Briciole in Marylebone
A sign of a good restaurant is just how busy it is, especially on a weeknight. Last Wednesday evening Briciole was full to capacity.
A traditional Italian restaurant, the menu offered a number of familiar dishes. This week the restaurant featured a Venetian theme with an aquatic taste, including options such as baby octopus. We opted for the original menu, to sample the best of what Briciole had to offer, and certainly weren’t disappointed. Briciole might be Italian for ”crumbs,” but there weren’t any left on our plates.
We started the meal with aperitifs, a glass of prosecco and a selection of olives, cheese and prosciutto. Interestingly added to this selection was the fried pizza, a sort of mini calzone. Delightfully chewy but with a gooey cheesy centre, it was pleasantly small enough to whet the appetite and left us wanting more.
For our mains we chose gnocchi and ravioli, accompanied by succulent grilled vegetables. The ravioli were delightfully served, lined up with careful precision, with an unusual but pleasant combination of almonds, ricotta and spinach, in a strong cheese sauce. They were soft and creamy, and in just the right quantity.
For dessert we went authentically Italian. The cannoli was the obvious choice, despite the very tempting chocolate tiramisu special. The cannoli was divine: crisp, and filled with contrasting soft piped ricotta, chocolate chips and glacé orange. It was very sweet, but the true gem of the meal.
As the restaurant is also a deli and a café during the day, it was not surprising that the shining stars of the meal were the cheeses and desserts.
Briciole has a very rustic feel, with brick walls, country-style kitchen tables and potted flowers. But it also has a modern edge, with high ceilings, open space and ribbed cardboard menus that seemed to be going spare from a big house move. This strange mix of modern and authentic worked. The restaurant interior is not too authentically Italian to be cramped and crowded, and the staff are friendly, very attentive and full of excellent recommendations.
Surprisingly the menu is very affordable for central London, with a lot of dishes around £3-£6, but this does not hinder the quality of what was a very impressive dining experience.
Photos: Monika Jørgesen