Boozy Foodie (she said):
We were invited to Ciao Baby Cucina’s flagship store at Montecasino to taste and sample some of the new and revamped menu items – ready to be launched in April 2017!
The hospitality of the team was top notch, hosted by manager Micheal Holiasmenos – and the service was friendly and efficient. For those of you who don’t know (I sure didn’t), this is a family run business with restauranteur Theo Holiasmenos at the helm and his other sun, Basil Holiamenos, in charge of whipping up fabulous creations in the kitchen.
We started off with a few virgin cocktails – I had a ginger mojito, and really enjoyed the fresh combination of mint and ginger. We also digged into a pre-starter of crispy focaccia, served with fresh garlic, chillies, parmesan and a delicious olive tapenade. Enough to whet your appetite.
It also gave us time to appreciated our surroundings. This restaurant is conveniently located next to the Teatro at Montecasino, with a full view of the piazza area and the water fountain. Real relaxing – the ideal spot for long and lazy lunches or romantic dinners.
A variety of dishes appeared out of the kitchen, starting off with a combination platter of various buschettas. Fresh toppings and interesting flavour combinations – beautiful presented, a charcuterie board to die for and 2 vegetarian options as well – one being a gorgeous looking mushroom mousse withe exotic mushrooms and gorgonzola. I am actually reluctant to give too much detail, will just tease you with the photos – because I really would prefer if you go and experience the tastes and flavours yourself!
A real treat was this lemony palette cleanser in a glass! (Apologies, this isn’t the best picture – our sunny afternoon weather changed, so we lost some ‘natural’ light!)
This is the ideal time to mention that Ciao Baby Cucina makes their own gelato, a wide variety of tastes and flavours – made on-site every day. So this palette cleanser was also a sneak peak of that – some lemon sorbet, pomegranate syrup and soda water.
And the we were treated to the new risottos to be added to the menu! A beautifully presented Beetroot Risotto and, my favourite of the day, a Lamb Risotto. Yes, lamb! Meaty and super tasty. And yes, I have so much more than ‘just a taste’!
We had the opportunity to spend some time chatting with this family, and got a personal insight into their vision and future plans of the establishment and franchise.
I was very impressed with the energy and enthusiasm of the team who is on a mission to revive and enhance the experience of dining at Ciao Baby – with improved service and improved menu offerings. They have listened to their customers and also want to offer a more comtemporary take on the current menu items, both the food and cocktails – and on what we think “Italian food” should be. This family business wants to introduce the public to lighter and more trendy food items, modern presentation and new taste combinations. With fresh inspiration and ideas coming straight from the current food vibe in the UK, bringing it home to local customers. Watch this space – more exciting things coming from this dynamic team soon! This are definitely looking up for Ciao Baby Cucina – bigger and better.