By Martin Dawes THE deli visiting fraternity in Sheffield have sometimes found it hard to keep with the changes at Vincenzo Giove's Italian shop in Broomhill.
It started in 2002 when he took over the old British-orientated Beau Deli on Glossop Road and changed the name to Buon Deli.
Same meaning, different language, and Vincenzo – Vinny to his customers – also then ran the Buon Cibo restaurant a few hundred yards away.
Out went the roll mops and in came the ravioli and other goodies.
Of course, every proper Italian deli – Vinny is from Brindisi but came to Sheffield at the age of 12 – has to have a coffee bar and that soon followed.
The coffee bar spawned a cafe, at the back of the shop, where you could eat anything on the shelves and a bit more besides.
But the deli business is a hard one and Vinny reckoned he needed more than an A-board telling passers-by he was now a restaurant (by then he had started opening Friday nights).
So he switched the place round, dining area in the front, deli at the back to make the place look what it was: not a deli with a cafe but a restaurant with a deli. Friday nights switched to Saturdays and then, a couple of months ago, he began opening all week. Still keeping up?
With its mirrored walls, classy seating and classical music it reminds me of one of those upmarket little places you see in the middle of Italian cities.
"Well not too much, I hope," said my wife, remembering the time we were held up at gunpoint by a robber with a red bandana in a wine bar in Rome. But that's another story.
The menu is a mix of taking what's in stock or on the deli counter and what Vinny is cooking downstairs.
So the starters range from a plate of cured meats or the house pat, perhaps the cheese counter will be raided for roquefort, pear and walnut salad with rocket or the baked goats cheese, or you might build your own antipasti.
Mains run from rib eye steak with broccoli to char-grilled tuna, if you want to go into double figures, or a range of pasta and pizza for under a tenner and even – whisper it softly – pizzas. Oh, and there's a specials board.
The 'wine list' is novel. You wander over to the shelves and select one at no extra mark-up. I chose a fine, fruity single estate Vernaccio San Gimignano (13.90)
After a selection of fine mixed olives with olive bread (4.30) I started with a specials board frutti di mare (6.80), a plate of well-judged, crisp and slightly salty squid, cuttle fish and shell-on prawns on posh dressed leaves with a dollop of sweet chilli sauce.
Deep-fried prawns? Yes, the shells go brittle and edible although I couldn't bring myself to eat the heads.
Across the table my wife was going retro with a quarter of deep-fried cheeses with a raspberry olive oil salad (5.90).
It was back to the specials board again for my main, a slightly 'girly' artichoke tortellini with a 'ragu' of sunblushed tomatoes and asparagus (8.50).
The fresh pasta on sale is imported from Italy. Firm taut pasta enclosed the slightly fibrous filling and the sauce was remarkably gutsy.
Our most expensive dish was the baked chicken breast stuffed with mozzarella, pesto and more of those tomatoes, wrapped in parma ham and delivered on a mound of risotto (11.50).
It was excellent, all the flavours working well together and the rice particularly good in a creamy kind of way.
Our shared pear tart (the desserts are imported) was 3.90 and rather dull. Spirits were perked up again with a couple of excellent espressos (2.60).
We paid 60 for food on a fun night. PS: Could Vinny get the door fixed? Every time it bangs it shakes the windows.
477 Glossop Road, Broomhill, Sheffield. Tel: 0114 266 2235.
Open for meals Tues-Sat 11am-3pm and 6-9pm. Credit cards. No smoking. Disabled access. Street parking. Deli also open during restaurant hours.
Bistro / Italian category