Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Carluccio's Dummy Run

Last week, my boyfriend and I were invited to eat at the new Carluccio's restaurant on Grey Street in Newcastle. This was a 'dummy run' evening, where the invitees acted as guinea pigs, so the staff (who were still in training) could get some practice before the grand opening; in return we got free food, so a win win situation really. There are over 70 Carluccio's restaurants in the UK (this is the first in the Tyne and Wear area) and there are also several franchises of the restaurant in Ireland and the Middle East.

The shop at the front of the restaurant

I would describe Carluccio's as a trendy Italian restaurant, the décor is very light and airy, and the menu is pretty standard Italian food with middle range pricing. The restaurants also have an integrated food shop, which sell all sorts. There were cakes, chocolates, pasta, cook books, cured meats and antipasti to name a few. I saw some really nice potential gifts in there, too, like a really lovely olive oil set which I thought would be nice for my mum.


My boyfriend drank beer for the night, but I treated myself to a Mediterraneo, which is basically a gin and tonic with a sprig of lemon thyme in it. I'm not too sure if the lemon thyme added much to the flavour of the drink, as it was just used as a garnish, maybe it would have been nicer to infuse the thyme in the gin as well. I love gin, anyway, so I'm not complaining.

Our waiter, who I believe was called Felipe, was fantastic. He recommended that we tried the Antipasto Massimo to start. This is a sharing platter full of meats, roasted vegetables, a green bean salad, caponata and focaccia bread. This was right up my alley, I could eat platters like this all day. I particularly enjoyed the Caponata (aubergines in a sauce), but I would have preferred it if the salad had had a bit more dressing on it.

Antipasto Massimo

For the main course, my boyfriend had Penne Alla Luganica, which is a pasta in a tomato sauce with Italian sausage. I had a little taste, and it was beautiful, the sauce tasted very fresh and the pasta was cooked to perfection. I, on the other hand had the Branzino Con Finocchio e Capperi (sea bass with crushed potatoes). This was also beautiful, the sea bass was so flavourful and the potatoes weren't dry at all, and came with capers and olives. I would have preferred if there had been a wedge of lemon provided with the meal, as, even though it was very tasty, I do enjoy lemon with fish. We also ordered the tomato salad as a side dish, which was very tasty and fresh, but I don't think it was dressed, so a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar would have been nice.

Branzino Con Finocchio e Capperi

We then decided to share a dessert (which I forgot to photograph, sorry!!), we went for the Torta di Limone. You could tell that it was home made by the way it looked, and it tasted gorgeous. It was so lemon-ny and the filling was very creamy. It was pretty big, so I wouldn't recommend getting one to yourself unless you have plenty of room! To compliment our desert, we also got a shot of limoncello (an Italian lemon liqueur) which came straight from the freezer.

Overall, a wonderful meal. The service was absolutely fantastic, and I could only find tiny faults with the food I ate. Even though it was a dummy run, our experience was definitely a positive one, so hats off to the team at Carluccio's in Newcastle.


  1. Hi Kate - all looks sooo yummy!

    I've tagged you in the Liebster Award, look forward to see your replies :o)


  2. Replies
    1. It was great, I would definitely recommend!

  3. Replies
    1. Ugh I know! They had massive jars full of chocolate truffles too, it was overwhelming to say the least!


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