On Saturday Dan and I went on the Cicchetti Trail as part of the London Restaurant Festival 2013. We started at Theo Randall at the Intercontinental, where they gave us a 'passport' each with the instructions that we were allowed to go to any of the six restaurants between 12noon and 9pm, and eat a selected dish with a glass of bubbly or beer at each place.
At Theo Randall, our first stop, we had prosecco and the most delicious calamari in padella, as well as zucchini (courgette) fritti on the side to share. The calamari was fantastic; not chewy and tough, and seasoned to perfection. Zucchini Fritti is one of my favourite dishes; fried courgettes, they were amazing - completely melt-in-your-mouth amazing.
Our next stop was a favourite of mine, San Carlo Cicchetti (see previous review) on Piccadilly. Here we had Truffle and Pecorino Ravioli, with an onion and cream sauce, with a Bellini to accompany the dish. The truffle was delicious, and the onion and cream sauce thankfully wasn't too 'oniony', and was quite light rather than the stodgy cream sauce you so often get in restaurants.
After San Carlo Cicchetti, we got a little lost looking for Mele e Pere as the address and postcode on the map page of the passport was wrong. Eventually we found it thanks to Google, and although nice, it wasn't my favourite on the trail. The food was excellent, but it just didn't blow me away as much as the other restaurants. I had the home made fregola, romanesco broccoli and grilled king prawns, with white vermouth.
Time definitely flies when you're having fun, because before we knew it it was 6pm and we'd only managed three restaurants since we started at 2:30pm! We ran to Polpo just off The Strand, and decided that it was probably best if this was our last one as we had some birthday parties to get to. To say we were full would be a major understatement, it's surprising how filling small dishes are! Polpo was definitely my favourite out of them all. Unassuming and situated at the dark, quiet end of a busy street in Covent Garden, we thought it was closed, then we noticed the soft glowing light inside and the large queue of people.
At Polpo we could choose 3 dishes from their 'Cicheti' section of the menu. I chose the Arancini, Potato & Parmesan Crocchette, and the Ricotta, Squash and Sage Crostini, with a glass of white wine. Although the Arancini and Crocchette don't look like anything special, the flavours inside the breaded outside were fantastic, and the Crostini was sensational - ricotta and squash go incredibly well together.
The restaurant was dark with glowing lights coming from handkerchief lights overhead, it had a buzzy but relaxed atmosphere, and the food was exceptionally good. It's the perfect restaurant for a date, and reminded me very much of Trullo in Highbury and Islington.
We had a lovely time on the Cicchetti Trail, and I'll definitely be booking to go on more London Restaurant Festival events next year! You can still book onto some for this years' - if you're around over the next couple of weekends, go to their website and see what takes your fancy!
After feeling very full and quite tipsy, we went to the Sloaney Pony for Caroline's birthday drinks, before heading over to Bodos Schloss to party in celebration of Mark's birthday!
The evening was full of shots brought to us on wooden ski's, and lots of birthday cake...
|I look really miserable here, but my hair looks good, so naturally it had to go up.|
How was your weekend? Have you been to the London Restaurant Festival at all?