Sunday, 27 September 2015

Dolcino - a little Italian flair comes to Loughborough

Nick the Greek
When I was growing up in the late 1980's and early '90's every July for three weeks my life would become dominated by the multi-coloured explosion of lycra, mirrored sunglasses and dramatic scenery that is the Tour de France.

For half an hour every evening I became totally engrossed with a young Gary Imlach, a presenter who for many young boys bought the exotic race to life for the very first time.

In those pre-Team Sky days, when anyone suggesting a future British dominance of the sport would be classed as a lunatic, the overwhelming dominant force of the race was a giant of a man, a Spaniard named Miguel Indurain.

It was said that 'Big Mig's' resting heart rate was a low as 29 beats per minute and during time trials his metronomic dominance was legendary, but he was never a hero.

Whilst Indurain inevitably always won the race no one really wanted to be him. No, there was a group of swashbuckling gladiator types who given the chance every young man would seek to emulate.

Claudio Chiappucci, with the awe inspiring nickname 'El Diablo', world road race champion Gianni Bugno, the 'Lion King' (and ever so slightly egocentric) Mario Cipollini and the little pirate Marco Pantani were all legends of the sport and they all had one thing in common. They were Italian.

Being an Italian cyclist was, to us mere mortals, the ultimate in swashbuckling, temperamental and yet genius sporting heroes. In our minds eye, whether they ever did or did not, we always saw those gladiators of the road riding just one make of bicycle, the sleek and beautiful Bianchi.

It's no surprise then that as I was growing up in the every so mundane East Midlands over in Italy a whole generation of young boys were equally as in love with those iconic Celeste turquoise cycles, the ultimate in speed and handling.

Design classic
To the initiated the legendary Bianchi green colour scheme is the first thing that strikes you as you enter Loughborough's newest eating spot, Dolcino, at 4 Cattle Market.
One of those young lads has now become a forty-something entrepreneur but the romanticism of his youthful love of cycling has at least played a part in the design of his new gelateria and diner. Not to mention the two vintage cycles and other iconic Italian design classics adorning the restaurant, the turquoise Vespa scooter centrepiece is a wonderful case in point.

Dolcino isn't a themed restaurant but rather has sought inspiration from the same ethos that developed those wonderful cycling machines.

Just like the legendary bikes, dishes are made using the best ingredients and with more than their fair share of flair.

Crepe's and waffles are imaginative, try the delicious 'Nick the Greek made with falafel, humus, cherry tomatoes, guacamole, red onions and black olives, whilst never being too filling that you can't make room for dessert.

Coffee is imported and authentic and quite probably the best in town. Alongside all of the usual latte's and cappuccino's you will find the short affogato, vanilla gelato topped with an espresso shot, or premium milk shakes.


It is, of course, the gelato and sorbets that makes Dolcino special. A constant rotation of flavours including the all time favorites such as vanilla and chocolate are regularly supplemented by tastes a little out of the ordinary, maybe try pear, cherry bakewell or if you are feeling particularly adventurous avocado with chopped nuts?

Of course Dolcino, just like the cycles that provided at least a part of the inspiration, isn't the cheapest place in the world but just like those legendary bikes you get the quality you pay for.

If you are looking for somewhere a little out of the ordinary a morning coffee, a light lunch or an afternoon treat you could do a great deal worse than pay a visit to Dolcino.

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