Jenessa Williams visits this modern Mediterranean on the Otley Run
At the time of entering Piattini’s in Headingley, the holiday tan from my visit to Naples is only a week old. Having very recently sampled the OG of Italian cuisine (and put on a noticeable amount of weight doing it), the very idea of getting back in the carb-laden saddle is a little overwhelming. Especially considering that I am no longer on a beach-front lined with pastel houses, but rather the slightly grotty pavement of the Otley Run, with an England match blaring from bars either side.
That said, Piattini doesn’t claim to be the be-all-and-end-all to Italian eating. They’d be silly to really, considering that the rather excellent Salvos is only up the road. Instead, they bill themselves as a modern Mediterranean restaurant, with various small plates, a la carte offerings and an extensive cocktail menu. But can they tempt me back into holiday mode?
The restaurant is quiet, thanks to the football, and we are welcomed warmly and attentively, then shown to our seats much earlier than our original booking. Marble tabletops, plush teal seating and gold accents make this a blogger’s paradise, especially when a raspberry mojito (£7.50) is placed down in front of me - slipping down like a dream. My partner’s Jinzu gin (£6.95) provides a similarly pleasant pre-dinner treat, garnished with kaffir lime leaves creating a tasty, savoury edge.
Wanting to try their stone-baked pizza dough, I start with a calzoncini (£4.95) from the small plates menu – the little brother to your traditional calzone. The bread component doesn’t disappoint, just the right level of doughiness with a good pull. The filling lets the side down – billed as pepperoni and scarmoza, it’s like a slightly bland cousin to the salami and grated cheese wraps that kept me alive most of my first year at Uni.
My partner's fritto misto (£6.95) fares better, with well-seasoned, non-greasy battered fish, and a portion generous to allow for my occasional snaffling without causing too much irritation.
Batter and dough suitably covered, it’s time to try out the pasta and rice in our quest to nail as many food groups as possible. I opt for scallop and prawn risotto (£13.95) (pictured above), and again find it to be a dish of two halves. Rich with tomatoes and generous in scallop, it certainly delivers indulgence, but the rice is a dash overcooked, and the slightly-too-early introduction of the scallops has taken them just over the edge into chewiness.
My partner’s oxtail ragu (£10.95) proves to be pleasant if unremarkable, the pasta slightly too thick to get away with al dente when it isn't fresh. Perhaps this is my new-found-Napoli snobbery leaking out…
After a small drink break (peach bellini and Aperol Spritz), our endlessly helpful waitress brings out the puddings – a tasty tiramisu (£4.95) just shy of the right texture, and a well textured panna cotta (£4.95) just shy of the right flavour. All so, so close, and yet, as the bill rolls in, perhaps not quite close enough for the price.
As a restaurant adamant to prove that it is Mediterranean, not Italian, one has to wonder why the Piattini menu does not pay more fervent nods to Greek, Turkish or less-overpopulated food trends. With the Italian they deliver, they do it competently, but there isn't a whole heap to elevate it out of the realms of a tasty meal and into one that will be genuinely memorable in a fortnight’s time.
Its strongest asset is undoubtedly its staff, who are pleasant, chatty and always in the vicinity to go the extra mile - one server holds particularly endearing conversation with the table opposite who were in just three days prior. Would I come back? Yes, but I would wait a little longer for them to iron out a few kitchen slip-ups. With room to grow and improve, I’m sure those plush teal sofas will be here for a while to come.
Piattini, 6 Otley Rd, Leeds LS6 2AA Tel: 0113 3450 060
All scored reviews are unannounced, impartial, paid for by Confidential and completely independent of any commercial relationship. Venues are rated against the best examples of their type: 1-5: put the kettle on instead, 6-9: Netflix and chill, 10-11: if you're passing, 12-13: good, 14-15: very good, 16-17: excellent, 18-19: pure class, 20: made by God him/herself.
Raspberry Mojito 8, Jinzu Gin 7, Calzoncini 5, Fritto Miso 6, Scallop and Prawn Risotto 5, Oxtail Ragu 5, Peach Bellini 6, Aperol Spritz 7, Tiramisu 6, Panna Cotta 6
Attentive, genuine and warm
Stylish surroundings add a touch of class to Headingley High Street