Il Piccolo hideaway
Il Piccolo is a tiny Italian restaurant tucked up Willis Street beside a bakery and an equally tiny Indian restaurant. When I say tiny, they seat about 18pax maximum (if that includes a few fours or sixes to maximise table space).
Having not been there for years, it felt like a nice Friday escape recently.
You won’t need to spend a fortune to have a good time here. The antipasto entrees (various forms of pizza breads) are around $7, the mains (pasta or an impressive list of pizzas) around $16, desserts around $7 (excluding the Affogato at $12) and wine $8 per glass.
After a few early wobbles in relation to double bookings and water needing to be requested a couple of times, we were under way. The garlic bread antipasto was thin crust, light and well balanced in flavour (not too garlicky), and pleasantly seasoned. I like starters that don’t leave you feeling too full from the get go.
The lasagne pasta was a good mix of al dente beneath, and crispy on top, without vast quantities of meat or cheese (traditional) and a nice rosemary herby backnote.
The anchovy, caper, and cheese pizza was also thin crust, with a little softness in the base, and real anchovy fillets on top. The overall comment was a good mix of sweet, sour and salty (and if they don’t have tables available, or you live nearby, do get a pizza to take away – there was a steady take away trade going on while we were there).
When dessert time came, I used my well honed skill of choosing the one thing not available – the Bucaneve (cassata gelato essentially) which I was told wasn’t yet set (at least we know it was house made), and ended up with a baby pavlova topped with passionfruit gelato. Again the flavours were well balanced and not overpowering.
The lemon sorbetto was noted as very lemony, and slightly stretchy in texture.
Overall pleasantly sated for a good price, in a warm, cosy and charming environment.
Even if there are a few service or menu wobbles, you’ll still be won over by the sense of being tucked away from the city’s bustle, as if you were dining in nana’s front lounge.