Taking a stroll one night around the back streets we discovered a hidden gem tucked behind the main square church. A two star degustation restaurant. We hadn’t eaten anywhere particularly fancy so we decided to treat ourselves and booked in for lunch the next day.
A gorgeous little restaurant, simply and sophisticatedly decorated. It had a comfortable aura which made you feel instantly relaxed. I sometimes find with high end, degustation restaurants you feel the need to play a part, to act as though you “belong”, here I felt I could have rocked up in my sweatpants and a t-shirt and would have been equally as welcomed.
One of the reasons I love degustations is that you don’t have to chose what to eat. You pick the big or small menu and alcohol or no alcohol. We went big with no alcohol. When they came to take our drinks order I made a beeline for the non alcoholic cocktails. Being my indecisive, pregnant self that waiter made a suggestion. “Why not go for the…….’pomegrante’…….. drink. Pomegranate is known to be extremely good for pregnancy including helping with the growth of the baby.” I absolutely loved that he made such a personal and thoughtful suggestion (and even though I don’t like pomegranate I said yes because I appreciated his effort. And I knew Georges would drink it if I didn’t.)
It’s difficult to explain how good the food was because it’s something you really need to try to understand. The dishes were based on traditional flavours and combinations of Sicilian food but of course done with a touch more finesse and delicacy. A couple of my favourites included the cheese and carbonara sauce filled gnocchi with pork and cuttlefish meatballs, topped with squid and mussels as pictured below. Ok, that doesn’t sound quite so delicate. However, for something that sounds like they just threw it all in the pan and hoped for the best it tasted very thought through. The gnocchi had more a texture of a dumpling and the cheese was incredibly gooey and oozing. I loved how unique a dish it was.
Now, from the strange to the simple. It doesn’t get more basic than a sun dried tomato ciabatta but it’s usually the simple ones that surprise you. The bread is from a town called Monreale which is famous for its semolina flour bread. It has a beautiful golden, colour and is slightly nutty in flavour. Georges and I become obsessed with this bread and tried to track it down in every town we visited.
It wouldn’t be a trip to Sicily without scoffing down a cannoli……or four. Not all at one time of course. Here we politely shared one between us but I can’t say that wasn’t difficult. I twas served with ricotta, almond sorbet and a prickly pear sauce (another commonly used ingredient in Sicily). The pastry was extremely short and I loved the combination of the fruity, nutty flavours.
“While SICILY filled my heart, Ciccio Sultano FILLED my appetite.”
And of course no degustation is complete without petit fours. A mixture of mandarin and cinnamon jellies and brownies. And as if all that yummy food wasn’t enough they go and give us a beautiful coffee table book with stories of the restaurant and recipes from their menu. At no extra charge. That’s the Sicilians for you. It was a really special momento of not just our experience at the restaurant but of our entire holiday.
What I'm Wearing
Dress: Portmans // Sneakers: Stylerunner // Sunglasses: Sunglass Hut