La Piccola Italia, Limerick - May, 1997

To celebrate the May Bank Holiday, Mary suggested that we try out La Piccola Italia, an Italian (tchh, obvious...) restaurant in that cultural backwater, Limerick City. Our friend Eleanor Delaney had recommended the restaurant some time before, and it was only our reticence at travelling around Stab City at night that had prevented us from trying the restaurant out before. But then we got brave...

The evening did not start out terribly auspiciously. We got to Limerick in the pissings of rain, only to find that the restaurant wasn't ready for us quite yet. Would we mind maybe going for a drink for 15/20 minutes while they got a table ready for us? Is the Pope the Vatican's No. 1 bachelor? Of course we wouldn't mind. So we went around the corner to the White House, one of the those grotty, "character"-filled pubs that Irish cities tend to specialise in (cf. Mulligan's of Poolbeg Street, Dublin). Mary had a dry martini and I had the worst pint of Heineken I have ever drunk, bar none. It didn't so much taste like weasel's piss straied through a jamrag, as chemically-treated weasel's piss etc. etc. I nearly barfed it all up. But did I complain about the pint? Naaah... I'm not the complain-y type.

Ennawez, I wasn't inclined to hang around too long in the pub, so he high-tailed it back to the restaurant. And who should we see through the window of the restaurant but the bould Dessie O'Malley, former leader of the Progressive Democrats. He was looking as grumpy as ever. We didn't exchange pleasantries...

The decor of La Piccola Italia is typical:- red check tablecloths and empty Chianti bottles hanging from the beams. Very homely (if you're Italian) and pleasant ambience, marred only by the traditional Irish music played in the background. And what's wrong with Mario Lanza, then (apart from the fact that he's dead these 40 years...)?

For starters

, Mary had stuffed mushrooms with garlic, with which she declared herself well pleased. I had antipasto misto, which comprised largely of salami and pickles. Delicious and just the thing to rid one of the taste of that bloody Heineken.

For the main course, Mary had fettucine al fredo (Mary being a pasta fetishist, known to expound at great length about the merits and demerits of various types of pasta). It looked gorgeous and the happy munching and slurping sounds emanating from Mary's corner of the table indicated that she rather liked it too. I had bistecca alla pepe, with mushrooms, broccoli and chips. Very nice and juicy steak and a mountain of chips. Too much for one man...

For dessert, Mary opted for coppa innamorati, a huge dollop of hazelnut ice-cream. I had coppa mangia e beri, more ice-cream with fruit salad, (unidentified, but tasty) liqueur and cream. Yummo. We finished off with coffee.

Our wine for the evening was a half-carafe of house red. Oh the curse of the drink/driving laws!

I have to say that I was delighted with the meal, the ambience and particularly with the freindly and efficient service. Would I go back again? Soitently, even if only to see if it lives up to my 9/10 rating in the future...

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