Having opened just a few months ago in Chelmsford, Carluccio’s is a new addition to the city and brings with it an Italian/Mediterranean flair that sits well amongst the variety of other restaurants in the vicinity. Plus, with a comprehensive gluten free menu the restaurant really does stand out amongst the crowd!
With a minimalist, clean design the restaurant is open and bright thanks to the windows on almost every side of the restaurant. The tables are laid out with enough room between them that you aren’t going in another couples conversations, and there is even an in-house store to pick up any treats you may fancy before, during or after your meal.
On request we were provided with a gluten free menu, which also has dairy free options on the reverse too, and I was really impressed to see so many options available – particularly fresh bread! If you have eaten gluten free bread before you will know it is difficult to get right, and particularly to ensure that it is tasty and not dry. Carluccio’s managed this perfectly and I would buy several loaves of that bread if I could!
We started with a drink each, mine a Bellini cocktail, some olives (which were a little annoying as they arrived without any cocktail sticks) and then proceeded to our starters. Both ordered from the gluten free menu we selected the Antonio’s Chicken Liver Pate and Prawn Marinara. The dishes arrived quickly and were certainly tasty, as previously mentioned the bread certainly made these dishes a winner.
I would say the presentation is quite rustic, there is no fussing and the taste is more the focus than the presentation of the dish itself. That said, the crockery used I absolutely loved and it certainly added a Mediterranean edge to the meal.
For our main course we selected the Lamb in Padella, which was served with a chilled caponata, and the Beef Ragu. Further proving the success of their gluten free offerings, the beef ragu was served with gluten free pasta made from corn and chickpea flour. This was really nice, and I was definitely impressed – for gluten free pasta it still had a good bite and was tasty too. My only comment would be that there could have been more ragu sauce as I felt some of the pasta was left a little dry.
The lamb was delicious however and felt off the bone, it was cooked to perfection and certainly a dish to try if you visit Carluccio’s! The combination of the hot meat and cold caponata was certainly interesting but they complimented each other well.
Overall I was definitely impressed with the menu at Carluccio’s, in particular the gluten free selection was extensive and certainly surpassed that of other chain restaurants and eateries in the local area.0