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Piccolino, West Didsbury, review

Denise McGlinchey carries out an experiment on her toddler

Written by . Published on February 16th 2011.

Piccolino, West Didsbury, review

I have a theory. If you bring your children out for dinner from a young age, they will learn how to behave within the restraints of a restaurant environment. I know it’s not a ground breaking notion: our fellow Europeans have been putting this theory into practice since time began.

I’m also in good company, sharing this idea with about 99% of West Didsbury residents, judging by the amount of prams being wheeled up and down Burton Road on this particular Sunday.

Piccolino, West Didsbury, opened in 2007 and ruffled a few feathers with the local, bohos not happy that a mini–chain was invading their ‘independent’ space.

Opinion may have mellowed since, but, that aside, my mission was to find out whether it’s any good for families.

The restaurant on Lapwing Lane has good pram access and inside it’s spacious and light with an open kitchen to the back. The decor isn’t exactly rustic but then it’s not exactly modern either. It’s just a bit odd, rather like arrabiata sauce without chilli.

Our waiter was welcoming and directed us to a table, promptly returning with a high chair for James. With his bag full of coloured pens, paper, two books and a dinosaur, he looked as chuffed as Michelangelo at the unveiling of the Sistine Chapel.

There’s no separate children’s menu here, it’s the main menu in small portions. This applied to most of the dishes but not all – lasagne, we were informed by our waiter was a no no.

With a toddler as hungry as a stray kitten my husband ordered a starter of pane fino con pomodoro formaggio- thin crust garlic bread with half tomato and half mozzarella cheese and £4.65 to share.

‘A bit of a risky order’ I announce with a superior ‘I know everything about this child’s exacting eating habits’ kind of way. To my surprise he loved it, his hand swopping in for slice after slice. I mutter indignantly ‘he never eats anything like this at home’.

For mains, a child’s portion of spaghetti bolognese £5.50 was ordered for James whist us grown-ups chose linguine ai gamberetti (sautéed king prawns, chilli, garlic and parsley for £11.95) and panini with lemon chicken rocket and chips, £7.25. All the portions were generous, freshly made and well received.

The decor may be a bit bland but the atmosphere at Piccolino was most certainly not.

There were many families enjoying Sunday lunch together and we felt completely at ease with our toddler in tow. James sat still for most of the meal with only the occasional table dive.

It didn’t help that my husband’s meal came with chips either. Once he spotted those golden brown potato delights, no high chair, table or plastic dinosaur would be able to keep them apart. The staff at Piccalino were very friendly and attentive too, giving time to have a chat every so often.

So does my theory about restaurant eating with kids work? Ask me that question in a few years time. One thing is for certain, Piccolino, West Didsbury, is a great place to continue my research.

Rating: 16.00
Breakdown: 8/10 food
4/5 service
4/5 ambience
Address: Piccolino
6 Lapwing Lane
West Didsbury
M20 2WS
T: 0161 434 7524

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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Bob The ButcherFebruary 17th 2011.

West Didsbury Boho? Ha ha ha ha ha.

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