Friday, 24 August 2012

Carluccio's Glasgow (Review number 2) - Never Again

Nik and I decided to have a random meal out on Tuesday (I'd had a long, horrible day at work and was fed up) so decided to give Carluccio's another try as a friend had mentioned recently that she thought I might like it.  (She didn't know about the last time.)  I had my camera this time so these are all my own photos (tried to be subtle so they're all a bit dark I'm afraid).

We weren't expecting it to be very busy at 8.30pm on a Tuesday night but it was busier than we thought and had a nice atmosphere, plus we were given a better table this time.  Until I realised how chilly it was due to the draught from the open doors and ended up eating with my jacket on.  We could have asked to move but we didn't want to end up on one of the tiny, close together tables again where you feel like you're sitting with strangers.

Quick snap from our table

We like the decor and the deli always looks impressive when you walk in.  The staff were friendly and more on the ball this time, I got smiles each time a waiter went past if I happened to look up.  We ordered sparkling water which again came with no ice so we had to ask for some, although the water was chilled it didn't stay that way for long.  However, some ice was quickly fetched, I just don't know why they don't automatically give you glasses with ice when you order water.  (This apparently seems to be a bug bear of mine!)

We decided to have starters this time as we were very hungry and I had spotted something I wanted to try after visiting Italy itself since our last visit to Carluccio's!  I ordered the Mozzarella Dell'Isola which is described as Melting Buffalo mozzarella, roasted peppers, sliced parma ham and rocket.  Now, when a starter has Mozzarella in the name and mozzarella is described as the first ingredient, you would expect that to be the main portion of the dish, yes?  I don't think I was being unreasonable to expect something along the lines of this delicious pile of cheese we received in a little local pizza place in Sorrento...

Mmmm, delicious melty mozzarella

Don't get me wrong, I wasn't expecting that exact dish, nor was I expecting the mozzarella to be as yummy as in Italy, but I was expecting mozzarella!  What I got was this...

See that little white blob of garnish in the middle?!  That would be the bite of melted mozzarella!  What I actually received was a plate of parma ham, a pile of rocket, two slices of roasted pepper and that pathetic piece of cheese.  Luckily, Nik loves parma ham and he had ordered the bruschetta as we planned to share anyway so we just swapped instead.  However, disappointed is not the word to describe how I felt when that arrived.  I was so looking forward to lots of scrummy, white cheesy goodness.  We ordered the masive olives I loved so much the last time we went to try to cheer me up (food disappointment depresses me!) but even they weren't as good without bread to counteract the saltiness.

We had already eaten 2 when I remembered to take a photo!

The bruschetta was very tasty but I'm guessing they had gallons of rocket to use up as that wasn't even mentioned in the description.

Anyway, on to the main courses.  I had gone prepared for not having chicken this time and actually thought I'd try the spaghetti and clams since I'd had that about 3 times in Sorrento and loved it!  But then I was swayed by the risotto on the specials menu as I do love a risotto which is definitely one of my comfort foods and as it was on the specials, wouldn't be available next time (I thought I would have the clams on our next visit - that won't be happening!)  So I ordered the chicken and lemon risotto and Nik ordered the fettucine with home-made meatballs.

Sadly, again both dishes were massively under-seasoned meaning we had to use the ridiculous, awful salt flakes provided on the table.  They might look pretty but when trying to add some flavour to a dish that's already cooked, you tend to get big crunchy salty areas as it doesn't mix in properly!  Cue us trying to grind the salt in our fingers to sprinkle over and stir in, not pleasant (especially when you think of who else might have had their fingers dipped in the salt dish throughout the day!)

Nik's pasta was very overcooked to the point of being mushy and although the meatballs were tasty and had some flavour due to the herbs, even they could have used more seasoning.  The chicken in my risotto was cut into very small pieces and was dry and tough.  Without the salt, there was a hint of lemon flavour but overall tasted utterly bland!  I yet again left feeling that I could have made the dishes better myself.

Our total bill came to around £35 after our £5 voucher was taken off (Nik always finds vouchers, he's amazing!) and I wish we'd not bothered and just stayed in.  Perhaps my friend had a better experience of the food or is a bit less fussy than me (although I don't think I'm usually that hard to please) but when mentioning to her that I was unimpressed, she did say she had thought the menu was a bit uninspiring and didn't love the choices available which I have to agree with.

So, not impressed for the second time.  We will not be giving it another chance.  There are much better Italian restaurants in Glasgow, even Zizzi's is better than this bland rubbish.

Carluccio's on Urbanspoon


Unknown said...

Yikes - such a shame you had two bad experiences.

Unknown said...

Eurgh, I hate when you spend money on a meal and you would have enjoyed anything cooked at home more. Makes me really grumpy!! xox

amy said...

Do you know, I have never eaten at a Carluccios. And after reading this looks like I won't ever bother.

kates said...

I've eaten at three Carluccio's - Windsor, Leeds (which is relatively new) and one in London. I loved the ones in London and Windsor but the food at the Leeds one was pretty poor to be honest.

Another Carluccio's has just opened near me and I doubt I'll try it. I just feel like they're opening too many and spreading themselves too thinly, which may mean that the quality is compromised...


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