Over the past 3 weeks I've been doing nothing but eating - at least that's how my belly feels! I've tried some of the best dishes from the world's best creme brules and the tenderest roasted ducks to mouth-watering sirloin steaks. I've also tried dishes so bad that I wanted to give Gordon Ramsey a bell - hell, he'd enjoy that one Shropshire pub, he SO would! One of my most recent adventures was dinner at Carluccio's at Grand Central, Birmingham. Because when such a popular restaurant goes through its biggest rebrand in 16 years, you just have to try it!
Birmingham is the youngest city in Europe - almost 40% of its population is under 25 years of age. FACT. It's incredibly important for businesses to understand this and to reflect it in their offer - and that's exactly what Carluccio's have done. Their new menu offers simple, fresh, authentic Italian dishes (at pretty affordable prices - I was in fact very pleasantly surprised how purse-friendly the menu was!).
My heart has definitely been won over by the Bruschetta Trio Board - three crispy (but not one of those dead hard ones that graze your gums, ouch!) ciabattas with fresh toppings - one with fresh baby plum tomatoes, basil and garlic, another with a red onion marmalade and goats cheese and the last one with a traditional aubergine stew. I can't possibly tell you which one's the one - they are all equally delicious - but I do have a thing for anything with red onions, mmm!
Penne Giardiniera, a bowl of penne with zucchini, chilli and fried spinach balls, is one of the very original dishes that have been on the menu since the very beginning. The story goes that Antonio cooked this dish for his friend on one of those days when 'there's nothing in the pantry'. An incredibly simple dish (hint hint - you can totally recreate the recipe just like Anna did here) with ingredients so fresh it makes you feel like you're on holiday! Can we also talk their Tiramisu please? Tiramisu is the perfect summer desert, but with an extra drop of liquor it turns into a real hearty autumn/winter comforter.
On the way home you can pick up the pasta & sauce you've just fallen in love with from the Carluccio's deli shop (so you can recreate it at home as soon as you get in and stuff your face without people judging you, yes!). Or if you're in rush you can pop in for a cuppa and a fresh cake to take away.
Have you been to Carluccio's before?
Find out more here.
💭 The delicious food was provided by Mr Antonio's crew (thank you!), the very hungry belleh was provided by me.