Il Ricco opened just two months ago, and if their menu is as good as the grapevine suggests, then this Podil dwelling venue will quickly become one of the top eateries on the Italian menu circuit
My date for the evening is more hairy than I would normally go for. But, who cares what anybody thinks? As we arrive at the venue, I inform him that even though he’s getting a free dinner, I’m not expecting anything from him afterwards. He laughs and says “good”. Boundaries established, we enter the restaurant.
This venue located not far from Kontraktova Plosha is large. But with its vaulted ceilings and Mediterranean pastel coloured walls it feels inviting and warm.
Gazing Into A Fishbowl
As we sit down, Joe tells me that if he were a single guy in Kyiv, this is exactly the kind of place he would take someone to on a date. He then gets up to examine the menu, parts of which are swimming in tanks of water waiting to be selected by diners. The crab and the lobster on display are not large – they’re huge! Without too much prodding, we’re told the crab is imported from Kamchatka, the oysters from France, the lobsters Canadian, while their fish comes predominantly from Tunisia and Sri Lanaka.
It’s always good to see fresh fish sitting in tanks, but it’s better to be able to see the kitchen where they will be prepared, and in the case of Il Riccio (which google translates as “hedgehog”. This surprises me, but I’m not changing the title of the feature) the open kitchen is like the shellfish they offer and the restaurant itself – huge.
We turn our attention away from the décor, resplendent with romantic candles though it is, and we start to focus on the menus. Joe is a simple kind of bloke, and he’s plumping for a bruschetta to start: “The true test of any Italian restaurant,” he tells me, and then seafood risotto to follow. I order the duck pate and ossobuco.
MAKE SURE YOU TRY
All the shellfish!
Crab meat salad with avocado
Banana lasagne with coconut ice cream
Appetisers And Noise
It’s not long until the first courses are served. Along with a huge board full of assorted breads, a large dollop of pate is placed in front of me, and a massive bruschetta for my companion. The bruschetta is piled high with various toppings: lightly seared tuna, a mixture of vegetable, and lots of spinach leaves. The pate is simply superb.
At this point though, I have a niggly complaint. The music has been pleasant enough so far, but then it starts going off in a jazzy direction, and jazz, like marmite, is one of those love it or hate it kind of things. I’m not a jazz fan, I’d rather pull my ears off than listen to it, and I wonder why restaurateurs would chose to play such dividing music.
355 UAH Osso bucco with Saffron Risotto 295 UAH
Reisling, 150 ml x 3
Ausrtalian shiraz, bottle
880 UAH Jameson’s Whiskey 120 UAH Cola 35 UAH
2 555 UAH
Moving To Mains
As the music returns to something normal, where all of the musicians are in the same rhythm and key and follow a common beat, our main courses arrive. The seafood risotto is simply described: “not overpowering but a nice taste” and I am told that it is packed with a lovely variety of fruits de mer. My ossobuco is a good-sized chunk of meat, and though it is smothered in a rich sauce, the meat itself is a little dry. Not disappointing, because there are some fine tastes in this dish.
The What’s On Check List
English menu: (in small numbers) + English-speaking staff + Wifi + Price $$
Just No Desserts
Due to the size of the starters, we have to reject offers of dessert. As the last of the wine (a pleasant Australian shiraz) is being poured by the sommelier we reflect on the evening while we are waiting for a cab. “Would you come back again?” is the obvious test for any restaurant, and the answer in this case is, yes. For me, however, perhaps with someone sporting a little less facial hair next time.
Il Riccio is a fine place to enjoy good food in pleasant surroundings, and – very importantly, no hedgehogs were harmed during the writing of this review.
Kontraktova Pl 8
⎯ 12:00 – 00:00
+380 95 280 6430