Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Restaurant review: CARLUCCIO'S (Smithfield)

Carluccio's is a spacious, welcoming Italian restaurant, with very reasonable prices. I dined there for a team dinner a few months ago, when we all had the set menu (3 courses for £17.99, a £3.50 surcharge for the steak).

The tomato bruschetta that I had to start with was the most unspectacular part of the meal. That's not to say it was bad; it was perfectly edible, and there was a generous dollop of tomatoes on the bread. It just lacked a spark; the perfunctory preparation and lack of creativity in its presentation signalled that this was very much a 'set menu dish'.

I had a steak for main. To be honest, the rest of the dishes sounding uninspiring (chicken breast and a glorified veggie salad) was what made the decision for me. Because we'd pre-written our orders on a piece of paper, I wasn't able to clarify how I wanted my steak cooked (Rare. Always rare), so this was actually cooked medium, much better cooked than I'm used to my steaks.

...but it was still very edible! As per the custom at the last braai I went to in April, I like to make a mound of salt at the side of my plate and dunk the meat in that. The salt really brings out the succulency of the steak and I'm happy to report that that the uplift paid to eat a steak here is money well spent. I was thoroughly nourished by it.

The tiramisu (pictured above) was presented in a novel manner, tipped to one side, which beguiled the diner more so than a generic horizontal dessert would have. Taste-wise, it was heaven, rich without being heavy.

Overall, I found Carluccio's a functional, competitively priced restaurant which produces some nice food. I would recommend you avoid any kind of three or two-course menu, and instead just order what you what for the main. That way, you can sample the best of the restaurant (i.e., the steaks) and avoid the worst (the phoned in bruschetta).

Grade: B


For the rest of my restaurant reviews, click here.

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