This man's Sicilian dream is for all to share
Good things come in small packages, so the saying goes, and this Sicilian restaurant in Crosspool is no exception, being cosy, but in no way cramped.
In fact, Cuore Siciliano is airy, cheerful and welcoming, with its authentic decor and red and white tables.
It is a small restaurant only in that it is limited to eight or so tables, but this allows plenty of personal space and adds to its charm. Tables can be rearranged to accommodate larger groups
We felt comfortable from the moment we entered.
We were a little early but that was not a problem. Co-owner Danila Sardo greeted us like old friends, and immediately offered us a choice of tables.
This eatery invites you to take your own wine for a small corkage fee, which we did, and we were soon settled, with wine uncorked, and water too, to peruse the many enticing offerings on the menu.
The very pleasant waiter, Mario de Caro, joined us to explain the choices on the specials board, from which we did eventually pick one starter and one main. He painstakingly went through the board with every new couple or party seated, and was happy to advise on any other item on the menu.
We were looking forward to the food, all freshly prepared by chef and owner Antonino Buscemi, who has worked extensively around the UK, and decided to follow his Sicilian dream in February this year.
He came to Sheffield in 2014 to share his culinary skills within the city, and in Cuore Siciliano, is able to serve the food he has a particular passion for.
The pair have a strong service ethic, and Danila said that customers respond in kind to their friendliness.
To begin, my starter from the specials board featured asparagus wrapped in prosciutto ham with delicate seasoning and a cheese sauce, which was perfectly prepared, and left me wanting more.
All the food we enjoyed throughout the evening was freshly cooked, inviting by presentation, and piping hot.
My friend's Funghi Ripieni consisted of Portobello mushrooms topped with tuma - a soft Sicilian cheese, with garlic and mixed herbs. It was devoured with relish.
This was followed by Risotto al Nero di Seppia, a risotto tossed with squid ink, shallots, onion, king prawns and a little tomato sauce. She was delighted with her choice, loving the food and taste combination.
I opted for Casarecce cone Pesce Spada e Melanzane for mains, and all but licked the platter clean.
This was home-made Sicilian pasta cooked with fresh swordfish, aubergine, cherry tomatoes and white wine.
Seasoned beautifully, it left a lingering fusion of flavour on the tongue. I would have liked more swordfish, but the dish was done well and I was very happy with my choice.
My tiramisu for sweet was served in a glass, light and creamy, delicately flavoured, without too heavy a base.
An Italian traditional trifle, it does vary in substance from place to place but this lighter version with mascarpone, egg cream and Pavesini biscuits dipped in Italian coffee and Amaretto liquer (just a hint) is a new favourite.
The Cannoli Siciliani, looked delectable and is a fried wafer pastry filled with sweet cream, ricotta cheese, chocolate flake and cinnamon with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. My friend is still re-living that heavenly experience.
A limoncello liqeur was a great way to finish off. Our bill totalled £55.