Little Italy is the latest venture by the guys behind Tribeca and Neon Jamon. It is situated in the former function room of Tribeca on Smithdown Road. Hot on the heels of Salt House Bacaro in the city centre comes this Italian small plates eatery. Bright and airy a tree dominates the centre of the room with chipboard wall decor. Things began with a nod to its Spanish big brother in the form of Estrella on draught, although I would of preferred to see an Italian beer on offer.
Baccala & langoustine ravioli with sage butter. The ravioli was filled with salt cod and langoustine however the pasta was a little thick and could of been lighter as the texture masked the delicate filling.
Beef shin pappardelle, slow cooked Tuscan beef shin pasta and pecorino cheese. This was the star dish for me. The pasta was firm and dreamy and worked wonderfully with the beef shin. To be ultra picky it was doused in a little too much oil.
We made a schoolboy error and ordered two similar dishes. Pigeon & hedgerow salad with blackberries, blood orange, hazelnuts & watercress and swordfish carpaccio with orange, fennel and rosemary dressing. Both dishes were buried under a mound of watercress which was unnecessary. The pigeon was seared well and the swordfish paired nicely with the dressing.
Pork & veal meatball sliders, brioche buns with Napoli sauce, buffalo mozzarella & basil. These were a treat, the pork and veal meatballs were a delight, the sauce and mozzerella simply combined flawlessly. I wish I could order a full burger size!
Chicken liver & rosemary skewers with a radish vinaigrette. This dish failed to live up to its billing, the grilled liver didn't pick up the rosemary or radish flavours.
Overall, I think I prefer Spanish tapas to Italian small plates which just do not have the same impact. With Italian larger portions seem to work better especially for pasta. However its good to have variety in South Liverpool and this new venture is sure to become a neighbourhood favourite just like Neon Jamon.