Individual Restaurants brings a taste of Italy on a grand scale to Manchester city centre
After 13 years at the top of the Italian restaurant scene in Manchester, Piccolino has undergone an extensive £1.3m refurbishment.
By Steven Pankhurst | Last updated April 21st '16
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After 13 years at the top of the Italian restaurant scene in Manchester, Piccolino has undergone an extensive £1.3m refurbishment. The acquisition of the adjoining premises, has seen the restaurant double in size to seat 200 guests, and the creation of an alfresco terrace overlooking Albert Square, has provided a further 40 covers. Piccolino will reopen as Caffé Grande by Piccolino on Thursday 21st April at 7am bringing a new meaning to all day every day dining, serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner until late. A second phase of development will follow in the extensive basement space, creating two private dining and wine tasting rooms, complete with their own private cocktail bar. As its name suggests, the restaurant is on a grand scale, boasting a very opulent look, which brings out the best of the Victorian listed building. The use of classic, timeless materials including; Carrara and Nero marbles Imported from Italy, antique brass, English oak and oversized handmade chandeliers, are all brought to life with striking light blue leather, where inspiration was taken from the famous Italian yacht builder Riva. The restaurant provides the feel of a Harrods food hall, bringing theatre to its food. A hand-made Italian copper pizza oven takes centre stage in the window, overlooking Clarence Street. This will no doubt be an attraction, not only to guests, but passers-by who will be able to see skilled pizza chefs and the bakery team in action. Next to the pizzeria is a 5 metre deli which includes a salad bar, salumeria, shell fish counter and fresh market displays. The open kitchen boasts meat, poultry, fish and shell fish counters. Most of the cooking is done on a bespoke open charcoal and wood burning grill, or handmade Italian wood burning oven. Only natural lump wood charcoal and sustainable wood specially sourced from the English countryside, is used. Passion for provenance is at the forefront of the menu, no matter where you look. The company has close links to artisan suppliers all over Italy bringing some of the best cheeses, salamis & grocery items to the UK. Boasting its own butchery in Cheshire where a team of nine full time skilled butchers source the very best meat & poultry direct from farms, Piccolino strives to serve the very best of the season. All their beef is sourced direct from carefully selected farms across the British Isles and they specialise in certified Black Aberdeen Angus. Individually selected cattle are hung for 7 to 10 days and dry aged on the bone for a minimum of 35 days in their own bespoke Himalayan pink salt brick dry ageing room. Every single steak is hand cut buy their own skilled butchers. In addition to this the menu has an extensive selection of wild shellfish sourced mainly from the clear waters of the UK via small independent suppliers. Fresh handpicked crab from the Isle of Man, native lobster, wild Scottish langoustines, hand dived scallops, rope grown Scottish mussels and Mersea island rock oysters to name just a few of the amazing items on the menu. Piccolino goes to great lengths to bring you truly amazing fish, responsibly caught from sustainable sources, including some of the finest day boat fish from around the British Isles. The company has developed strong partnerships with small independent family run suppliers, like Chapmans of Rye on the south coast of England, to ensure the best fish direct from their boats. Artisan filled pastas are all made in house by Marcello Ghiretti, the pasta specialist from 00’ flower, free range eggs, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. Wherever possible, seasonal fruit, vegetables, salads and herbs are sourced from handpicked growers and organic farmers. The pastry counter and ice cream bar stand proud in the main dining hall and with pastry chefs in full view of guests showing off their waffle and pancake making skills, you are sure to be tempted to a dessert. Piccolino also has its own bakery run by skilled pastry cook Antoine Quentin. It prides itself on the fact that all ice cream, sorbets, cakes and desserts, are made in house. Served weekdays from 7:00am and weekends from 9am, the new breakfast and brunch menu offers a range of early morning favourites from waffles, crepes and pancakes to panini’s, eggs and porridge. All of the eggs served on the menu are sourced from Brookside Farm in Lancashire, so whether you choose to start the day with your eggs scrambled, fried, poached or in an omelette, you can guarantee that they’ll always be free range. To accompany the new breakfast and brunch menu, Caffé Grande have brought in the skills of celebrity juicer Cindy Palusamy, to open a brand new organic juice bar called The Juicery. Founded in New York, The Juicery boasts locations in LA, London and now Manchester working alongside leading nutritionists and doctors, all over the world. The Juicery will open from 7.00am weekdays and 9am at the weekend giving guests the option to “juice in or takeaway”. Cindy comments of her collaboration with Individual Restaurants: “The mission of The Juicery has always been to bring a taste of the famous NY/LA well-being culture to all parts of the world. In Steven Walker and the team at Individual Restaurants, we found an amazing group of dedicated foodies who shared our passion for bringing our version of 'expert goodness' to life. Our truly collaborative menu for the new look Caffé Grande by Piccolino, will not only feature our signature juices and smoothies, but also booster shots that are as good as they are good for you.” The drinks list is both extensive and very Italian, offering a diverse selection of seasonally inspired classic Italian cocktails, Italian Vermouth, Amari, sweet liquors and an impressive list of craft beers. Whether you’re enjoying a coffee on the terrace or a cocktail sat at the bar, this will no doubt be the place to be and be seen. A white marble caviar and oyster bar overlooks the new alfresco terrace and bustling Albert Square. Caffé Grande promises to serve all its caviar at cost, to allow guests to enjoy the very best. The wine boutique is equally as impressive, and showcases an extensive all-Italian wine and prosecco list, together with a vast selection of champagne. The boutique is run by Gabriele Alessandroni, the in-house sommelier and can be hired for wine and cocktail masterclasses. “So keen are we for guests to try our fine and rare selection, we have only added a small markup charging a fraction of the prices compared to other restaurants”, says Dario Barbato the Head Sommelier for Piccolino. Next time you are ordering a bottle please feel free to check. To add to the Mediterranean feel DJ Julienne Jeanne - who has worked in some of the coolest ski and beach resorts throughout the Mediterranean - and his team, will play music in the bar, every week from Thursday until Sunday, midday until late. Ettore Cicchetti who has been the General Manager at Piccolino since the restaurant opened 13 years ago says “After acquiring the adjoining premises and seeing the transformation of Caffé Grande by Piccolino, I just can’t wait to showcase this beautiful restaurant to our loyal guests.” Individual restaurants continues to go from strength to strength. This latest launch will be the company’s fourth opening in the last 6 months, with a further flagship restaurant under sister brand The Restaurant Bar & Grill, planned to open in Chester in early June. Steven walker, founder of Individual Restaurants says: “It’s always exciting to be opening new restaurants but when they are in our heartland of the North West, they become even more special. “We wish Ettore all the best with his new venture and are looking forward to another grand opening in Chester.”