Carluccio’s for Valentine’s dinner

February 15, 2010

I love eating out but it’s often not possible to dine out with English Boy unless we eat the same boring dishes. Even then there’s no guarantee that the food hasn’t been cross-contaminated in the kitchen. The way I satiate my appetite for eating out is by dining with friends. I never dreamt that a poison pasta palace like Carluccio’s would serve gluten-free food. On a night out with friends I discovered that Carluccio’s DO serve GF food. In fact, they make their own gluten-free pasta and have a full gluten-free menu! You have to wait a little longer for your meal as they prepare the pasta in separate pots so as not to contaminate your dish with gluten from the main dishes. Their GF pasta is corn pasta and it is really tasty. It doesn’t taste like fake pasta. 

Now we LOVE Carluccio’s. I recommend the Giardiniera (buttery courgette with pasta, chilli, parmesan and garlic – unfortunately not served with spinach balls which have breadcrumbs in them), Amatriciana or Frutti di mare. For dessert, the gelati is GF – I love a scoop each of bitter chocolate and arabica coffee together. Mocha goodness. The sorbet is NOT GF so steer clear.

*****     *****    *****

We were given Carluccio’s vouchers for Christmas and got an email voucher for a free bottle of wine a few weeks ago so dinner there seemed like a nice (and cheap!) thing to do for Valentine’s Day. We’re not too bothered about celebrating on just one day, (last year it was a quick supper at Terminal 3 at Heathrow before I flew to Australia), but we wanted to get out and do something together this year as I’m off to Australia again soon. 

I booked online and wrote a little note about having some gluten-free pasta set aside. It was a great move. The staff were really attentive from the moment we sat down. The manager took us to our tables and was more than happy to take me through seafood items on the main menu that they could adapt to be GF. I was really disappointed to see that Amatriciana, my favourite pasta dish, was no longer on the GF menu. 

For dessert, I was really looking forward to sharing a few scoops of gelati. I asked our waiter to double-check that the gelati was OK but he returned to say that it was no longer gluten-free so we didn’t have any. I really hope he was wrong. 

The mains and desserts we ordered were delicious but this was the first time I’ve been disappointed by Carluccio’s. At the time I didn’t really mind and we had a lovely evening but it hindsight it was a bit of a shame. I’m going to find out what’s happened to  my favourite dishes!


One comment

  1. […] posts: Rick Stein’s oven-dried tomato and thyme tart Carluccio’s for Valentine’s Dinner and Leiths gluten-free cooking […]

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