By Esin Huseyin
Now here is a place that I’ve been willing to try for absolutely bloody ages, I’ve always walked past the window with it’s hanging cured meats and huge shell on display in the window – finally, earlier this week I was able to tick this restaurant off my list.
San Carlo Cicchetti reinvents the Venetian way of eating, with the menu consisting of small plates which you can either share or eat alone. Our waiter actually described it as Italian tapas, and said the optimum number of dishes to get per person was 2.
The walls are awash with white paint, framed photos of celebrities who have swung by, and even some parts of the menu. Hues of soft yellow are present with marble also softening the harshness of the white. The chandeliers are a little eccentric, in the sense of you seemingly finding yourself in a hunting cabin with antler inspired pieces. It’s definitely a talking point.
We’ve been trying to book a table for absolutely ages, which no success. But, last Sunday I was able to sit down with my family to celebrate a few occasions. The restaurant was pretty busy, with a lot of people even walking in from the street – the great thing about this restaurant is that the staff seemingly know their regulars, and have really built up a great rapport with them. A lot of people who wanted a quick bite to eat, were able to perch themselves on the bar also.
Now, to get down to what I ordered:
- Olives & Tapenade
- Selection of Homemade Bread
- Terra, a special selection of cured meats from around Italy
- Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli
- Lamb Cutlets
That seems like an awful lot, but the olives and bread as well as the meat platter I shared with my sister. The olives were a selection of some green and black, and the tapenade actually had a bit of a spicy kick to it – but this was great over some bread.
The meat board that we had was a pretty generous portion, which could happily be shared between 3 people as a light starter, even though it is advised to be shared between 2. The slices of cured meat were accompanied by a slab of mozzarella, and some roasted vegetables.
I decided to have a pasta dish as my first “main” meal and opted for the Spinach and Ricotta ravioli, where you literally are given 2 slightly larger pieces of ravioli. Don’t be too put off, this is all about small dishes with big flavour. The pasta was still Al dente, and actually contained the perfect amount of filling, the ricotta and spinach perfectly worked together. The sauce was made with fresh tomato, and actually contained a lot of fresh cherry tomato as well – very tasty.
Next up was a meat dish, and I decided to go for the lamb cutlets. Similarly to the ravioli, you are only given two pieces of lamb – but it is enough. Perfectly cooked, with a tiny amount of pink still left. For my particular taste buds, it did need a hint of salt – but I do enjoy things a little saltier than others. It was served with a meat stock, and it’s safe to say that there wasn’t a thing left on the bone.
I did finish my dining experience with a cheeseboard, which featured various crackers, beautiful honey, grapes, and various cheeses. At the start when it first arrived I was expecting more, but towards the end I realised it was just the right portion. I’ve never eaten cheese with honey before, only ever using things like fig jam, chutney and pickle – but honey, is a pretty incredible sweet partner that seems to bring out the flavours more.
Overall, I had a wonderful experience with great service and wonderful dishes. With it’s relaxed ambience and feel good menu, without the bloating from eating big dishes, this is a place that I will definitely come back to.
Until next time!