Well, once again Giles Coren has pointed us towards a winner. Briciole in Marylebone grabs your imagination as soon as you walk in. The Italian deli counter, gelato cart and shelves of wine and pasta transport you immediately to a small trattoria in Italy − at least they transported me there. Once through the front bar area, the place takes on a more London look; a bit more shabby chic than Italian side street, but still charming.
Having made a reservation for the end of this month, we decided to pop in for a sneak preview last time we were in London. Having had an roller coaster of a weekend with our incredible meal at The Glasshouse in Kew on Saturday and a disappointing barbecue experience earlier in the day − more to come on that in another post − the decision to swing by Briciole was two-sided. On the one hand we wanted to end our fabulous, food-filled weekend on a high and on the other we wanted to make sure that our upcoming reservation wasn’t going to end in the same way that day’s lunch had.
Having been immediately taken in by Briciole’s charm, the warm fuzzy feeling continued and we ended up staying for over an hour, enjoying a bottle of wine, some of their delicious bread and one of the numerous sharing plates that adorn their inspiring menu. We chose the wine because Malvasia is a grape variety I haven’t seen very often, if at all, in England. It’s grown at Kirigin Cellars in Gilroy, California − about 45 minutes south of my home town − and I have enjoyed their Malvasia Blanca on many beautiful summer’s days. This was a Malvasia Chardonnay and was a perfect sipping wine with just the right balance of fruit and acidity.
We ordered the guancia di manzo arrosto con salsa verde (£5), which was roast beef cheek served with a green sauce of capers, garlic, onions, vinegar and anchovies and it was incredibly flavorful. Delicate, paper thin slices of beef cheek were served with punchy salsa verde and made the perfect accompaniment to our wine and Briciole’s incredible melt-in-the-mouth focaccia.
Briciole turned out to be the perfect place to laze away a Sunday afternoon enjoying good food and each other’s company. I can’t wait to go back on Friday!