Monday, 18 August 2008

Dicing with the Sicilian Don

"♪Summer, and the livin' is easy♪"... Gershwin, in the musical "Porgy and Bess". He is, of course, talking to us all. Especially me. Especially when one's hobby - nay, passion - is a food blog. Very little competition for seats, and joy and relief on the part of Maitres d' everywhere when you apologize for not making a reservation, but "might there be seats for two ... or four?"

So I was both delighted and bemused to arrive at Don Ciccio in Shibuya recently, and be whisked immediately to a booth near the kitchen. On a night which was obviously setting up to be very busy. With The Guru, The Duchess, and Lance Links.

I had been to this restaurant before in the delightful company of Sir James and Lady Ina, but confess with considerable shame that imbibing deeply of both the grape and the grappa left your Humble Correspondent so completely senseless that he was incapable of reviewing the establishment. And of walking ...

I now stand ready, Gentle Reader, of rectifying that fall into decrepitude. Don Ciccio is a fine restaurant, with a passion for the cuisine and wine of Sicily. The service is knowledgable, efficient and friendly. The food is interesting, and very well prepared. Think rustic, robust, and simple. In fact, prepare yourself for fuller flavours rather than subtlety. Explanations are detailed, and there's an admirable sense of discovery that seems part and parcel of the experience.

The wine is remarkably cost-efficient, although it is unlikely to bring Robert Parker much joy. We had some difficulty with one bottle which the sommelier agreed was only at 70% of its best (but which unfortunately still appeared on the bill).

I think the staff "make" the experience at Don Coccio - there seems to be an infectious atmosphere of fun and gusto in the air. It's easy to get caught up in it all, and with very reasonable prices, one can imagine making Don Ciccio a regular haunt. Well done to the redoubtable Ms Motonaga for finding this first time around, and to the Duchess for the second visit.

So take my advice and get around to Don Ciccio. You'll get an offer you can't refuse - good food and good wine in a happy and refreshing atmosphere.

Don Ciccio [Map]: 2-3-6 Shibuya, Shibuya Ward. t: 03-3498-1828
Rating: Food: 7; Wine: 6; Service: 7; Ambiance: 7; Price: 7 ($$). Total 34/50

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