Vero is the latest addition to Odell’s Yard in Stony Stratford. This little courtyard has become quite the culinary hub, already home to French Affaire and L’Atelier. Vero is located in the former Greek Affaire, which closed over the summer to make way for the Italian restaurant. Razvan and Anca Marcu still own the restaurant, adding another successful eatery to their expanding local empire. They have partnered with Karim Bannour, who has decades of hospitality experience. Vero is his first venture in owning part of a business.
If I am truly honest, I was never the biggest fan of Greek Affaire. I found myself more enamoured with the idea of Vero long before I visited. Vero is an Italian restaurant, but it is like no other Italian restaurant in Milton Keynes! It specialises in Cicchetti. In other words, Italian canapés and small plates that I can truly say are nearly on par with the Cicchetti I enjoyed in Venice.
Like all of Marcu’s restaurants, the interior is opulent. It’s refined yet welcoming, decadent yet cosy. The colour scheme remains similar to the former Greek Affaire, but with added garlands of lemons as a nod to its Italian inspiration.
In this blog post, find out what we ate at Vero, get the low down on the food and how to make the most of your dining experience.
What is ‘Cicchetti’?
Cicchetti (pronounced ‘chi-ket-tee’) comes from the Latis ‘Ciccus’ which translates to ‘a small amount.’ Cicchetti are small snacks or side dishes, usually in Venice. Cicchetti is served in bàcari (Cicchetti bars) across the city and for a few euros, you can enjoy wine or prosecco and a few bites to eat. Venetian Cicchetti usually consists of meat, fish or marinated vegetables on top of small bits of bread. We enjoyed a lot of incredible food in Venice, it was one of my favourite cities I’ve visited!
It is worth saying that this way of dining differs from the traditional, hearty Italian food many of us are used to. Don’t expect to order three courses – Expect to order several small plates and enjoy a variety of different dishes.
Read more: A Guide to Eating Your Way Around Venice
The food at Vero
The menu at Vero is divided into several sections: Pane and Bruschetta (bread), Antipasti (starters), Pasta & Risotto, Carne (meat). Verdure (Greens) (V), Fritti (fried) and Cicchetti.
The idea is that you choose a few dishes from each section and share each dish between your diners. We opted for four Cicchetti, a Fritti dish, a starter and two pasta dishes which was plenty for the two of us. The portions at Vero are smaller than your typical Italian (which is reflected in the price!) so if you order a pasta dish, it’s likely you’ll want something to accompany unless you have a very small appetite.
First up, the Cicchetti! We ordered four. They come as a pair, so perfect for two people. These are slices of bread topped with enticing flavour combinations, all very traditional! We chose: Prawns & Garlic Butter, Sardine in Saor, Ricotta, Anchovy & Lemon, Gorgonzola & Pear (v).
The Sardine in Saor was one of our favourites, a punchy flavoursome sardine marinated in vinegar and onions. I also loved the Gorgonzola and pear. The contrast of the spiky cheese with the sweet pear was divine.
Next up, we have the Triangoloni (£6.95) from the ‘Fritti’ section of the menu. Dan loved this dish, and I have an inclination you might too. Cheese-filled pasta, deep fried and dusted with tomato powder and grated Grana Padano. It was amazing! Rich, fresh, crispy… I loved the fresh tomato dipping sauce too.
We also had the ‘Nduja and Burrata Bruschetta which is an excellent combination. ‘Nduja is a spicy, spreadable pork sausage from the region of Calabria in Southern Italy. It’s warming and delicious! Paired with a smooth, milky burrata made for a delicious bruschetta and was one of my personal favourite dishes of the evening.
The pasta dishes at Vero are designed to be part of your meal, not the main event, so don’t expect massive portions. The pasta at Vero is all handmade and you can tell. That yellowy tone is something you only ever see with fresh pasta! We chose two pasta dishes: the Pappardelle al Ragu d’Anatra (£8.95) and the Spaghetti alle Vongole (£7.75).
Dan’s choice was the Pappardelle, served with a rich Venetian duck ragu. This was totally delicious. The ragu melted in the mouth. This was the perfect pairing with my glass of smooth and fruity Montepulciano wine.
Spaghetti alle Vongole was my pick. This dish featured Clams, white wine, garlic and parsley which was a contrast to the duck ragu, but tasty nonetheless. The nutty flavour of the clams shone through with the simple sauce. If you love seafood, you’ll love this.
For dessert, we had a strawberry, basil and mint cheesecake. This was rich yet fresh and the perfect way to end the meal. My pear tarte was tasty, however, I would have loved it to be warm. The dessert menu isn’t fixed, so at the end of the meal expect a waiter to come to you with a platter of desserts to choose from. It makes it all the more difficult to resist!
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The service, food and overall experience at Vero were brilliant. We had attentive staff and the food was served promptly (almost too promptly!) I love dining experiences where you can enjoy a taste of lots of different dishes, so this is right up my street and we can’t wait to visit again. The atmosphere was lovely too and it would make for a great date night or night with friends.
Price-wise, our bill came to around £90 in total, which I personally think was great value considering the quality of the food we enjoyed and the amount. We didn’t roll away unable to breathe but were satisfied with the delicious food we enjoyed!
You can find Vero in Stony Stratford: 2-3 Odell’s Yard, 58-60 High Street, Stony Stratford, MK11 1FA. It’s open Tuesday – Friday, 5pm – 10pm, Saturday 12pm – 1om and Sunday 12pm – 7pm. To view menus and book a table, visit italiano-vero.co.uk.
Have you visited Vero yet?