Travel from Surrey to Sicily for the night at this Italian escape less than 10 minutes from Royal Holloway
By Lucy May McCracken
From the moment you arrive at Piccolino’s, you feel like you’ve hopped across Europe and landed right at the entrance of a white washed Italian villa. With rustic wooden floors, twinkling candlelight and a one-of-a-kind outdoor marquee, this really is a hidden gem on the London Road. Tucked behind Laithwaite’s, this member of the Individual Restaurants chain could easily be mistaken for a slice of the Mediterranean – a stone’s throw from Egham.
The welcoming front of house staff greeted us, and we were escorted to one of the low tables, lining the outdoor gazebo, complete with blankets and cushions to cosy up with during the cooler nights. The chime of conversation, the gentle clinking of glasses and the open wood-grill, combine to create the perfect balance of modern al fresco dining. On receiving the menu, it wasn’t hard to get lost in the wine list. It is sure to satisfy even the most particular wine lover, with something to complement every inch of the menu. After ordering our drinks, the waiters had politely approached us several times and almost half the bottle of Pinot Grigio had disappeared by the time we’d even chosen our starters!
I was eager to try something from the grill – after all, the restaurant was renamed to accommodate this new style of cooking when it was introduced several years ago. ‘Asparagi al Griglia’ – grilled asparagus, accompanied by a delicately poached egg – this was a natural choice, and didn’t fail to impress! Another recommendation is the classic rosemary and salt hand-stretched garlic bread, which is the perfect accompaniment to tear and share throughout the meal.
The menu is filled with Italian charm from ‘Pesce’ to ‘Crostacei’ in the fish department, and endless versions of your favourite pasta and pizza, with some unique Piccolino twists. The risotto is a champion dish for myself, and I find it hard to stray from, no matter how wonderful the menu is. The service is impeccably Italian – attentive and entertaining, whilst allowing you time to enjoy your meal and conversation, and of course making sure your glass is always topped up!
So if you are looking for somewhere to dine that’s stylish, delicious and surprisingly good value, Piccolino gets a stellar recommendation from me. With an atmosphere quite unlike anywhere else and a menu to match, you’re sure to fall in love with this little corner of Italian bliss.
Lucy May McCracken
Photography by Lucy May McCracken
This article was published in our October 2016 issue.