If you live in Windsor, congratulations, you have a standout modern Italian restaurant on your doorstep. If you live elsewhere, plan a trip to Windsor.
Experience can be tasted, and when you dine at Tipico, this becomes clear. Run by a team who have done the hard yards — at DOC, The Lucas Group, Tokyo Tina and Ti Amo — a chef on the pans who has cooked in some of Europe's most renowned restaurants and front of house staff who will explain the menu to you in a way that has you hanging off their every word, Tipico ticks many of the right boxes.
By 7pm on a Thursday night, Tipico is full. Despite its concrete walls, floor and ceiling, the buzz isn't overwhelming — you can still hear your table companions. It's also, despite the aforementioned concrete walls, comfortable, with leather banquettes and warming lights.
There are families here as well as suits, some double dates and some hipsters with beanies. It's that kind of place. Appealing to everyone who likes good food. There is a range of woodfired pizzas, some incredible looking pasta dishes and a selection of secundi and contorni.
Start with the fiore di burrata with roasted tomato and basil pesto. It's a beautifully fresh take on a Caprese salad — with oozing burrata, roast tomatoes and a Genovese-inspired pesto dressing, which is lighter and designed to enhance the flavours of the other ingredients. By the end of the dish you're left with a creamy, tomatoey smear just begging to be mopped up with fresh ciabatta. Which they offer and you should accept.
It's pretty hard to go past a dish that's had as much Instagram airtime as the cotoletta — a dish chef Domenico De Marco is proud of. It's a crumbed veal cutlet that arrives sliced on a wooden board with a bowl of pickled, well, everything. It would probably be easier to list what's not there, given that what is there includes a lovely range of pickled apple, pear, eggplant, zucchini, capsicum, little brown mushrooms and cauliflower florets. The play between tender crumbed meat with pops of rosemary and the pickle is particularly delightful.
A side dish of baby carrots blanched then roasted so that they are al dente is also a highlight. They are served with goats milk yoghurt and slivered almonds. "Not very normal as an Italian dish", says the waiter, "but I think it's wonderful." As he should. It is.
The drinks menu features predominantly Italian wines but with some local delights thrown in for good measure. You can start with an Italian cocktail, such as a Milano Sour or a Sicilian Summer, if you're so inclined.
Tipico means typical in Italian and if this is what it means to be tipico, it's exactly how I want to be.
Images: Julia Sansone
132 Mitchell Street, Maidstone