Fusing the best of both worlds just as a superhero does, Artigiano in Reading is a unique café by day (with competition level coffees) and bar by night boasting of its finest craft beers. On Wednesdays for weeks to come, jazz fills the air and provides a great atmosphere for friends and lovers to gather. This place is a fanciful getaway to a two-floor art festival of happiness, taking you from Reading to the moon.
Visiting on 14th October, we were greeted to the sight of candle-lit tables and the sounds of smooth jazz. Trio Marc Weide (fiddle), Ade Holland (guitar) John Monney (double bass) played hits of Sinatra with strength and pizzazz. The trio has appeared at several events such as the Reading Retail Awards 2013 and play marvellously, however the three did not have much stage presence. Speaking to the crowd was one of their weakness as we were unclear about the line-up they were to play for the night.
A craft beer called Punk IPA by Beer Dog, is a must try for all Artigiano goers. Sourced from a Scottish maker known for its tropical fruit sensations, the burst of pineapple and lychee are a surprise to much of the more flatter tasting beers. The house white wine as well was a smooth choice, although did not come as a surprise in terms of taste.
Artigiano, although does not fancy itself a place to eat, labels its food ‘nibbles’, to have something alongside your drink. However, think they are selling their food short. Having a taste of their cheese platter as well as sophisticated pizza boards, I was blown away by the high quality of the food.
The cheese board, was a selection of a cranberry Wesleydale, creamy brie, blue cheese and mature cheddar paired with grapes, green olives and onion chutney; a fair combination and complimentary to the house white wine.
However what was especially striking were the pizza boards of which we ordered Proscuitto & Funghi and Chicken & Pesto. Proscuitto & Funghi was my personal favourite which consisted of an organic mushroom tapenade base; a flavourful surprise which complimented the red onion and goat cheese. The Chicken & Pesto however was also a safe choice, with bold red sweet peppers, black olives, grilled chicken on a pesto base.