Dinner at Fratelli Cicchetti Ampthill

AD PR Meal – This meal was complimentary.

You may already be familiar with Fratelli, a family-owned, independent Italian restaurant in Woburn and Ampthill. Ever since I visited Fratelli Woburn back in January 2020 (pre-pandemic!) Fratelli Cicchetti has been on my list. It’s a family-run, independent Italian restaurant which sits above Fratelli Ampthill, the original location which was opened by the Di Giorgi brothers in 2007. Before we get into the review, a quick disclaimer before you cry in outrage and say ‘Well that’s not Milton Keynes’ – I cover places with an MK postcode. This does extend out to Bedfordshire in some cases. We live pretty central (MK10) in Milton Keynes and Ampthill was a 15 minute drive from our house, which is less time than it takes us to drive to Stony Stratford or Wolverton.

In this blog post, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on Fratelli Cicchetti and why it should be firmly on your list to visit.

About Fratelli Cicchetti

Not to be confused with Fratelli in Fenny Stratford, Fratelli is owned by three brothers, Carmelo, Mario and Antonino Di Giorgi. Ampthill was the original location which opened in 2007.

The brothers pride themselves in creating great food and a great atmosphere. In Italy, Pranzo or Cena is all about catching up with family and friends while enjoying delicious food and drinks. I love that!

Located on the first floor above Fratelli, Cicchetti is a modern-day Italian restaurant open from Thursday evening. As well as the a la carte menu, they do Sunday lunch and bottomless brunches on Saturdays. The menu features hand-made pasta, seafood and meat using local ingredients.

On weekends, you can expect to find local singers and live entertainment, which I imagine makes this quite the lively night out!

The interior is modern and decadent. It feels relaxed and upmarket, without feeling too garish. It’s also worth noting the restaurant is air conditioned, so when the heatwaves hit, this is a great place to go!

What is ‘Cicchetti’?

Cicchetti is pronounced ‘chi-ket-tee’ are small snacks or side dishes. We enjoyed a lot of Cicchetti and wine in Venice’s manybàcari (Cicchetti bars). It’s a relaxed, easy way to eat and enjoy Venice’s sights. I wouldn’t say that Fratelli Cicchetti has the same vibe as a Venetianbàcari, the menu is mostly a la carte and the small plates make up the starters section. Venetian Cicchetti usually consists of meat, fish or marinated vegetables on top of small bits of bread and is just a couple of euros per portion.

So if you are expecting abàcari, Fratelli Cicchetti is definitely more of a modern Italian, inspired by the Cicchetti bars!

Read more: A Guide to Eating Your Way Around Venice

The food

The menu at Fratelli Cicchetti differs slightly from the other two restaurants. It features small plates and is divided up into three sections: Earth, Land and Sea, which reflects the core ingredients of each dish.

To kick things off, we ordered some cocktails as every Thursday there is a 2 for 1 deal on cocktails! I went for an Aperol Spritz and Dan had a Mojito.

For our starters, we ordered two dishes to share from the ‘small plates’ section of the menu. After much deliberation, we opted for the Crab Croquettes (£8.95) which were made with crab and atalantic prawns and served with garlic mayo. They were crisp and had a definitive crab flavour.

We also ha the Fritto Misto (£9.95), which is a great option for sharing. It is a mixture of deep fried calamari, prawns and courgettes in Fratelli’s signature batter. This was totally delicious. The calamari was soft and not at all chewy, the prawns had butterflied open and melted in the mouth.

In hindsight I would have ordered the meatballs instead of the croquettes to provide a more varied starter, but we live and learn.

To go with our main course, we ordered a glass of red wine. I chose the Sangiovese Vignali Roccamora from Puglia. This was moderately priced at £7.00 for a large glass. This was a beautiful wine, an easy drinker that matched perfectly with our pasta.

For mains, I had the Rigatoni Salsiccia (£14.95) which was a delicious pasta dish made with rigatoni. The sauce featured Silician sausage, roasted peppers and chilli in a creamy tomato sauce. It has a tendency to be overpowering, but the fennel was delicate and left a little heat on the palette. The pasta was cooked al dente and the siliician sausage added feature and richness to the dish. I loved the addition of the parmesan crisps too. Just a total winner all round!

Rigatoni Salsiccia.

On the contrary, Dan loves a white sauce and a carbonara, so it was unsurprising that he had the Malfadine Cicchetti (£14.95). This dish featured ribbon pasta (papadelle I believe!) tossed in a creamy white wine and truffle sauce with chicken. It was really tasty with that beautiful nutty, truffle flavour that we both love!

Malfadine Cicchetti.

We just about had room for dessert…. Mario recommend the Profiteroles and the cheesecake, so that’s what we ordered! The profiteroles (£7.95) were served with vanilla cream, drizzled with chocolate and salted caramel sauce and served with toasted almonds. It was a great balance of sweet and savoury.

Dan had the cheesecake (£7.50), biscuit base topped with baileys cream cheese, crushed amaretti biscuit and chocolate sauce. This is a real crowd pleaser and a great twist on a classic dessert.

We visited Fratelli a few days before my 27th birthday, and after dessert they brought out a shot of Limoncello and a firework which was very sweet and made the visit all the more special!

Final thoughts

We had such a lovely evening at Fratelli Cicchetti. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming. It’s an ideal spot for a date night or night out with the girls. Ampthill is a very lovely little town and there’s a fair bit going on in the evenings. Fratelli is certainly worth the short drive from MK for the amazing food and cockails. I’m already looking forward to going back!

Fratelli Cicchetti is located on First Floor, 111 Dunstable St, Ampthill, Bedford MK45 2NG. It’s above Fratelli restaurant. To book a table and view menus, visit www.fratelli-italian.co.uk. Fratelli Cicchetti is open Thursday 5:30 – 11:30pm, Friday 5:30pm – 12am, Saturday 12pm-4pm, 5:30pm – 12am and Sunday 12pm – 5pm. Follow them on Instagram @fratellicicchetti

Have you been to Fratelli Cicchetti?

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DISCLAIMER: This meal was complimentary in return for an honest review on my blog. This does not affect my opinion. Click here for my full disclosure policy.

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