If you know me, you know I’m an absolute sucker for Italian food so when I got the chance to to go down and try out the newly opened eatery, Carluccio’s in Intu Derby, I couldn’t refuse.
Our table was booked for 6pm so we decided to make it a date night and dressed up a tad, Kane wearing my favourite jumper of his.
We were greeted with a smiley face and were shown our table in the back corner of the restaurant which was private and big enough for four people!
We were instantly brought over some tap water and our drinks order was taken.
Our drinks were then brought over and a mixed bread basket and some balsamic vinegar for dipping.
There was a mix of focaccia, granary bread, olive sticks, ciappe and grissini – some breads I never knew even existed!
They took our starter choices down and left us to chat and enjoy the bread selection. Kane particularly enjoyed the homemade focaccia and I the Grissini breadsticks.
Our starters were brought over within 10 minutes and the restaurant was quickly filling up as it edged nearer prime time.
I chose the Sicilian Arancini which were rice filled balls of yumminess.
The small rounder one was filled with buffalo mozzarella and basil and the pointier one was filled with peas, beef ragu and provolone cheese which was delicious. The sauce was a creamy tomato pepolata.
I had tried a version of these from Zizzi’s before Christmas but they didn’t quite match up to these.
Kane chose the Ravioli Fritti which were triangular pasta parcels filled with mozzarella which could be dunked in a tomato, honey and mustard dressing which certainly had a tang.
I also managed to pinch one of these from Kane and they had a cinnamon dusting which added a crunch and made it all that more tasty.
Our mains were delivered shortly after our starters had been whisked away after scoffing them down.
Although things move pretty quickly in this place, you never feel rushed or unwelcome by any of the staff, they’re attentive and are happy to swap anything you need – just like the fellow on the adjacent table.
Our mains quickly made an appearance and I was super excited.
Of course I chose a pizza, c’mon, it’s me! There was a tough choice though as I did want like five other things on the menu but the Parma pizza prevailed.
It had a thin base (just how I like it) topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella and they even added a touch of Gorgonzola for me along with lashings of parma ham, rocket and shaved Parmesan on top.
The pizza was crisp, perfectly cheesed and had a good helping of the aptly named parma ham, the Gorgonzola also added a mature touch in every other mouthful, perfectly tangy.
Kane chose the Chicken Milanese which was accompanied by a zingy dressed side salad. He also was offered a side of rosemary roasties which were so crispy and creamy – sides sauces of mayo and pepper.
The flattened chicken breast was HUGE and coated in the crunchiest batter which Kane just loved.
We almost finished our mains but we just had to leave room for dessert.
Once our plates were cleared and we sent our regards to the chef, we were handed the dessert menus.
I found it pretty difficult to make a choice yet again, I really wanted to try some of the famous gelato but the panna cotta was pulling me in – I gave in eventually and opted for the creamy wonder.
What I loved about this panna cotta so much is the light vanilla taste amplified by the zingy raspberry compote which I’m pretty sure had some liquer in – it had such a kick!
Kane chose the lemon tart which was equally as punchy sided by a scoop of mascarpone cream.
I had a teeny mouthful and what really stood out was the thin, crumbly pastry which was to die for (I’m a bit of a pastry freak).
I also decided to try a tipple from their select cocktail menu and what other than an Espresso Martini.
These are the perfect after dinner drink because of their rich coffee base but made bitterly sweet with the Frangelico liquer.
After thanking our wonderful waitresses, we quietly exited our corner.
Carluccio’s isn’t only a restaurant, it also has a well stocked deli where you can buy a large selection of their produce used from their menu.
I’m quite sad I didn’t manage to grab some of their Panettone at Christmas but I will be picking up some their Amaretti biscuits for my nan for her birthday.
Not only are they in a prime location in the Intu food court but they’ve been long awaited by the people of Derby and suburbs surrounding.
I’ve never had chance to try Carluccio’s in another city before as I’ve always been tempted by other places but I’m very happy Derby finally has one to call it’s own, I’ll be sure to go for lunch here very soon!
What do you think to Carluccio’s? Is there anything on the menu that you would really recommend?
*The restaurant’s PR agency offered me a free meal as an incentive for a review but all the views are my very own. How could I lie about yummy pizza and panna cotta?!