This place may be a chain, but it didn’t feel like it and it gets the thumbs up from me!
Broad Weir, Cabot Circus,Bristol, BS1 3BZ
T: 0117 929 3255