REVIEW: Piccolo Kitchen

Newcastle, County Down has become a great town for good food at any time of day. Pizza, burgers, coffee shops, cafés and restaurants line the Promenade, with a myriad of choice to satisfy any taste. We happened upon a fantastic pizzeria, right in the middle of Main Street, called Piccolo Kitchen.

Unassuming from the outside, this hidden gem may sit in the shadow of Slieve Donard, but inside you are transported to the main streets of Naples or Rome. Smells of roasted peppers, vine tomatoes and wood fired pizza ovens filled the senses. This was going to be good.

The décor is natural, simple in approach yet comforting and welcoming, and all executed with style and passion. This is exactly what we got from the food as well. If you think you’re nipping in for a quick pizza thrown through an oven think again.

What we experienced in this ‘Foodie’s Heaven’ was stunning.
We ordered what we thought were tapas style starters. The portion sizes were huge, the value for money here is exceptional.
Fire Roasted peppers, Feta and red onion on pesto lavished toasted ciabatta. Lightly spiced meatballs served on the daily pasta, which was penne pasta that day, all smothered with a rich Pomodoro sauce. Words fail me.

The deep earthy roasted peppers, taken to the edge of perfection melted away on the tongue only to be replaced with the creamy saltiness of feta cheese. The ciabatta was like Michael Angelo’s palate, rich reds and opulent greens painting a fresco of torn vine tomatoes and sharp red onion. The aroma of Italia made flesh in the artists stroke. The meat balls were generous, cooked without flaw and seasoned by a master’s hand. This was an experience.

We found ourselves melting in gasps of delight, in groans of satisfaction as we shared from each other’s plate eager that each would not miss out on what could only be described as a cooking masterclass.
Good produce treated with respect and understanding. The attention of a kitchen that cares. That’s all it takes to bring a great plate to the table. Being this good I had to try the pizza.

Piccolo’s prove their pizza dough for twenty-four hours to produce the perfect base. And they’re right, it does. And this is what I mean about kitchen’s that care. Passion outworked in attention to detail like this will always produce a great meal for the visitor.
Piccolo Calzone; those roasted red peppers, spinach, goats cheese and caramelised red onions. Even now I can still taste it. The base held up beautifully to the weight of the toppings. The snap and crunch of the wood-fired crust was divine. Al dente can be used here of the peppers, just that slight resistance to the bite, giving way to the sweetest flesh and then the velvet iron of spinach.

If you ever get the chance to visit St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, you will see a busy carnival of artwork everywhere. Mosaics, the bronze baldachin by Bernini and much more. But if you look hard enough, hidden in the first chapel on the right out of sight is a statue by Michael Angelo entitled ‘The Pieta’. Carved in marble with beautifully flowing lines, it is a vision of wonderfully simplistic beauty.
Piccolo Kitchen is such a place.

Paul McMath

Piccolo Kitchen can be found on Main Street in Newcastle, Co Down. It opens at 16:00 Tuesday to Friday, closing at 22:00 Tuesday to Thursday, 23:00 on Friday. Weekend opening is at 13:00, closing at 23:00 on Saturday and 22:00 on Sunday. Their menu can be found at and keep up-to-date on Facebook - @piccolokitchen.

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