Freelance writer and poet from London; if you would like to read my poetry, please check out my book, 'Poems on the Page', available from goo.gl/Ta4oAX.
Published August 9th 2013
Huge Meals, Small Prices
Piccolo Cafe Sandwich Bar
You know what they say about books; well the same is true about restaurants. Don't judge one by its shop window. Not far from St. Paul's Cathedral is a little Italian cafe. At first it looks like nothing more than a takeaway sandwich bar with not seating, but step inside and you discover that Piccolo has both and upstairs and downstairs dinning area.
Upstairs dinning area
It is nothing fancy; granite tables with squeezy ketchup and mustard bottles remind you of a fish & chip bar, while the television screen tuned into Sky Sports News is reminiscent of a pub. Despite this, it is a very comfortable place to sit; they have air conditioning for hot days, and pictures of beautiful Italian landscapes.
There are more than just sandwiches to choose from too. After mulling over a three page menu, you will also find an extensive list of specials on the whiteboard. Piccolo serves a variety of all day breakfasts, including a vegetarian option. There are also omelettes, ciabatta, sandwiches, toasted melts, salads, pizza, pasta, and jacket potatoes.
Now, this being the middle of London, and nestled between three popular attractions (the Museum of London, the Barbican Centre, and St. Paul's Cathedral), you would expect high prices for mediocre prices. Not so. In fact it is the exact opposite.
Mum ordered a bacon melt for £4.60, which came with lettuce, swiss cheese, tomato, and mayonnaise. The thing was as thick as a hamburger. We always say that bacon is not bacon unless it is crispy. So was this a bacon butty? It most certainly was. Mum described it as a workman's lunch, which is a pretty apt description considering that moments later two workmen came in and sat behind us.
I on the other hand was struggling to make up my mind. I considered pasta, which was priced between £4.90-£6.20. I was concerned about how big it would be, but Mum reassured me that it would be small because it was only a lunch time special. A short while later I was faced with a gargantuan portion of penne marinatra. This is not just big in terms of lunchtime size, it was a whopper of a main as well. And so the battle commenced. But despite how filing it was, there was no question as to who would win; it was just too delicious to leave unfinished. I think it was one of the best pasta dishes I have ever had.
As well as having great food and great value for money, Piccolo has great service too. Since the kitchen is on the ground floor, there is the risk of customers being forgotten about upstairs, but our waitress diligently kept coming back and forth to check when we were ready to order.
After a much needed rest, I felt ready to tackle a second helping, so perused the pastry menu. This had an equally varied selection, and nothing cost more than £1.60. There was carrot cake, coconut cake, danish pastries, croissants, doughnuts, homemade apple pie and bread and butter pudding. I chose bakewell tart big enough for two. This was evident by the fact that it had been cut in half to share. All Mum wanted was the cherry, so Iucky me got the rest. It was wonderfully light, delightfully crumbly, and perfect for finger dabbing. All I need now is an excuse to go back to that part of London.