Contini

Contini has recently undergone a fabulous refurbishment both aesthetically and with their menus: smaller tasty portions perfect for sharing.

I spotted their offer of 2 primi, 2 secondi and a contorno to share with Venus cocktails for two on Itison and jumped at the chance to try this family restaurant that I have heard many good things about.

Making a decision was hard but helped by the sweet and fragrant Venus cocktail; prosecco mixed with Italian wild strawberry Fragolino liquer, dried crushed strawberries and lavender. The cocktail was heaven but could have done without the dried lavender, it was a chewy mouthful that got in the way of a great cocktail.

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I began with the carbonara; not my usual choice for a starter but the combination of trofiette pasta, smoked pig cheeks, broad beans, Griersons organic eggs and pecorino sardo was too tempting to miss.

I was not disappointed; the smoked pig cheeks were wonderfully salty, coupled with the sweetness of the broad beans and mild nuttiness of the pecorino this gave a classic dish a modern and delicious revival.

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My sister went for the salame; salame calabrese, roasted aubergine, mint créme fraîche, pomegranate and pistachio. This dish was light but full of flavour; the mint créme fraîche and the salame were divine together and the crunch of the pistachio gave texture to this inventive combination.

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We ordered a bottle of the 2016 Trebbiano/Gargenega, Ponte Pietra with it’s almond blossom and green apple aromas it worked well with the food and was exquisite glass after glass.

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Primi’s down and onto secondi’s we were excited to taste the next round. I chose the Milanese; Scottish free range chicken Milanese style in breadcrumbs with toasted almonds, cooked Amalfi lemons, caper berries and gremolata. The breadcrumbs were crispy, the chicken moist and it absorbed the oil and lemon beautifully. Again Contini’s use of nuts in their dishes worked perfectly, the almonds were the perfect addition to a fresh, tasty dish.

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Sister Tinto decided on the Branzino; chargrilled seabass with Pachino tomatoes and Taggiasca olives. The skin crispy and the fish cooked impeccably, we could not fault one thing about this dish.

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We chose the Zucchine as our contorno; raw ribbons of courgette and Capezzana olive oil with Parmigiano Reggiano DOP and fresh chilli. A nice idea that looked enticing on paper but could have used more chilli and the Parmigiano over powered the courgette.

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For small portions you definitely leave feeling full and satisfied, the food is colourful, fresh and delicious. I admire Contini for their bold choices and flavours because it works, so well. I will be coming back with friends to try more of their exciting dishes which are indeed perfect for sharing.