Sunday, February 23

Dines Out: Carluccio’s

- August 20, 2018

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There are times when reliability is the name of the game. Days when I want to know that I am going to get exactly what I want, a meal that ticks all the boxes with no or little risk of disappointment. It comes into play most when I am travelling around and have little local knowledge to fall back on, and in those circumstances I rely on trusted chains.

One I have always found to offer just that level of service is Carluccio’s, so although I was not away, I wanted just that, that comfortably reliability.

I was dining with my dear colleague Ms S, a treat after a very busy period of intense work and much deserved and we were there for the full works – which of course starts with wine, on this occasion two glasses of crisp Sicilian white. Perfect.

Ms S spends a lot of time cooking for her vegan sibling so the chance of a few meaty treats was on the cards. She was more than happy with her starter of their well made and very tasty chicken liver pate, as smooth as one might hope and served with a red onion confit. I often choose this so I could easily see why it put a smile on her face.

Antonio would not have been disappointed by the food prepared in his name

I went to the specials board and chose the courgette flowers, deep fried, stuffed with soft ricotta and herbs and served on a good tomato sauce – a real taste of summer and not too heavy either. For my main I stayed on that board and had the langoustine risotto, very nice too, plenty of sweet crustacea, the rice just right and the whole not too stodgy. I like my risotto nice and loose and this was just right, and the addition of samphire gave it that real taste of the sea. I was also delighted that our charming waiter realised that I am no slouch when it comes to knowing my stuff and that in no way would I want Parmesan on a fish dish – the very idea fills me with horror!

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Ms S was disappointed that the calves liver was off, but when here second choice of sea bass arrived she was delighted. Two good fillets, crisp skin, sauté potatoes and a ragout of fresh and sun-dried tomatoes made her very happy. As did our second glass each of
the wine.
It was a dull but warm evening and when it came to dessert ice cream was clearly going to be the answer, chocolate and salt caramel for her and limoncello for me – simple delights.

I met Antonio on a few occasions and wallowed in his passion for the simple delights of Italian food. I don’t think he would have been disappointed by the fare prepared in his name, and nor were we.

1 Jubilee Street, Brighton BN1 1GE

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