Good Italian restaurants are the sum of their ingredients, and this is very good, says Deanna Thomas
TRE CICCIO doesn’t look much from the outside, or even the inside, at first.
The ground floor of Altrincham’s newish Italian restaurant only houses a couple of tables, some giant fridges and a bar. But once you descend the windy staircase, it opens into a tardis-like trattoria.
The restaurant manages to be classic and urban at the same time.
White tablecloths and candlelight satisfy more traditional diners, while exposed brick walls, produce lined up in wire cages and paper napkins re-enforce the casual dining element.
One room leads onto another, which in turn opens out onto an all-weather terrace.
Ripe, juicy tomatoes that explode with the intensity of accumulated sunshine.
It’s très chic, but that’s not what Tre Ciccio means. It translates as ‘three chubby friends’, a self-effacing reference to owner Francesco Scafuri and a pair of his portly pals from back in Campania, the region from which the neighbourhood restaurant draws its inspiration.
Tre Ciccio’s reassuringly short menu centres on their wood-fired oven, in which they cook variations of Neopolitana pizza and roast chicken.
The wine list is similarly brisk, which works well in a bustling family restaurant.
It’s not easy reading either a broadsheet newspaper or a long wine list with children in tow. Two choices each of white, red and rosé by bottle or glass keep things simple, plus Prosecco and a handful of cocktails, beers and aperitifs.
Catering for the casual majority, wine is served in a tumbler, like soft drinks, but ‘proper’ wine glasses are available on request for purists.
Good Italian restaurants are really the sum of their ingredients; ripe, juicy tomatoes that explode with the intensity of accumulated sunshine, or first press single estate olive oil that has you absent-mindedly trailing a finger round the plate.
Starters here are mainly drink-friendly nibbly bits elevated by the quality of their produce.
A quartet of bocconcini fritti (£6.50), posh buffalo mozzarella cheese bites, were pimped up by a garnish of crispy basil and a homemade sauce made from San Marzano tomatoes – renowned for their flavour.
A generous, non-greasy portion of Cuoppo Fritto (£6.95) was Tre Ceccio’s take on the Neopolitan-style street food of lightly coated and fried squid, prawns and whitebait, tumbling artfully from a paper cone into roast garlic mayonnaise.