Reporter Ben Jolley visits Ely's newest restaurant. Here's what he thought of Piccolo Lounge.

Stepping foot inside Piccolo Lounge is like arriving at one of the flamboyant houses on Alan Carr's Interior Design Masters. 

Alongside colourful, patterned wallpaper mostly covered by framed paintings, the quirky Insta-ready interior design mixes the trendy with the traditional. 

Not unlike a nan's living room, there are also a whole host of frilly lampshades. 

Before making our way to a table, it's hard not to notice the comfy sofas and coffee tables that adorn the entrance area, which also has plenty of board games, which is perfect for those who might like a more relaxed visit.

The mural behind the bar, which features the Ely Diocese crest, adds a nice localised touch, as does the random array of antiques on display considering Ely's love for a hidden gem.  

Another major USP of the Piccolo Lounge is that it's a dog-friendly restaurant, which is immediately made clear thanks to the 'dog station' by the front door, which has water bowls and treats.

Onto the food and the menu (ranging from breakfasts, brunches, sandwiches and flatbreads to burgers, salads and bowls) is extremely varied and full of choice - but that’s no bad thing, as it means there’s something for everyone. 

We opted for the tapas menu which, billed as 'made for sharing', is ideal a light mid-work lunch break; the patatas bravas and salt and pepper squid, both served with roasted garlic, are delicious, as is the hummus which comes with roasted seeds, red pepper, garlic and parsley oil and toasted pitta.

In terms of mains, as long as you’re not afraid to get your hands dirty, the cowboy smash burger is a must for those who are more adventurous with their food - but perhaps not for a first date because it gets quite messy.  

Though an unusual combination - two smashed beef patties with pulled brisket, American cheese, fried egg, gravy mayo, crispy onions, jalapeños, lettuce and maple BBQ sauce - it really works, especially when served with sweet potato fries. 

Meanwhile, the Caribbean chicken curry, which comes with sugar snap peas and red peppers alongside lime and coriander rice and pickled red onion, is a also available as a vegetarian option by substituting the chicken for cauliflower. Fear not if that sounds too hot, because the spice of the sizeable dish is simmered down by the accompanying coconut and pineapple.  

While the range of cocktails is impressively diverse (rum lovers will love the mango tiki shake, the desserts are equally tempting.

At the top of our list are the light and spongey sticky toffee pudding - which is served with vanilla ice cream and salted caramel sauce - and the chocolate brownie which is quite rich but appropriately sized. The chocolate salted caramel sundae, meanwhile, was well proportioned and not too sickly at all. 

The prices, too, are reasonable, while the choice of music - hinging on well-known pop hits like Beyoncé’s ‘Single Ladies’ and Billie Eilish's 'Bad Guy’ - suit the mostly-young demographic; even better, the volume is at the right level so it's easy to hear those at your table talking.

Overall, Piccolo Lounge has brought something new and trendy to Ely and, crucially, made use of a building that would likely have otherwise sat empty for some time following the closure of M&Co. 

So, if tasty, well-priced food and drinks in a visually-appealing setting is up your street, you won't be disappointed by Piccolo Lounge.

Ely Standard: The squid, patatas bravas and hummus at Piccolo Lounge in Ely.

Ely Standard: The Caribbean chicken curry at Piccolo Lounge in Ely.

Ely Standard: The lounge bacon and cheeseburger at Piccolo Lounge in Ely.

Ely Standard: The sticky toffee pudding at Piccolo Lounge in Ely.

Ely Standard: The chocolate brownie at Piccolo Lounge in Ely.

Ely Standard: The chocolate salted caramel sundae at Piccolo Lounge in Ely.

Ely Standard: The mango tiki shake cocktail at Piccolo Lounge in Ely.

Ely Standard: The dog station at Piccolo Lounge in Ely.

Ely Standard: Reporter Ben Jolley with a mango tiki shake cocktail.