Not only is London’s Wanstead High Street awash with restaurants, it’s also an ideal midway location for meeting up with friends. Whilst there’s every possible cuisine available, we opted for Piccolo, an Italian family run restaurant, near Wanstead Underground station, with a reasonably priced menu.
As lunch time opening hours were from 12pm to 2.30pm, we booked for noon, and were waiting on the doorstep for them to open. It was a small cosy restaurant, and we chose a table near the back away from what we thought might be a draughty door, but near the kitchen so we could see what was happening.
A ‘mini-lunch menu’ offers great value, with five starters at £5.95, a range of pizza and pasta for £7.95, or more substantial mains for under £10. However, as we were belatedly celebrating a 65th birthday, the three of us chose from the a la carte menu.
I began with Bresaola con rucola, thin slices of cured beef draped over a mountain of rocket and topped with shavings of parmesan cheese. With a squeeze of lemon and twist of black pepper, it was delicious and light. Other starters chosen were avocado prawns and fegatino di pollo con pancetta or chicken liver with bacon, brandy and brown sauce. Both were declared equally delicious although I was told that bread for mopping up the lovely tasty sauce would not have gone amiss.
My death row dish is lasagne, and it’s fair to say, I’ve eaten a lot in my time. However, this one excelled and, with a side salad, left me feeling not only happy, but full. Friends both chose one of the special dishes, a flattened chicken breast with a green peppercorn sauce. This was served with a side of sauteed potatoes and vegetables of the day, which were carrots and beans.
Sadly we were all too full for pudding but indulged in a bottle of house white, a non-oaked chardonnay, reasonably priced at £19.95.
Whilst our booking had not specified it was a celebratory lunch, the team of friendly young girls must have overheard us chatting about the birthday, and produced three profiteroles and a candle, which surprised us all.
Bearing in mind, we’d only read online reviews, which were all good, we were very happy with our choice. Our final bill, which also included a bottle of prosecco and a cup of tea, came to just over £40 each without service.