Restaurant Review: Piccola Cucina

The Sicilian kitchen comes to west London at this new venue in Philip Guardione’s international chain

Located in the heart of charming Notting Hill, on a low-key street off of Portobello Road, Piccola Cucina is truly a hidden gem and a must-go venue for all Italian food lovers. More than just another Italian restaurant, Piccola Cucina is an international success story. It is the story of Sicilian chef Philip Guardione, who made it his mission to bring the flavours of his country to the world, starting with the city he now calls home: New York. Four branches across New York, Miami and Ibiza later, it was time for these stunning Sicilian flavours to reach our shores. The freshly opened London branch fits in with west London’s most iconic neighbourhood so well, it seems like it has been a local resident for decades.

Upon arrival we were warmly greeted and led to our table by Francesco – or rather, one of the various Francescos who looked after us throughout the evening. From chef to waiter to maître d’, most of the staff on the floor share not only the same name but also, and more importantly, the same outstanding friendliness. In the main dining room, the classic continental and formal white tablecloth setting is balanced by vintage Mediterranean tile friezes, Italian wine bottles adorning shelves, and olive-green walls, all giving the place an air of traditional home kitchen, Sicilian mamma at the helm.

From warm octopus salad to linguine with blue crayfish, Piccola Cucina offers a wide variety of aquatic starters and mains that will surely please seafood aficionados. But meat lovers and vegetarians won’t be left out either, with tempting options such as San Daniele prosciutto and parpadelle with porcini mushrooms also featuring on the menu.

Whatever your choice is, Chef Francesco and his team won’t disappoint. At Piccola Cucina ingredients are of outstanding quality and portions highly satisfying. Al dente pasta cooking is an art they have undoubtedly mastered to absolute perfection. And it doesn’t stop there; the recommended desserts were an absolute treat. The traditional Italian tiramisu was a perfect balance of chocolate sweetness and coffee intensity, and as for the warm chocolate cake, it was as divine as Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam.

Finishing the evening with a sweet digestive wine recommended by our maître d’, it was hard not to feel at home in Piccola Cucina. The Sicilian warmth, intimate setting and stunning menu surely makes this place one of the best locations for a subtly romantic date in west London.

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