It had been some time since I had visited a Carluccio’s and appreciated the invitation to the new restaurant in Grand Central. We received a warm welcome from the manager and staff and it was great to see so many people enjoying the start of their weekend.
We tried the Gin Giardino cocktail from the Chef’s Specials menu which was a blend of gin, elderflower, Prosecco and fresh apple juice – an English country garden in a glass – and enjoyed it whilst browsing through the rest of the specials and the main menu, and impressively the entirely separate vegetarian menu.
Having been a vegetarian for 25 years I’ve often felt like we’re an afterthought when dining out, and whilst in recent years the situation has improved dramatically, it’s still rare to find a dedicated menu; the waitress advised that Carluccio’s now also offers dairy free, gluten free and vegan menus!
I like the fact that Carluccio’s don’t make the choice even more difficult by excluding pizzas from their offerings. With time on our side and no pressure to order, we requested the Caponata which was a sumptuous sweet and sour aubergine stew with freshly toasted focaccia for dipping and stimulated our taste buds for what was to follow.
We continued with a delicious starter of Risotto Di Piselli – pea risotto with grilled asparagus with shavings of ricotta and pea shoots – and our attentive waitress recommended a crisp white wine to complement. Mains were a beautifully presented Goats Cheese and Beetroot Salad, and a punchy Lobster Spaghetti with plenty of chilli and tasty crayfish.
Unfortunately we were too full to sample the mouth-watering desserts on offer but will definitely return in the near future. This place is an asset to the Carluccio’s chain; an Italian restaurant using the best of British ingredients boasting a lively atmosphere and professional knowledgeable staff.
Review by Kathryn Byng for Grapevine Birmingham