I’ve not had great experiences at Carluccio’s on previous occasions. The first time I ventured in, it took about five minutes for anyone to notice we’d arrived, prompting us to exit swiftly and opting for its long established pizza rival across the road. The second visit, I was disappointed by my less-than-generous portion of lukewarm ravioli.
But, the sun is out, birds are chirping, springtime is in the air (well, sort of) so I took myself, my partner and an open mind over to try the restaurants new summer-themed menu.
“Anitpasti to share” is the order of the day with all the usual suspects making an appearance, such as crunchy grissini wrapped in Parma ham, a selection of salami’s with soft, home baked focaccia and the ubiquitous marinated olives. All perfectly nice, but nothing out of the ordinary.
Onto the more complex dishes. The caponata, sweet and sour aubergine stew served chilled with toasted focaccia, was very flavoursome, though could be too rich if in copious amounts. Prawns wrapped in pancetta were also delicious, exuding a definite summer barbecue taste. Other hot dishes choices included meatballs in tomato sauce, which while satisfying but could benefit from being slightly bigger.
But for me, their pepolata and mozzarella arancini were the ultimate stars of the show – whenever a fresh batch arrived, they were demolished within seconds. Crunchy coating on the outside leading to a gooey cheesy inside with an accompanying pepper dipping sauce, made for non-stop pecking.
To accompany the new menu are also summery inspired cocktails which all include Italian staple, Peroni. The Peroni Strawberry Field was a particular favourite, as was the Peroni piazza which innovatively included peeled ginger and rosemary sprigs all making for perfect accompanying refreshments.
All in all, if you’re looking for somewhere to have a group outing on a hot summer night with good Italian nibbles and cocktails, you can’t really go wrong with the decently prices small plates as well as the antipasti to share platters.
Tel: 0207 836 0990