It’s the restaurant you might cycle or drive by on St Peter’s and think: must go for lunch there one day, or possibly dinner. It’s Italian / Mediterranean and offers a more intimate experience than Pizza Express, which is slap-bang opposite.
A £10 lunch grabs the eye, and for at least a year I’ve been thinking, why not – let’s have a romantic lunch. For starters we have the soup of the day, mushroom, which was pleasingly light and creamy. I have bruschetta, tomatoes on toast to the layman, but with that Mediterranean mix of red onions, black olives, parsley and olive oil which makes it so much more than the Midlands’ tea of childhood.
For main we have Salmon Nicosie, grilled salmon on a bed of French beans, potatoes, capers and red peppers; and chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham with a mustard sauce. Both were cooked to perfection and the mustard sauce was one of the best I’ve ever had: wholegrain mustard, white wine, cream, a little garlic. As every chef knows, a chicken breast has little flavour, but the Parma ham, asparagus and sauce certainly made it dance on the old palate.
Our waitress, Gabriela, speaks Italian, helps with pronunciation and is as attentive as you could wish for. She thinks we’re full but we share a pudding: orange and polenta cake, served with strawberries and ice-cream. All as it should be and a great way to spend an idle Tuesday.
But it’s not just the delicious food and ambiance which makes it worth a visit. Amici also has a sense of history. There’s a photo of Willows the fishmongers, which was on the site from 1920-1958, on the back of the menu. And it continues a tradition of independent businesses which it’s a pleasure to support. Does anyone really want a town full of chain restaurants? More evidence of valuing history is the owner’s beautiful vintage Fiat 600. He clearly embraces the very best of Italian style, which includes his own chic cocktail bar at the back for diners.