06 July 2009

Bellissimo Il Piccolo

Having never been lucky enough to travel to Italy, I cannot vouch for the authenticity of the food at Il Piccolo further than my own taste buds squealing in delight. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that the Italian food experience is as much about people, intimacy, laughter and experience, as it is about the fare. And the ‘Ministry of Pizza & certain other things’ as it self-reflexively known, certainly delivers on the latter. Step inside the tiny trattoria on upper Willis st, and indulge in the intimacy of the quaint surroundings – authentic to the romantic notions of Italy that frequent my travel dreams. Probably not the best place to dine if you are claustrophobic, this eatery is petite to say the least, with only 5 tables that are close enough to overhear the scandal breaking at the next table. Exclusively run by an Italian couple, you will be served by the slightly eccentric but charming proprietor – who will linger for a chat at the slightest encouragement, and inspect the quality of your wine (BYO) as he takes it away to uncork it. The menu is fresh and simple encompassing antipasti, zuppe (soup), insalate (salad), pizza, pasta, and dolci (dessert). M and I started with the Angio Pan Pizza ($6), a crispy golden base smothered in buttered garlic and parsley – simple and warming and plenty enough for two.

We shared a Lasagne al Forno ($15) and a Stromboli Pizza with pepperoni, mushrooms, chilli and olives ($15). The pizza and pastas are uncomplicated and rustic, with quality ingredients and robust flavours that warm the cockles of your heart. Needless to say, we ate every morsel with gusto, and continued to dessert without a thought to increasingly tight waistbands.

The Tiramisu ($6.5) was gorgeously smooth and creamy albeit a little on the smaller side for the purposes of sharing, and it could of done with a touch more coffee/liqueur drenched sponge. Service is consistently prompt and charming, though I am always happy to while away the time supping a warming red and staring out the fogged windows or basking in the eclectic charm of the surroundings and laughter of the patrons. It is always a shame to step out into a biting southerly wind rather than a cobbled terrace in Italy.

Careful not to confuse Il Piccolo on Willis with its counterpart on Vivian st, which is still lovely, but doesn’t quite replicate the romanticism of the original.

Il Piccolo Caffe
248 Willis Street
Telefono 385 2645

Temping to award 5 Beehives, but that would be due to my bias - I LOVE this place

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