Last night, Tiz and I had the pleasure of going along to Carluccio’s in Spinningfields to test out their special Valentine’s menu. We’re both fans of the chain, having visited this Manchester restaurant before (plus a couple of others in the North West). With the big day just around the corner, we wanted to test drive a few of the dishes – we’re both big fans of Italian food (proper Italian food, the more authentic the better) so the bar was set pretty high!
The 3 course menu is an incredible £19.95 per person, with drinks extra. We decided to go for three courses, plus a bottle of the Barbera Briccontondo red wine. We were greeted by the lovely Hannah, and looked after by herself and waiter Jonny – they’re both a credit to Carluccio’s. We had several great chats with Jonny throughout the evening, and he makes a cappuccino to die for. If you’re going for an after dinner coffee, ask if he’s on shift! Hannah was also incredibly helpful in recommending dishes and the little extras, like bread and olives, which made the experience extra special.
On to the food! To start, I had the vegetarian Parmigiana Stack which was nothing short of divine. Tiz opted for the Chicken Liver Pate which he thought was exceptional. The starters were a major success and set the perfect tone for the evening, along with the wine which was the ideal accompaniment. Yum!
Time for mains! Tiz had no trouble choosing the Lobster Spaghetti as he’d had a similar dish in Rome which he said was the best food he’s ever tasted. I chose the vegetarian main of course, the Risotto Verde. Both dishes were incredibly generous and we both ate around 2/3rds of the course – they were fantastic, but we were stuffed! My Risotto was very tasty and had a real freshness to it – the spring onion garnish was a game changer and I enjoyed every bite. Tiz thought his dish was very good too, which is a real compliment considering he was directly comparing it to the best restaurant we ate in in Rome!
Then came dessert! The Chocolate Mousse For Two was on the cards – the dark chocolate option wasn’t quite ready so we each had the white chocolate one, which would have been both of our preferences anyway. We were also given the option of trying an extra dessert from the main menu, and opted for some Mango and Mandarin Sorbet for that refreshing twist. The mousse was divine, and the accompanying macaroons and granola were out of this world. The sorbet was equally stunning – I think the flavours were beautiful. So light and perfect for after dinner!
Tiz then had a cappuccino, expertly made by Jonny – we know it’s not the done thing in Italy to have one in the evening but it was too hard to resist. The coffee came with two chocolate covered coffee beans which we really enjoyed, I think they’re available to buy in the Carluccio’s deli and I can see myself picking up a bag next time we go in!
So, what’s the verdict? Neither of us could fault the experience in any way whatsoever. The Spinningfields Carluccio’s staff are wonderful, the food was top notch and atmosphere in the restaurant was lovely. Their Valentine’s menu is pretty much perfect – plus, as they have other special menus like their vegan one, heading there with a vegan friend would be ideal too. They could choose from that menu separately, and you could pick the Valentine’s one! Top marks all round – we’ll definitely be back to the Spinningfields Carluccio’s very soon! A huge thank you to Jonny, Hannah and the chefs for an excellent night all round.