A lunch venue just Med for summer

Piccolino's chef Yaroslaw Juszczak and events manager Sarah Elliott.
Piccolino's chef Yaroslaw Juszczak and events manager Sarah Elliott.
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We’re lunching al fresco on the terrace, the temperature is soaring and we’re bathed in sunshine.

We’re lunching al fresco on the terrace, the temperature is soaring and we’re bathed in sunshine.

The setting is cool, urban sophistication and the food is rich in Mediterranean flavours. So which chic Continental city are we in? Lyon? Milan? Nope; Sheffield. Out on the new, shimmering glass terrace at popular Italian restaurant Piccolino’s in Millennium Square, to be precise.

A few months ago the restaurant opened the 36m long, all-weather outdoor dining area and it is an idyllic setting for a summer in the city business lunch. The low seating is far more comfortable than it looks (though it is tricky to get out of if you’re in heels and a work skirt). And on colder dsays, the roof retracts, the heated lamps and even pashminas come out.

One side of the terrace overlooks the Winter Garden (the largest glasshouse in Europe), the other the St Paul’s Place plaza.

Sat sipping tall, lavishly iced drinks while perusing the lunch menu, we feel right posh. Though, the menu is the bargain two courses for £15 lunch special and the only thing in those tall frosted glasses is a rather delectable elderflower pop.

I’m lunching with Ald Media’s Adele Draper, PR and social media specialist. Shop talk gives way to excited squeals - firstly at the free ciabatta bread and oil, then at the food choice; eight starters and eight mains list costly ingredients like calamari, prawns and asparagus. We wonder if portion sizes will be stingy to warrant the low price.

But Adele’s starter, buffalo ricotta and asparagus risotto, is plentiful - and a good, perfectly-cooked dish. My ciabatta is topped with plenty of fay, juicy king prawns basted in chilli oil and lemon.

Mains are equally generous, though the starters outshone them. Adele declared her pretty peach, proscuitto ham and mozarrella salad would have been much better had the peach not been lightly cooked. “Served raw, it would have added bite and acidity,” she declared.

My sea bass fillet had been baked with black olives and capers - and rather too much oil. The flesh was moist, but so was the skin and the square of parchment paper left beneath it for artistic effect was drenched.

Table service was a tad pushy - understandably, they were trying to up-sell - but the kitchen service was swift and got us fed in an hour. All in all, an interesting, good value lunch in a delightful setting.

4 Millennium Square, Sheffield S1 2JJ, Tel: 0114 275 2698

Ratings our of six:

Food 4

Atmosphere 6

Service 4

Value 6

In an out in an hour: Yes

Parking: Q Park