Review: Cielo, Birmingham

Yum
Situated in the ever popular and very trendy Brindley Place area in Birmingham, Cielo is a large Italian restaurant. I've heard mixed reviews about the place so was pleased when they invited me to come in a try what they have to offer.



Now you'll have to forgive the terrible photography - we were sat in a dark corner under a bright spotlight (food bloggers nightmare) and no matter how many pictures I took, they all looked the same!

We dined on a Saturday night and when we arrived, the place was already buzzing, filled with a real cross-section of society - families of all ages, couples and groups of friends. We were quickly shown to our table and presented with the menus. As usual we'd already checked the food out online (geeks) so it didn't take us long to decide what to eat. 

We both opted for a small plate from the pasta/risotto section as a starter rather than something from the 'starter's section. The hubby had Penne Salsiccia (penne pasta with chorizo sausage, fresh basil, garlic, chilli, shallots and pomodoro sauce). Whilst it was nice, neither of us were blown away and if I'm being super critical, I'd say it was on the same level as pasta you'd have at Zizzi's or Carluccio's but at £8.50 for a starter, a lot more expensive.


My Risotto Al Frutti Di Mare (arborio risotto rice with mussels, baby prawns, calamari, prawn crevette and a pomodoro sauce) was much better. The seafood tasted fresh and well cooked and the tomato base made a pleasant change to the risotto. The calamari in particular was impressive as so often it can be overcooked and chewy.


For mains, we both went meaty (no surprises there), with me opting for the Vitello al Vino Bianco (Veal escalope with sage, parma ham, wilted spinach leaves and sauteed potatoes in a white wine and lemon butter jus). I love sage, its probably one of my favourite herbs. The veal was well cooked and seasoned and the wilted spinach was garlicy and really tasty but the potatoes were a little bland. The other half went for Bistecca al Gorgonzola (Sirloin steak topped with Gorgonzola cheese, chunky chips and a red wine reduction). The meat again, was cooked really well and the Gorgonzola was rich and creamy but the chips had that slightly floury stodgy texture you sometimes get when they've stood too long and begun to dry out.


For pud we shared Torta al Formaggio (homemade strawberry cheesecake with fresh wild berries). It was very tasty but a little ordinary.


Overall, we weren't blown away by the evening. The food was nice but neither of us felt it was good enough for the high price point (the bill for 2 starters, 2 mains, 1 pud and a bottle of mid-priced wine was around £100). The service was fast but impersonal. On the plus side, the place had a buzzy atmosphere and was set in the lovely Brindley Place with the glass doors thrown open to let in the summer evening breeze.

**we were invited to dine at Cielo and did not pay for our meal but my opinions are all my own**

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