“Re-Birth Of Tuscan Tapas”
I went to dinner the other night at Tempo in Curzon Street which is owned by Henry Togna, a friend of the family we’ve known for years.
They were serving ‘Cicchetti’ which is the Venetian name for tapas or small snacks normally served with an aperitif. After complimenting Henry on his menu, he said “Riccardo, you are the unsung hero of ‘Cicchetti’, you were doing this back in the early 90’s before anyone else”
Henry was right. It started me thinking about when I started Riccardo’s on May 30th 1995. The whole menu was tapas dishes. Charles Campion wrote the following in Rough Guides
"Riccardo has introduced a “Spuntino” menu, which is rather like an Italian meze – you are encouraged to have several courses and this is made easier by small but perfect size portions. The food is very simple, very delicious and very Italian. This is a very relaxing, very self-indulgent way to eat. The menu lists – and for once list is the right word – some forty-five different dishes. Emphasis is always put on simplicity and quality of ingredients. The food is always fresh and due to high turnover, many dishes are sold out by the end of the evening. An imposing wine list is exclusively Italian except for half a dozen famous-name champagnes. The list repays investigation as there are a good many interesting bottles from the lesser known Italian wine regions: the offerings go all the way from an exceptional house wine to Sassicaia."
−Charles Campion ‘RESTAURANT WRITER OF THE YEAR’
We didn’t have regular portions and some customers didn’t understand (probably because we didn’t explain the concept properly) and so over the years the menu changed and the ‘tapas’ theme was largely lost.
Well thanks to Henry, that conversation became the catalyst for our renewed and improved “Tuscan Tapas” menu. I say improved because we’ve kept the regular menu and introduced a separate list for the tapas dishes.
We have created new portions which are served on smaller plates and the portions are ⅓, ½, or ⅔’s of the size of the regular dishes which a corresponding price. So the ½ size portions are ½ priced, the ⅓ size portions are ⅓ of the price etc. Prices range from £2.95 to £8.95.
We suggest a selection of dishes as follows:-
3-4 tapas dishes per person
1-2 tapas dishes to start and 1 regular portion as a main course
1 regular dish to start and 1 regular dish as a main
(There are large portions available if you wish)
The menu is still in list format and in no particular order. This is done on purpose for a couple of reasons. Firstly so that you can have whatever you like and in whatever order you choose. I learned this in Tuscany when I was cooking in the early 90’s when I visited “La Castellana”. You can read about “How Riccardo’s was born” here. (link to story opens new page) Secondly, I made the list menu to try to get people to read the menu and maybe try something new.
The new menu has also allowed us to re-create the “Tuscan taster” menu which is 5 courses and the “Tuscan Feast” which is 8 courses and can be ordered by special arrangement (this will be the order of our Christmas Day menu – Yes, we are open on Christmas day this year!)
But we always try to remember that we are here to serve YOU! So please do not hesitate to let me know how you want to be served and if there is ever anything we can do to make your experience with us more enjoyable.
Riccardo’s is about YOU!
SHARING THE LOVE!
As a celebration between now and Christmas we are now open right the way through.
We’ll be open Christmas day and Boxing Day and every day through the holiday period.
We’ve also re-introduced some really healthy dishes:-