Based in the Northern Quarter, this friendly neighbourhood bistro and bar is the place to avanti if it’s a taste of traditional Sicily you fancy – from authentic street food snacks through big plates of pasta to desserts and holiday memory gelato, eat in or take away.
“Our famous arancini is a customer favourite,” says the website, and there’s the ham and cheese classic breadcrumbed rice ball alongside a variety of veggie options such as spinach or the porcini mushroom volcano, each with its own sauce. There’s plenty, in fact, for the vegetarian and vegan palate, including a plant-based gnocchi Bolognese and the brilliantly named Montelbano Ate Your Heart, a Sicilian speciality of homemade pasta filled with sheep’s ricotta and served with a pistachio pesto. Meat-wise, think classics like tagliatelle ragu siciliano (a special homemade recipe); seafood fans might like the swordfish with cherry tomatoes and black olives that fills the Trinacria, so-called after the ancient name of Sicily, the “three pointed” island.
The menu changes regularly to reflect the seasons, and the same goes for the sweet treats, although you can bank on getting your mitts on a cannolo or two – Sicily’s celebrated pastry tube, here stuffed with fillings the likes of sweet ricotta or chocolate and hazelnut gianduia paste.
Sweet treats also feature heavily on their menu which has a section devoted to the island’s speciality cakes, cannoli and brioche, including settevelli pistachio cake (settevelli translates as seven layers). They also do a Sicilian take on pancakes and french toast, and options for those who prefer to start the day on a savoury note, such as eggs benedict with Parma ham.
Of course, a Sicilian feast wouldn’t be the same without something to wash it down with – and there are various Italian tipples on offer, including beer, wine and sun-drenched limoncello.