Briciole – Marylebone, London

My mother always told us “only eat in a restaurant if it’s busy.” I’ve therefore gone through life with the belief that an empty restaurant is to be avoided. My experience at Briciole today contradicts this theory.

It was recommended to me by a handful of people so I was pleased when I rang this morning to hear they had space for my group of four that day. At 1.45pm on a Sunday we expected it to be chock-a-block but it really wasn’t. There was only one other table when we arrived.

Our waitress pointed out that the starters, of which the selection is very plentiful, were tapas style, i.e. order approx five or six dishes to share. We ordered two salads (one with rocket, Parmesan and mushrooms, the other with spinach, pear, pecorino cheese and hazelnuts), bresaola, smoked swordfish and tellaggio (semi-soft Italian cheese). All were excellent, and portions were the perfect size; large enough that everybody could comfortably get two tastings of each yet not so large that the main course becomes redundant.

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Three of us ordered tagliatelle with lamb ragout and artichoke, and one ordered grilled mackerel. It felt silly to get three of the same yet none of us were selfless enough to change our order just for variety’s sake. I was extremely satisfied with my main course; I had forgotten about the benefits of variation after bite two. It was seriously tasty, and all three of us felt that way. The mackerel was also very good.

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We shared a delightful pear semifreddo (best described as the fruit of a love affair between an ice cream and a mousse) and drank mint tea before heading back out into the cold.

My mother was pleased to see the restaurant filling up whilst we were there.

At £28 per person (including service) I would highly recommend Briciole. The food and service are both superb.

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