One of my main complaints on my blog is the lack of decent restaurants in Preston. We are a city without a restaurant scene. Manchester, for example has two restaurants with Michelin ambitions, and a bunch of other quality eateries, from burger bars to gastro pubs to bistros and tapas bars.
Preston, well… Preston has Nandos.
However, there are a couple of places in Preston that are more than spicy chicken and fries, if you look hard enough. In the past I’ve praised Duk Bodega, and I love the simple honest soul food at Coco’s, but I’ve still not found great Italian food in the city (there are places I have visited and decided not to blog about it because a blog of me saying “meh” for 1000 words does not make great reading,) so tonight my dad and I visited Slice of Sicily in Fulwood, hoping to find something to rave about.
My dad returned on Tursday morning from an unsuccessful camping trip on his motorbike, soaked through to his skin, and declared “let’s go out for a meal tonight so I can get over this traumatic experience” and we chose to finally visit Slice of Sicily, as we’d been meaning to go for some time now. Slice of Sicily in Fulwood is the second location, with the original being in Penwortham, another suburb of Preston. In the daytime it operates as a deli, selling a fantastic range of Italian produce, store cupboard essentials (yes, capers are essential, shut up!), pasta, wines and spirits, and in the evening transforms into a Sicilian bistro.
We are greeted by a friendly waiter, who says to take any of the tables set out for two. I choose one in the corner, furthest away from the front door, and closest to all the produce on the shelves so I can have a proper good nosey. There is some brilliant stuff on the shelves, pastas I didn’t know existed, semolina flour for pasta, various preserves. It’s an Aladdins cave for foodies! Drinks and food were ordered after looking through the menu, my dad went for Birra Moretti, and I had the house red, which was an excellent quality house wine.
My dad went for Italian Black Pudding for his starter which was baked in a mustard Hollandaise sauce. The black pudding had a smoother texture than its British counterpart, and a much more subtle flavour. The sauce was creamy and indulgent. If only all black pudding tasted like this.
My starter was the Siciilian Style Sardines. Firstly, I’d like to address the elephant in the room… if a menu says “sardines”, I would expect more than one sardine. The menu also stated pesto was involved, either it wasn’t or it was very subtly done, and the dish benefited from this, the pesto would have been an adulteration too far. The sheer simplicity of bread, sardine and lemon juice is what made this little plate of food perfect.
When we ordered our food, I had a sinking feeling as the waiter returned, and reached to the shelf behind me and removed a box off the shelf. I then realised that’s what I had ordered. My first reaction was surprise, “what do you mean you don’t have ham knuckle prepared already in the kitchen,” but I then got down off my high horse and rationalised that boil in the bag cookery happens in restaurants all up and down the UK and if it’s delicious, then what a great advertisement for a product on their shelves…
My main of Stinco al Forno, a knuckle of ham, was a whopping great big piece of meat, twice the size that I was expecting, big enough to feed two, I’d say! It was as soft as you’d like, and just fell apart with the barest touch of the knife. It came in a white wine and Rosemary sauce, excellent for dunking bread into.
The Italian Focaccia Bread was a focaccia base pizza with rosemary, rock salt and olive oil, and it soaked up the sauce perfectly.
My dad went for one of my least favourite foods to order in a restaurant, steak. I’m firmly in the “order something you can’t make at home camp” when it comes to eating out. His Steak Funghi & Dolcelatte was cooked exactlyy as he’d ordered it, and he said it was one of the most tender steaks he’s ever eaten.
We also had sides of Roast Potatoes and “seasonal” Vegetables of the Day. The roasties were amongst some of the best I’ve ever had, almost as good as mine. Almost, but not quite. Again, the menu suggests pesto sauce is involved, thankfully, it doesn’t appear, it would have been like a drunk stranger at a wedding, anyway. As for the vegetables, they weren’t seasonal. Cauliflower hasn’t been in season since April, and won’t be back in until December, and broccoli not until next month! I would have liked to have seen broad beans, fennel, buttered radish, courgette and tender new season carrots instead of the regular everyday ones.
My dad has Amaretto Cake for pudding. I, being of sound mind, and unable to stand amaretto because of it tasting like marzipan (the worst “food” substance in the world), don’t ask to try a taste of this, but I am assured it was delicious, super almondy, and light as a feather. Unfortunately Slice of Sicily fall foul of two of my pet hates… squirty cream in restaurants and dusting a plate with coco powder. Please don’t think me a snob, I love squirty cream, and would happily squirt it into my wide open gob (hah, that sentence rhymed!) I’ll go absolutely mental with a can of it over a supermarket cheesecake, it’s mostly air anyway, so it’s health food, basically. However, come the revolution, I will ban squirty from restaurants, and make them use proper Chantilly cream instead.
My dessert was Italian Meringue Cake, which I inhaled in about three spoonfuls. It was super airy, and perfect after a big meal. Meringue and Chantilly cream, what more could you ask for?
This was all washed down with a refreshing, ice cold glass of limoncello. There’s not enough words to describe how much I love this stuff, every meal should finish with it.
Well done Preston, you’ve got another place I can recommend, finally.