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The passion project of a band of foodies whose links to Italy – and each other – are as strong as their love for good food, wine and la dolce vita, The Italianlab is Wilmslow’s headquarters for true Italian culinary culture. Coffee, informal lunches or dinners, or a couple of casual drinks and shared cichetti are all possible at Italianlab’s Hawthorn Lane premises. Just round the corner from the city centre’s hub of shops and eateries around Bank Square and Grove Street, Italianlab is destined to become the area’s first and foremost destination for those seeking out the cuisine and culture of the bel paese.
Main course was tiny portion of one small sea bass fillet and a little mixed veg. That was it - for asking price of £19! No potatoes. I have had more as a starter in restaurants. I thought this was wholly inadequate. Spoke to waiter. A second portion of a sea bass fillet and potatoes was supplied so I was then satisfied. Unfortunately, the damage was done. I would not take friends as I would not want to be embarrassed by a repeat of this miserly service. However, the restaurant did deal with my complaint very well and the food was fine. My partner had a pasta main course and that was an adequate portion. If my experience is typical, it is unlikely that diners will return or recommend. The restaurant must address this issue if they want to survive in a competitive market. Only 2 weeks ago, I was in a similar restaurant in Didsbury and ordered sea bass. I received 2 large fillets, lots of veg and lots of potatoes and commented to the waiter that it was a very good portion. Service good. Based on original main course, I would only have given 2/6. The extra portion raised it to 3/6
Not enough staff so service was slow as soon as it got half full. Was also disappointed that 3 starters, a few mains and a few desserts were not available. Prices above average. Food quality generally good, but expect more for the price.
Small, intimate space that has a nice feel about it with some of the ingredients on display. Bit like dining in a deli. Small but interesting menu and always well cooked and presented.
The Italianlab was born out of the shared philosophy of sommelier Sara Giacomini (married to chef Diego Critelli, together they run a restaurant in Padova), Elizabeth Caddick (who together with Federico Squizzato produces Parma prosciutto in Padova), and Giuseppe Camastra (who together with Mariangela Cardone operate a restaurant in southern Italy’s Calabria). Their ethos is ingredient-driven, the idea being that if one respects the food, the rest will follow. And, with such pedigree behind them and the ability to rustle up and import the finest ingredients from regional Italy, it’s no surprise that The Italianlab’s town centre trattoria is fast becoming Wilmslow’s dedicated little Italy.
Lunch at The Italianlab is served from 11am until 3pm, and Wilmslow diners are advised to drop their usual sense of punctuality, do what the Italians do and stretch this ‘hour’ out as long as possible. Not a hard task, considering that sharing platters like the Parma prosciutto (from Elizabeth Caddick very own Paduan factory) with gnocco fritto, daily pasta dishes, gourmet Italian sandwiches, panini and piadini lie in wait alongside a stunning selection of fine Italian wines by the bottle or glass. Dinner continues the tradition, with the chef’s selected cichetti for two a popular draw for locals looking for light bites accompanied by a glass or two of prosecco in the town centre. Main courses ramp up portions with delicacies like Calabrian pasta, beef tagliata, Venetian-style veal liver and fried tuna with spicy caponata making their mark on Italianlab’s chalkboards down Hawthorn Lane. Given Wilmslow’s love of Italian class, advance reservations are advised.