intu Derby has so many restaurants nowadays, that when you need to refuel during your shopping trip, there's so much choice with a variety of different cuisines.
Carluccio's wave the flag for Italy following their opening in October last year and since then has been a welcome addition.
Me and my brother headed over for a meal where we were shown to our table in the window, perfect for me as I love people watching! Or server was super friendly and chatty and bought over our drinks. A craft cider for Camden and a Summer Garden Apple & Elderflower soft drink for me.
The interior is very clean, fresh and welcoming. It feels light and airy despite being inside a shopping centre which is great as you forget where you are for a moment.
We ordered starters but held back on mains as Camden was yet to make his mind up. I liked this because it meant we didn't have to delay on the food as I was absolutely starving!
Camden went for Crab Macaroni which is a recent addition to their menu. Perfect for those who love their sea food. It was delicate but packed full of flavour.
For myself, I had the Sicilian Arancini which are basically deep fried balls of risotto rice, these with a duo of flavours. One, Mozzarella & Basil and the other a Beef Ragu. I was so sure that the Mozzarella would be my favourite but I was wrong. The Beef Ragu had so much more flavour in comparison to the Mozzarella which almost became bland at the side of it.
For the main courses, I went for my all time favourite Italian dish which is Lasagne and of course a side of Garlic Focaccia. I was satisfied with my Lasagne. The presentation wasn't anything special and I've had better, I've had worse. No complaints from me.
On the other hand, Camden's Seabass in Padella (which means pan fried) looked delicious. It screamed flavour. He was recommended this dish after asking our server which she'd prefer out of this and the Steak. I think he was glad to have chosen this dish as it was something different for him. As the Seabass was filleted, it meant no worrying about bones either.
Obviously, I can't skip a dessert. Eton Mess is an absolute must for myself when it's on a menu so when I spotted the Meringa Al Frutto Della Passione, I was sold straight away. The combination of the Passionfuit Cream and Raspberry Coulis was so sweet and tasty. The Meringue was crunchy, crumbly and melt in the mouth but with a chewy centre.
Camden went for the Chocolate & Rum Fudge Cake which was soft, rich and had a perfect balance of rum. Nothing too overpowering.
I didn't realise myself until visiting that Carlucco's has it very own deli to the side of the restaurant selling all sorts of foodie goodies from Oils and Drizzlers to Chocolates and Pasta. They also sell those incredible Meringues which were in my dessert. Definitely going back for one of them next time I'm there!
Overall, I had a lovely time at Carluccio's. It was my first visit to the chain and I'd definitely return. The staff were all so friendly, welcoming and really want to do everything they can to give you the best experience. The food was great and with a super extensive menu, there's something for everyone. Even my brother who doesn't usually like Italian cuisine enjoyed all three courses of his meal.
Thanks for having me Carluccio's!