Restaurant Review: Carluccio’s, NW8

Since opening a small Covent Garden cafe in 1991, Carluccio’s has become a sprawling chain with branches all over the country, recipe books, merchandise and more.

But a trip to the restaurant in St John’s Wood gives the impression they haven’t forgotten how to do the basics well.

It’s a big, bright, airy place with lots of natural light, half of which was taken up with the delicatessen selling cheese, meat and other Italian goodies.

The staff are very welcoming – the manager came over to say hello and once we told the waiter we were in a rush he overcame his relaxed Italian instincts and put on the rush for us.

And the food? A cut above quite a few independent Italian places I’ve been to. Our starter of grilled peppers with melted mozzarella and cured ham was as delicious as it sounds, rich and satisfying.

The fillet of sea bass was a light oceanic treat with a tangy tomato salsa and the rib-eye came with a red pepper sauce that was a chargrilled indulgnce.

Carluccio’s is well worth a look and, with plenty of them dotted around London, finding one won’t be a problem.