Ciao at Rico’s – a review of the new Cicchetti and cocktail bar.
Updated: Jan 6
Ciao at Rico’s is a smart, stylish Italian restaurant sharing owners with The Seafood Restaurant and The Broughton. Tall elegant tables, high ceilings and a dark colour palette give a Venetian feel but despite the polish, this new Cicchetti bar runs a £15 for two courses deal. The current cost-of-living crisis afflicting clientele has been considered but does not affect quality or portion size. Cicchetti implies snack but the dishes we eat are substantial.
Liz and I are seated and order Franciacorta, sparkling wine from the Lombardy region of Italy. These glasses of creamy, smooth bubbles rival champagne and leave prosecco dying in the dust. There is even a term for the wines silky texture ‘saten’.
I have Beetroot Salad for my starter – and the chef Paul Barber (pedigree includes The Balmoral) has gone to town. A generous pile of sweetly roasted purple and golden heritage beets are caressed by whipped goats’ curd, sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts and gilded with pretty swirls of syrupy balsamic. Across the table Liz has Tortellini brodo, pasta in broth which is the culinary equivalent of a hug from Nonna. We also order some Leek and Chilli Croquettes and Liz comments on how the spice gently enhances the flavour of the veg. These are proper croquettes which snap open and ooze bechamel.
I choose Mushroom Risotto for my main course which has a runny consistency, meaty porcini, snips of tarragon, aged Parmesan and a squeeze of lemon. Liz has Sicilian Fennel Sausage Ragu. The dishes inspire us to comment on the how herbs elevate food, also demonstrated by liberal rosemary in our fish-finger shaped Crisp Potato and Rosemary. Liz is a bad influence ordering extra carbs with each course.
As it is ‘treat day’ we also explore the cocktail list which is cleverly designed with colour charts to depict the flavour profile of each drink. My Italy 75 has an orange, lilac and yellow bar chart indicating that it is bitter, sweet and sour. Liz’s Lychee Martini is sweet and sour.
Service is as impeccable as the food and drink offering; friendly, professional and courteous.
We are too full for dessert (£20 for three courses) and reluctantly have to decline Affogato or Meadowsweet Custard. Our sacrifice however, means there are plenty of reasons to return to Ciao. (S. Wilson)
Ciao at Rico's | 58A North Castle St, Edinburgh EH2 3LU | Follow @ciaoatricos on instagram for further details
Visit www.ciaoatricos.co.uk for all menus and bookings. Open Tuesday - Saturday 12pm - 11pm.