A TASTE OF SICILY
At A’Vucciria, the new authentic Sicilian Cicchetti bar and cafe in the heart of Rawtenstall, Michele Pillitteri and his team are doing things differently, writes Sarah Varley. Photography: Robin Lyndon
Cleverly converted from a bank, the name A’Vucciria comes from the busy market in Palermo in Sicily, where Michele Pillitteri’s father Ignazio Pillitteri called his home town, and this translation of ‘hustle and bustle’ is reflected in this unique establishment.
A’Vucciria draws on Ignazio’s knowledge of the area and years of experience in the industry. “We wanted to recreate the feeling of the market, where you would go along and try new, fresh street food. Seeing the meat being skilfully sliced by hand at the deli in the corner, people remark it’s like watching a bit of theatre,” says Michele.
“We’ve seen dining trends changing, people don’t always want a large, formal meal and this is one of the reasons we don’t take bookings. We want people to be able to walk in and enjoy a drink, and maybe stay and have a meal with us.”
You definitely should stay for the food, it’s exceptional! Whether opting for a simple bowl of the delicious panelle or cazzilli (these Sicilian croquettes are delicious), or Michele’s favourite – seared scallops with truffle pea puree, squid ink aioli and baby capers – the Sicilian authenticity and simplicity really works!
As with this dish, A’Vucciria’s food always has a main component and a maximum of three other ingredients to bring out its flavour. Head chef Katrina Kenny has worked with Michele’s family for years as Michele explains: “Katrina has a great understanding of Italian flavours and a love of Italian food, but with a little British twist.”
Though only 26, Katrina is going to be featured in the North-West Food & Drink Means Business November/December publication as an up-and-coming young chef. Michele is delighted that A’Vucciria is in the running for several awards already. They are finalists in two categories of the English Italian Awards – Best Italian Restaurant and Best Newcomer – and for Best New Business in the Lancashire Tourism Awards.
“It’s great to be nominated for these awards as they are voted for by the public and the support we’ve had from customers since opening has been fantastic,” Michele tells me. “We provide an experience as well as great food and we give our all every day. All our staff really know the menu, can explain the antipasti boards in the deli, and can jump in and help wherever they’re needed. We’re hoping that all these little differences at A’Vucciria will help us win these awards.”
New to A’Vucciria is a delicious sandwich menu available Monday to Saturday between noon and 4pm. Looking forward to their second Christmas, A’Vucciria will be offering an exciting group-sharing menu that suits the vibrant atmosphere of the place. They will be taking bookings for this and for Christmas Eve and Boxing Day. They are also creating a special New Year’s Eve menu so there is lots in store for customers to celebrate in Sicilian style.
15 Bank Street
Rossendale BB4 6QS