Graduation is an important milestone in most people’s lives, and deserves to be celebrated properly.

On Michael’s big day, we visited Bacco for dinner, a charming, rustic little Italian, tucked away on Red Lion Street.

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Ambling through the back streets of Holborn, it’s fair to say that I was just a little excited to discover Dane Street.

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^ One proud Dane.

Michael and I have visited Bacco before, so we knew that it was a great choice of venue for a special occasion & big family meal.

The décor is simplistic, smart and elegant, with white tablecloths, black leather chairs, fresh flowers and Roman paintings featured throughout the airy dining space.

Although Bacco’s prices are fair for the quality of food & service that you receive, if you book through Opentable and make a reservation for between 5:30 and 7:30pm, any day of the week, you get 50% off starters and mains (i.e. 50% off all of the prices listed below). Absolute BARGAIN I tell you.

The service is superb, with only heavily-accented, truly Italian staff.

Upon arrival, we each received a glass of complimentary bubbles. The first pleasant surprise.

Shortly after, large, plump, juicy olives appeared on the table, and an enormous bread basket filled with all kinds of freshly-baked breads was offered around. The second pleasant surprise.

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We ordered bruschetta with fresh tomato, garlic oil and fresh basil cress (£10.00) for all to share, which I would describe more as open-faced tomato sandwiches than brushcetta, but which was very tasty & fresh nonetheless.

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An amuse bouche of raw beef was placed before each of our beady eyes. The third pleasant surprise.

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For starters, I shared the Apulian burrata cheese with roasted peppers and caramelised almonds (£12.00) and deep-fried baby squid with fresh coriander pesto and chilli jam (£12.00), with Michael’s brother.

The burrata was good; generous in size, creamy and flavoursome, but I still have yet to taste a burrata as delicious as that which Michael & I enjoyed at Bar Italia Brasserie in Paris. So if anyone has any recommendations, please shout!

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The deep-fried baby squid was perfect, with a light & crisp batter. But the fresh pesto and chili jam accompaniments were what really took this dish to the next level, making it all-round a dish on par with that served at Flesh & Buns, and better than that at Eight over Eight.

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For mains, I had the stuffed calamari with anchovies, pine nuts and raisins, served on chickpea panella with ragu (£18.00). If I could have married this plate of food right there & then, I would have. I’ve never tasted anything like it, and can only begin to imagine the amount of work that went into it. The calamari was tender, and the stuffing dense, moreish and supremely tasty. Hands down one of the best dishes that I’ve eaten this year.

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Michael’s brother had the pennoni ‘gentile’, served with spicy tomato sauce ‘Arrabiata’ style (£12.00). The pasta was al dente, and the tomato sauce rich with a good kick.

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Many, many, many glasses of champagne and wine down, and having gorged ourselves silly on the delicious array of breads, we were all too stuffed for pudding.

Lo & behold, however, one can always make room when presented with petits fours in the form of miniature chocolate macarons. The fourth & final pleasant surprise.

They were absolutely perfect; chewy and gooey and dreamy.

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It’s safe to say that we had a most enjoyable evening at Bacco.

The total bill for 7 people came to £229, which includes a couple of bottles of wine in addition to all of the food that we consumed. I almost felt guilty – if that’s not daylight robbery, I don’t know what is!

9/10

Bacco Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato Square Meal