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Italy's closer than you think

THERE is a little corner of Italy in the heart of Hazlemere.

Brian Claridge Dines At Capriccio Ristorante And Pizzeria, 17 Penn Road, Hazlemere, HP15 7lN.Telephone 01494 715 666,

THERE is a little corner of Italy in the heart of Hazlemere. Established 25 years ago and now under new management, Capriccio is the place to go for outstanding Italian food, including traditional pizzas made with fresh dough and baked in a wood-fired pizza oven.

Since the takeover a few weeks ago, Capriccio's managers, Michael Pilgrim and Francesco Izzo, have gone to great lengths to ensure customer satisfaction with exciting new menus, superb food and friendly and professional service. They are ably assisted by resident chef Gennaro Schiano, who previously worked at San Lorenzo Italian restaurant in Knightsbridge,

The moment you enter Capriccio, you encounter the warmth and flavour of Italy as the delicious smell of freshly baked pizza and other Italian dishes tantalise your senses. The decor inside the 90-seat restaurant is cosy, with warm rustic colours, attractive lighting, scenic murals and tables neatly laid with crisp white table cloths, stylish cutlery and floral table decorations.

All the dishes are made in-house using only the finest ingredients. The extensive menu includes starters, pasta, risottos, salads, main courses, pizzas and homemade desserts. There is also an excellent list of Italian red and white wines and a fully licensed bar.

I took my wife and two sons to give Capriccio a try. For our starters, we chose bruschetta alla Romana (homemade toasted bread topped with cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil, £3.20), antipasto misto (selection of traditional Italian cured meats served with marinated peppers and aubergines, £6.50), fungi Selvatici (mixed wild mushrooms sautéed in olive oil, garlic and parsley served with truffle-scented toasted bread, £5.95) and calamari fritti (deep-fried baby squid, £7.10).

For her main course, my wife ordered Napoli (pizza with tomato, mozzarella, olivers, capers and anchovies, £7) while I went for pollo al rosmarino (chargrilled chicken breast marinated in garlic and rosemary, served on a bed of roasted Mediterranean vegetables, £11.50). Both our sons ordered quattro stagioni (pizza with tomato, mozzarella, pepperoni sausage, ham, mushrooms and olives, £8.50). Everything was beautifully cooked and imaginatively presented. We rounded off our meal with coffee, having no room for any of Capriccio's delicious-looking homemade desserts.

The restaurant is open six days a week (not Monday) with a carvery on Sundays and 'live' music at selected times. Visit www.capriccio-ristorante. co.uk for more. Capriccio has made big strides since the new management takeover and is definitely worth a visit.

 

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