Report news now! Text pictures & video to 80360, starting message with WITNESS then leave a space
Review: Carluccio's, Bluewater
CARBS are not the enemy – that’s what I kept telling myself as I stuffed down plate after plate of delicious bread and pasta at Carluccio’s at Bluewater.
Located in the Greenhithe shopping centre’s upmarket Village dining area, the restaurant has a classy look with outside seating perfect for Mediterranean summer days and plenty of inside space for British wind and rain. A striking mirrored back wall gives the impression that the place stretches for miles.
The menu is classically Italian, with all the old favourites you would expect at a reasonable, but not bargain, price.
To start, after breads, I opted for the Pasta e Fagioli soup (£4.65) - a thick, homely mixture of tomato, creamy borlotti beans and pasta, with (more) focaccia bread. It was rich and satisfying – the sort of dish that puts a broad grin on your face. It reminded me of mum’s home-cooked stew, in a good way.
Laura, my girlfriend, had the mushroom and pancetta soup (£4.65), also with focaccia. It was thinner in consistency but laden with mushroom and bacon goodness.
Choosing a main was tough. Everything looked appetising, and seeing other people’s meals coming out looking great made it even tougher. Eventually I plumped for the gnocchi with roast lamb ragu (£10.95). The gnocchi was soft, the sauce tomatoey and rich, the meat tender and the plate spotless within moments of it arriving.
It is not often you get the chance to eat wild boar, so Laura jumped at the chance to try the Tuscan wild boar fettuce (£8.95). The rich concoction of tender, intensely flavoured meat and boozy red wine sauce was a winner.
Full as we were, skipping dessert was not an option with such an inviting array on offer. The chocolate fondant (£4.95) was soft and chocolatey, given an extra depth with a splash of kahlua. Every mouthful was a pleasure. Not necessarily everybody’s favourite, the chocolate bread and butter pudding (£4.95) was ok, but failed to capture the same enthusiasm as the fondant.
While it is possibly a quid or two steep for main courses, Carluccio’s is a great place to take a date or entertain a slightly larger group. The atmosphere, setting and service are faultless and the food – while an indulgence – will leave you feeling very happy.