If the rumour (rather persistent I may add) surrounding Antonio Carluccio’s disenchantment with the chain of restaurants bearing his name is anything to go by, then I totally sympathise with him.
Popped in here on the snow blanketed Monday. The one positive thing about Carluccio's is the lunch offer at £8.50. The deal includes a breadbasket or salad to start with, any (ANY!) pasta from the main menu and a non-alcoholic beverage- this practically brings Carluccio's in tow with the likes of Café Uno and Ask. Still this offer is pretty much of a no-brainer, well at least it seemed so initially.
The Atkins’ perennial doom of the breadbasket was technically an entire meal unto itself.
For all those bread lovers out there, no worries; you didn’t miss much. Except for the focaccia, everything in the tin was Grade C-. The olive oil (alarmingly too yellowy to be extra virgin) that came with it lacked depth, in fact come to think of it didn’t taste much of olives either.
The mains, Linguine Al Frutti Di Mare (with squid rings, mussels, prawns in garlic, herbs and chilli.) didn’t taste as good as the photo might suggest.
The pasta dish tasted bland and was in serious need of some valorizzazione alla Parmigiana. I waited patiently for the cheese, it turned up five minutes later when my pasta became tepid. The seafood, without the need of any hazarding whatsoever, obviously came from the frozen medley variety. Thumbs down, both hands included.
I ended the meal with a below par cappuccino, I suspect that our Italian friends will be embarrassed with this brew. This particular branch of Carluccio’s only had white sugar on the table; I don’t know about you folks; brown sugar goes with coffee and white with tea, period.
I lied at this place. The monosyllabic sounding waitress asked whether I enjoyed my meal, I replied that it was great and thank you. Gawd, pants on fire!
The heart and soul of Signor Carluccio is nowhere to be found, well certainly not here anyway. Blame it on the snow, or maybe it was just Monday blues- sorry mate no excuses, this chain is going down the drain.
St. Christopher's Place,