Friendly, charming traditional Italian restaurant that offers good food at good value
Caciopepe is a brand new Italian restaurant in the heart of Edinburgh (based in the premises of what was the Patio). There is a steep wee slope that leads you in to the warm red walled and wrought ironed interior reminiscent of traditional Italian restaurants, but there is a sharp sleekness here to counteract that older image. The whole right hand wall displays a blown up image of an Italian street and osteria with a bright red scooter parked outside, setting the atmosphere nicely.
With that and the lovely warm Italian welcome from our Barri waiter, Antonello (that’s his origin, not an old Edinburgh term of approval though the term would definitely apply!) who introduced us to Neapolitan chef Prisco, we were glad to have arrived. The restaurant is on two levels, with the lower area being accessed by means of a short flight of steps so is not suitable for wheelchair access. There are various coloured wooden chairs in different styles throughout that add charm to the place.
My chum and I were lunching from the extensive set menu that is priced at £6.95 for 3 courses. There was the usual Italian fare of bruschetta, salads, pizza and pasta on offer and within that a good range of choices of sauces. I went for Spizioso which was a mix of avocado, spinach, pancetta, a piquant honey mustard dressing and a mix of radicchio and frisee leaves. This was a generous starter that I personally found to be a bit heavy on the frisee leaves because of their slightly stringy quality. R. chose the minestrone soup, served with fresh bread, that she reported was full of flavour and hearty - just right for the biting November day it was.
My choice of main course was Pollo al fungi – marinated breast of chicken in a white wine mushroom sauce served with roast potatoes and sprigs of fresh rosemary. When it came to the table, the grey colour of the mushroom sauce was not especially appetising but eating it was a different matter. The chicken was tender and the serving was substantial. The sauce was very mushroomy and if I’d had room would have wanted to sop it up with some bread but the ample amount on my plate made that wish a luxury. Best to leave room for pudding!
R. chose lasagne that came piping hot in a gorgeously smooth tomato sauce with plenty of pasta layers holding the delicious meat and cheese sauces inside. My discerning diner definitely gave it the thumbs up!
The choice of pudding on the set menu was fruit salad or tiramisu. What can I say? No contest! Tiramisu it was for both of us. It arrived served with a perfect scoop of utterly delicious vanilla ice cream and the Italian trifle was moist, light and heavenly. The dish was dusted with chocolate powder and lightly drizzled with chocolate sauce which may have seemed like gilding the lily, but in fact the amount was pitched to perfection. We ended with espressos served with a mini biscuit which was the either/or third option in the set menu but who can resist Italian coffee?
The staff were discreetly attentive and friendly offering the eponymous cheese and pepper service before having to be asked. R. and I had a very relaxed and pleasant experience and will certainly return.