Once upon a time, pre-lockdown 2.0, there was a time when we could go out for dinner and socialise with friends that weren’t in our household/bubble…… which is exactly what happened when I went for dinner at CIBO in Bishops Stortford with my friends Emma, Jade and Emily.
CIBO is an independent and family-run Sicilian kitchen, serving up traditional and authentic cuisine. CIBO combines modern and traditional dishes with fresh ingredients, and they always prepare their food fresh on site. They’ve got an open-style kitchen and a traditional pizza oven, and the restaurant has a nice cosy and intimate feel with homely decor, fairy lights and dim lighting.
The menu boasts a wide range of sharing boards, salads, pizza and pasta dishes; from Tortelloni Cinghiale (wild boar filled tortelloni with creamy beef ragu and porcini mushrooms) and Tortelloni Zucca (butternut squash filled tortelloni with sage butter) to Pistacchiosa (mozzarella, mortadella ham, burrata, Sicilian pistachio pesto pizza) and Diavola (tomato, mozzarella, spicy salami, onion, Italian sausage, ‘n duja spicy sausage paste pizza), you will be spoilt for choice here! They also have a daily special board with starters, main courses and desserts that you won’t find on the menu.
I usually get snap happy taking pictures of everyones food on the table when we’re eating out, but we were too busy chatting this time so I only quickly snapped pictures of mine… so here’s what I ordered and ate!
For starters, we ordered the garlic bread to share. I think garlic bread is usually my go-to starter wherever I go… I’m obsessed with garlic bread and this one was delicious. A really flavoursome crispy dough, infused with garlic oil and cooked fresh to order in the pizza oven. I could’ve easily polished this plate off on my own!
For main course, I ordered the Tagliatelle Mare E Monti, which is tagliatelle with king prawns, porcini mushrooms, tomato and cream.
The pasta was soft and so delicious, and soaked up the creamy tomato sauce really well. The prawns were tender and juicy too – I was worried as the dish said king prawns and I thought they would arrive in their shell still (and I’m useless at disecting prawns to eat!) so I was relieved to see that it was all done and ready for me to eat straight away! It was a really tasty dish and I’d definitely eat it again. I was going to be ‘brave’ and push the boat out and have a pizza instead, but I stayed safe with my pasta. My friends all ordered a pizza which I wish I got a picture of now – the portions are really generous there and it just looked so delicious and fresh!
I definitely have more of a sweet tooth than savoury. When it comes to puddings, my go-to choice is usually a brownie or cheesecake, so I was happy to see that brownie was on the dessert menu at CIBO, and so I knew I had to try it! My favourite kind of brownie dessert is when the brownie is warmed up, gooey and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream – but this was a little different. I tried the espresso chocolate brownie with mascarpone. The brownie was more like a batter-type mixture, with a cold scoop of espresso mascarpone on top. Whilst it was a nice brownie and something different to try, I probably wouldn’t order this myself again as I love a warm gooey brownie the most!
For now, it looks as though CIBO are offering a takeaway service of many of their dishes, so I would definitely recommend trying them out if you’re local to the area and love pizza and pasta! (who doesn’t?!). During ‘normal’ times, CIBO is open Tuesday – Saturday, 12pm – 3pm / 5pm – 10pm.
What’s your favourite independent restaurant?