If music be the food of love then Huddersfield’s popular Italian Trattoria Domenico certainly has the right recipe.
The family-run restaurant boasts a stylish piano bar – and a front of house boss who loves to perform.
Giuseppe Cina grew up listening to his uncle playing the piano and over the last couple of months he’s taken to teaching himself.
When the restaurant is empty and everyone has gone home Giuseppe loves nothing better than recording a Facebook Live for his friends.
In just two months this self-taught one-handed pianist can now play with both – and he’s improving all the time.
How much longer before he’s able to perform in the restaurant on a Saturday night?
That might not be the plan – the restaurant is far too busy to spare him – but you feel he’d love to take centre stage.
It was three years since our last visit, during Christmas party season when it’s a test for any restaurant, so it was about time we returned.
The new piano bar opened at the end of last year and is a great place to relax with a drink either before a meal or afterwards.
From 7pm on a Saturday Tim Wilkes from Huddersfield Choral Society is the maestro on the piano.
You can sense Giuseppe, whose dad Salvatore is the chef, is drawn to the piano as he meets and greets.
We tried to book for last Saturday night with only 24 hours’ notice and there were only two time slots left 5pm or 9pm.
We went for the early knowing we could stick around in the piano bar, and that there was an ample selection of speciality gins to keep my partner Sian happy.
We were greeted by Gianluca – younger brother of Giuseppe – and he looked after us all night.
As we tend to do these days we’d selected our food from the restaurant’s website and being early we had a full choice of everything on the menu.
Gianluca brought us a delicious garlic and tomato bread appetiser and we wasted no time in demolishing that and ordering the seafood sharing platter Pescata Trinacria (£15.95).
It comprised of crispy deep-fried calamari (squid), huge and juicy gamberoni (king prawns) and a shoal of whitebait, beautifully salted and tasting of the sea.
The tiny whitebait slipped down a treat and Gianluca passed on his grandma’s advice that eating fish eyes made you intelligent.
Sian’s main course was Spaghetti Carrettiera (£10.25) which is pasta with Italian smoked bacon, fresh eggs, black pepper and cream and served with crispy fried courgettes. It was deep, creamy and subtle.
My main was Vitello Joe Cannoli (£15.95) which is little parcels of veal rolled with spinach and mozzarella and wrapped in Parma ham. These were little bundles of joy on a plate.
The parcels were served with a lemon white wine and butter sauce, along with courgette fritters.
The fritters were sweeter than I expected and added so much more to the meal than potato fries.
The last time we came I noted that the portions were simply too large. I was pleased to see they were smaller this time but after the large garlic bread and the sharing platter I still needed to let out my belt another notch.
Sian is a fan of tiramisu and would happily eat it every night if she could. The slice of tiramisu (£6.25) arrived slightly lop-sided but that was, we were assured, only because it was freshly-made that morning.
Who cares if the tiramisu collapses when it tastes this good?
I finished off with a generous helping of Italian ice cream. Coppa Malaga (£5.50) is a mix of rum and raisin and coconut which is a light and sweet way to end a meal.
Trattoria Domenico is classy and down to earth at the same. It’s an Italian for all occasions and I can’t wait to go back.
Trattoria Domenico, Imperial Arcade, Huddersfield, HD1 2BR.
Tel: 01484 518588
Opening hours: Monday 11.30am-8pm; Tues-Thurs 11.30am-10.30pm; Fri and Sat 11.30am-11.30pm. Sunday closed.
Disabled access: Ring ahead
The bill: £76.20 including drinks
Would you go back: Certainly