20 Homer Street, London, England, W1H 4NA, United Kingdom

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Briciole (crumbs in Italian) opened in February 2012 in a quiet Marylebone street, and in terms of ownership is a cousin of Latium, with chef Maurizio Morelli having at least a passing relationship with the kitchen here. This is part deli, part restaurant, serving sandwiches and home-made bread as well as pasta dishes. The dining room is simple, with no tablecloths, a wooden floor, and plenty of natural light. The menu was extensive and moderately priced, as we shall see. The wine list was exceptionally kind in its mark-ups. Example wines were Planeta Alastro 2010 at £27.80 for a wine that you can find in the high street for around a tenner, Isole e Olena Chardonnay 2010 at £40.50 for a wine that costs £24 on a shop, and Allegrini La Poja 2006 at £58 for a wine that will set you back £46 retail. At the top end of the list there were some bargains, with Antinori 2001 at £97.50 for a wine that will set you back around £83 (which I couldn’t resist), and Ornellaia 2008 at £162 compared to a retail price of around £102.

At a lunch I tried vitello tonnato, the classic Piedmontese dish consisting of cold slices of veal covered with a mayonaisse flavoured with tuna, in this case enlivened with capers; carefull made, and a good way to start the meal (13/20). Rigatoni with ragu was also nice enough, the ragu a little grainy in texture but the pasta freshly made (12/20). At a separate dinner I sampled bread made from scratch, which included light rosemary focaccia and decent ciabatta (14/20). A starter of pea soup (£5) with burrata cheese was disappointing, lacking sufficient pea flavour and under-seasoned (11/20). A salad of goat cheese, beetroot and walnuts (£4) was better, with good radicchio but marred by rather past its best lettuce (12/20). Arancini (£3) were good though, with a crisp coating (14/20). The main courses were of a consistent level, the pasta made fresh in the kitchen. Rigatoni arrabiata (£6) was a little al dente and had a nicely judged slightly spicy sauce (13/20). Tagliatelle of artichokes (£8) was the best dish, with very good pasta and tender artichokes (easily 14/20). A side salad of rocket was also good.

Desserts we tried were a tiramisu (£3) that needed more coffee punch (12/20) and pleasant chocolate ice cream (£2.50) and lemon sorbet (13/20). Home-made biscuits and good coffee finished the meal. Service was friendly and capable. Objectively the food was somewhere between 12/20 and 13/20, but this is a place that is hard to dislike, with its warm welcome and unusually moderate prices. It would be possible to eat three courses here for £15 a head plus drinks. In the end we went crazy with the wine and ended up spending £82 each, but with a modest bottle of wine between two it would be easy to eat here for £30 a head.

Further reviews: 04th Sep 2015 | 14th Aug 2014

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