Carluccio’s Nottingham – A review or two

Carluccio's Nottingham - Lovely simple, light, airy, friendly, tasty, Italian food
Carluccio's Nottingham - Lovely simple, light, airy, friendly, tasty, Italian food

I had been quite excited about Carluccio’s opening in Nottingham and managed to miss the opening night, but have now been and sampled their lovely food.

I went yesterday with my mate Tim Garratt (Nottingham’s most prolific blogger) for lunch and it (not he) was gorgeous and great value. It was also packed by 13.00 with people waiting for seats when we left.

We both had two courses from the fixed price menu of a bruschetta to start and then some chicken in breadcrumbs thing to follow. Gorgeous, simple food without any pretention but the sweetest tomatoes you will try this side of venice and for me, the nearest I have found anyone coming to the quality and tastiness of the bruschetta I had in Rome some years ago. With (soft) drinks, bread, coffees and service it all came to £34.00. Not bargain bucket stuff, but really good value for such a lovely meal, with quick friendly service.

So I’ve been again today for a brunch. That was maybe even nicer. Scrambled eggs with mushrooms on gorgeous oil soaked italian toasted bread. Three of us went and all had similar versions of an italian brekkie and it came to £27.00. Again not for nothing, but worth every penny.

We left around midday, just as Jamies up the road was opening. They had a queue. I’m still to try it for myself, but the light friendliness and tasty food of Carluccio’s will be hard to beat.

Jamie's Italian Nottingham - A queue for opening
Jamie's Italian Nottingham - A queue for opening

Jamie’s Italian in Nottingham and Carluccio’s too – How lucky are we?

Jamie's Italian Nottingham - I can't wait

Over Christmas, we ate in Carluccio’s in Canterbury and I have to say that I think it was the nicest food I have eaten this side of Venice or Rome. It was beautifully fresh, incredibly tasty and pretty remarkable value. Five of us had starters, main courses a bottle of wine and some drinks for the kids. It came to £80. Not absolute KFC bargain bucket, but great value for such top quality cooking and simple unfussy service. Carluccio’s wasn’t a brand I had been particularly aware of before this, so it was a nice surprise as my expectations probably weren’t that high.

So I was quite pleased to see they have a new one opening in Nottingham. Building work is well underway. I guess it will be February or so for the opening.

The website just says it is opening soon.

Also over Christmas, I cooked a rather gorgeous turkey and leek pie that I adapted from a Jamie Oliver recipe. Basically I added ham and some other leftover veg from Christmas dinner to make sure I had enough to feed the 14 hungry mouths around the table. It got quite remarkable critical acclaim, so thanks Jamie. I have to confess that I do rely on a few of his recipes, with his pizza base and tomato sauce topping recipe from his Italian book still being the nicest one I have ever made.

And then, I noticed that there is an all new Jamie’s Italian opening just up from Carluccio’s in February too. The difference is, I have high expectations of the Jamie Oliver brand. I know it so well, that I expect it to be excellent simple food and good value too. The whole Jamie Oliver brand is built on this platform, so it has to deliver.

I am genuinely excited to have an ‘eat off’ and see who does the best grub. I am convinced that the food in Jamie’s will be absolutely gorgeous. Friends have been rubbing it in about which ones they have eaten at and the reports are excellent.

It’s my birthday later this week, so I’m asking for a meal at both of these new places (when they open) rather than a conventional present.

I may invite AA Gill along so he can review them both with me. I’m sure he’s very welcome anytime in Nottingham.

According to the Nottingham Evening Post, Jamies Italian will open on Monday 7th February. Hopefully see you there soon after.

Updated 07.02.11
Just spoken to a friend who went last week as part of the soft launch. This was open to friends and insiders and seemingly, those who worked for Boots and was half price!

The verdict?

Fabulous food, really well thought out layout for a potentially difficult building, great value (even better at half price) and superb service.