Ciccio Changkats Italian-Italian
Ciccio has been around for a while. Among the constant circulation of names and managers that some establishments go through, a place that has existed for 12 years has to be offering something worthwhile and lasting.
To save time, I’m just going to change what I think, not offer options or explain why so just compare with original and see what you think!
Slap bang in the middle of bar street it has the typical Italian ambience – dimmed lights, high chairs, lamps made of black cast iron and lots of wood and brick giving a rustic feel. It is open at the front but despite being cool outside the day I went, the temperature inside was comfortable.
Despite having room for only around 30 to 40 people, there were plenty of staff zipping around diligently scanning the tables. None of the finished dishes stayed on our table for longer than two minutes and the staff was very attentive and polite.
Ciccio has a wide selection of wines and spirits, however, not being a sommelier, I cannot say more than that the wine went well with the dishes I ordered.
When I go to a restaurant I like to ask the waiter for the chef’s own creations and if there is a particularly popular dish. At Ciccio’s I actually got to speak to the manager, a native Italian who had a lot of suggestions and seemed passionate about the olives that came from a small village in the south of Italy. That was a good indication for the rest of the evening. So far so good.
Starters: (Starters range from 15 to 25 ringgit)
Unfortunately my dinner companion had big plans for the night so he withheld from ordering a starter therefore limiting the dishes I could try, shame on him. I, however, ordered the beef Carpaccio. It was thinly sliced, moist and garnished with rocket salad and large slices of parmesan. I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought both flavour and texture very well balanced. Good, simple, delicious and typically Italian
Now, since my companion didn’t have a starter, we decided to order three main dishes between the two of us. Not a bad idea as it turned out. And, as we were reviewing an Italian restaurant, we felt obliged to try the pizza and pasta.
We started with Pizza Napolitana. My companion insisted on having the anchovies, despite my warnings about the implications for his future date.
It arrived swiftly and looked good. I had seen the large stone oven in the back of the restaurant, always a good sign! The pizza was average size and had a thin Italian crust ,although not the super genuine paper thin version, more a “western European Italian” dough. Every bite was fishy and salty and full of anchovy flavour – a bit strong for me but my companion thoroughly enjoyed it. Pizzas range from 28 to 45 ringgit. This may seem a bit pricey, but I guess you pay for location and ambience too.
The pasta: Oh, the pasta was good! My personal favourite was the Ravioli di Pesce. “Squid Ink seafood Ravioli with baby scallops, pink peppercorn and cream saffron sauce” is what the menu says, and it’s as a good description. The ravioli were tender and had a good salty seafood flavour. There were plenty of scallops on a bed of ravioli, covered in rich, creamy sauce. The pink peppercorns worked really well, accentuating the flavour and saving the dish from being just creamy. This pasta was quite heavy and very filling. This dish was my companion’s favourite dish of the night and I have to agree. I find a creamy sauce, if done correctly, enriches the other flavours, and this one let the seafood tang and the saffron linger, while the peppercorns delivered a soft spicy finish. Another very well balanced dish, though not suited for those who wish to go dancing after.
The second pasta dish was Linguini al branzino. “Seabass with Red chicory, garlic, a touch of chilli and white wine sauce.” This dish is a creation of the chef and one of the most popular pasta dishes here. The linguine was served with a Vongola base and seabass, fresh cherry tomatoes and lettuce were added for some crunch. The seabass was delicious and very tender. The linguini was al dente and the dish was altogether more traditional Italian, lighter and with oil and garlic instead of a heavy creamy sauce. The addition of seabass was the chef’s own creation. It was excellent and I can find nothing bad to say about it except that the stronger flavours dripped to the bottom of the plate and needed to be scooped up with every new bite!
The Ravioli was 45 and the Linguine was 38 ringgit.
Oh, my bloomin’ companion was full so he didn’t want dessert! What a lightweight! I chose the Panna Cotta as it was with coconut and I’m a fool for coconut.
Wow! ‘Good choice!’ is all I can say. It came swiftly and jiggled joyfully when the waiter brought it to us. The Panna Cotta was light and refreshing, covered in slowly hardening, house made chocolate sauce. The additional coconut sprinkles were not really necessary as the Panna Cotta itself was already packed with coconutty goodness. Even though I was already full, it went down easily, just the way good dessert should. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Ciccio is a straightforward Italian restaurant. The menu is limited to some classics and a few more original choices, but quite compact nonetheless. The food is of a high quality and service is excellent. Ciccio doesn’t push the boundaries or try to be overly impressive. Its unpretentious and it doesn’t baffle you with choices. It’s the good ol’ Italian restaurant that every city needs and being just what you expect it to be, it delivers. If you feel like good Italian food, you should check out Ciccio.