The True Taste of Italy: Tre Ciccio Ramsbottom | GIFTED

After successfully setting up shop in Altrincham and Bramhall, the team at Tre Ciccio (pronounced 'tray keech-ee-o') decided to come to Ramsbottom, a tiny town I love to visit. Their mission? To bring an authentic taste of Italy to Manchester, inspired by their own excellent experience at La Terrazza, a family run restaurant in Calvanico.

I was invited to dine at Tre Ciccio in exchange for an honest review.

First Impressions
My first thought was 'wow, this is like the TARDIS!'. What was a little old stone building has been brought to life with a mix of old and new, cosy and contemporary. The outside is in keeping with the street and town, but inside you'll see a sleek bar, suspended exposed bulbs and a spacious upper level, combined with traditional stone floors and a mural of fruit and loaves on the wall.

We were taken to a warm, cosy corner with a fair size table -I hate feeling cramped- and quickly given time to peruse the menu. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it didn't list 20 kinds of pasta, burgers, and risottos, but was condensed into a smaller selection of fresh and interesting options.

a plate with a pile of dough rolls, and a wooden basket containing pieces of garlic bread
a wooden basket containing pieces of garlic bread with bubbles and black char marks from the wood fired oven

To Start
I'm not usually much of a bread eater, but for starters we plumped for rotolini and schiacciata, and I'm very glad we did. The rotolini, whirls of mozzarella and ham in pizza dough, are something of a Tre Ciccio speciality and proved to be very popular on the night both with the diners around us and my boyfriend. I personally preferred the schiacciata; to call it 'just' a garlic bread would be an injustice, this was the garlic bread of the Gods. 

One of the lovely members of the team had explained that the dough is a Neapolitan recipe that is very wet, resulting in a lighter bake that is chewy but not tough nor heavy on the stomach, and the schiaccata showed it off perfectly. The dough was beautifully fresh and yeasty, with a smoky flavour from the wood oven, and just the right amount of flaky salt and garlic. It made simple ingredients into something sensational, setting the tone for the rest of the meal.

a large black dish with steaming pieces of chicken and potatoes in a tomato sauce

The Main Event
Since we'd already had a taste of Tre Ciccio's divine dough, we decided on something different for our main: a roast chicken and potato bake to share. There were 4 varieties to choose from, all using locally sourced chicken. 

We opted for polla alla cacciatore, or hunter's style chicken with rosemary, olives, and mushrooms. In all honesty I thought just chicken and potatoes might be a bit boring, but I had to eat my words because this dish was utterly delicious. I don't even like olives but I found myself searching for more in the bowl because they worked so well with the other flavours. Even the potatoes had absorbed the cooking juices and become so tasty and moist.

To accompany our main Claudia, our bubbly server, suggested we tried the broccoli stems wilted with parmesan cheese. While I wasn't a huge fan, it was lovely to try something new and authentically Italian. It felt like we were enjoying the same meal a family in Tuscany might sit down to, as opposed to the same old passata laden pasta you'd find in a chain. 


To Finish
As soon as we saw the menu my boyfriend guessed I would choose the torta al cioccolato,and he was right. What can I say? I'm a creature of habit and a chocolate fiend, and the sound of the pistachio gelato served alongside it sealed the deal.

My first few bites of the ganache filling the pastry were too rich and dark even for me, but when I let the creamy, nutty gelato melt over it I found that they were a match made in heaven. If you're looking for a lighter dessert, try the rhubarb panna cotta, but if, like me, you love something indulgent, you must try this.

Meanwhile, he made short week of his apple and pear crumble, which was served in the same light pastry case as my tart. He said that the pear helped to sweeten the apple, and commented on how smooth the vanilla gelato was.

Overall
Tre Ciccio is the place to go if you want something different, something fresh. When you see Italian chefs on television turning a few quality ingredients into a mouthwatering meal, that is exactly what you taste. 

It isn't the cheapest but not ridiculous, and the prices are very fair for generous portions of such lovely food. In fact, our main was £26.95 for the 2 of us and we couldn't finish it, so the waiter kindly offered to box it up, meaning Tre Ciccio wasn't wasting food and I got to enjoy it all over again for lunch the next day.

While the menu was different to a Britalian restaurant, so was the atmosphere. There was definitely a buzz of excitement, and the team were constantly moving between tables to deliver food and menus or check on the diners, but from our cosy corner it didn't feel hectic at all.

Everyone was looked after, and even with the restaurant full, the owners and servers found time to say hello and tell us more about the menu. It was obvious that they were excited about bringing their business to Ramsbottom, and I'm excited to have that garlic bread right around the corner.

What is your favourite Italian dish?

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