WE REVIEW: Carluccio's Derby

Carluccio's, Derby, United Kingdom

Carluccio’s opened in intu Derby’s food hall late 2016, and was another addition to the seemingly growing list of eateries that are popping up in Derby’s main shopping center.

It was a cold rainy Thursday night so it seemed a better time than any to give this Authetic Italian restaurant a go.

When we arrived we were greeted by the friendly manager who showed us to our table which was by a large window looking out across the food hall. As we wandered through the busy restaurant, the fresh and bright decor, dotted with a stylish art and fittings, provided an attractive visual interest and good sense of space.

A bread basket was brought quickly to the table whilst we were pouring over the large and varied menu. It contained a good assortment of different breads, some crisp and crunchy, some as soft as marshmallow, served with balsamic vinegar and oil for those who like to dip.

The waitress came to the table to take our order, and as we were struggling on what to have – as there was so much to choose from – offered advice on each dish which encouraged us to try something new.

For drinks it was a crisp Italian cider for me, and a Summer Breeze for my dining partner; an apple juice and elderflower mixer with cool cucumber cuts and moreish mint in a cut crystal glass. Refreshing and tasty.

To start I would have the Zuppa di Zucca, a roasted squash soup server with creme fraiche. The soup was smooth and creamy, and nothing was more enjoyable than mopping up using the soft side of focaccia bread. My partner would have the Sicillian Arancini, two crispy rice balls – one filled with buffalo mozzarella and basil, the other with provolone cheese, beef ragù and peas. Gooey rice with a salty taste.

Lasagna Tradizionale was my main of choice. The pasta was soft and cooked well. The Lasagna was a little on the small side so I would advise a side of garlic bread if you wanted something more substantial.

My partner had the Duck Pappardelle; a slow cooked duck, pork, pancetta and mushroom ragù, topped with garlic breadcrumbs. It had a smooth, rich flavour and the cooked duck really stood out. The pasta was a little more al dente than normally liked but the breadcrumbs added a different texture which made for an interesting meal.

To finish, I would be having the Chocolate and Salted Caramel Sundae. The ice cream was luxuriously creamy, and the Amaretti biscuits on top added a subtle flavour that complemented the caramel and chocolate sauce. My partner ordered the Chocolate and Rum Fudge Cake which was delivered as a huge slab of delight, with a perfect scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. The rum was on the strong side but it didn’t ruin the dish.

You will pay a little bit more in Carluccio’s but if you are after some decent Italian food, great service and beautifully generous desserts then it’s well worth a visit.

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