Wandering along Acland St, Mr Black and I were looking for somewhere special to eat. When I spied the sign for Cicciolina next to a small dark dining room I got excited – I’d heard great things about this place, and yet here it was, so simple and unassuming. And even though it was busy, because it was a Wednesday lunchtime there was a spare table for the two of us. Hurrah!
We were promptly greeted and given bread and butter, told the specials and offered drinks in by a wonderful waitress with a friendly and relaxed manner. Mr Black got a Coopers in a frosty chilled glass (nice touch) while I tried a glass of the (cheapest) pinot grigio which was delicious! Sadly I didn’t get a photo of the wine menu and the website, which is really odd and doesn’t seem to match the style of the restaurant, doesn’t list them. So it will remain a mystery quaff.
The menu looked absolutely delicious, yet uncomplicated. No foams, no smoked tomatoes, just classic Italian style dishes. And lots of variety so that Mr Black could avoid seafood and I could avoid dairy.
I ordered a special told to us by the waitress but wasn’t on the specials board for some reason: spaghettini with calamari, tomato, herbs, currants and toasted almonds. It was delicious! light and fresh, not too oily, and with the most tender and velvety calamari I’ve ever tasted. Winner!
Mr Black went for the lasagne, unsurprisingly! It was made with prosicutto and button mushrooms which gave it a lovely earthiness and was exceptionally creamy with a first-class, incredibly smooth rich bechamel.
As a side, Mr Black chose peas and spinach with sage and goats’ cheese, which was a gorgeous combination. The peas were incredible, fresh and perfectly seasoned, and the feta had that lovely goat-y stinkiness which complemented the sweetness of the peas, the earthiness of the spinach and the slight bitterness and fragrance of the sage.
While eating our lovely meal we were amused by the restaurant’s selection of quirky artworks, dominated by female nudes.
The bill came to about $80 for two, including a beer, two glasses of wine, two mains and a side. Which I think is pretty great! If you went to eat loads of seafood or three courses and fancy wine you could easily spend quite a lot, but I appreciate being able to get a gorgeous meal at a reasonable price. Highly recommended!