The first of the chains in 2016 and a shame to get Carluccio’s ticked off so early in the year. It’s not that the food is outstanding or the value that good. It’s more the fact that when you’re alone in a strange town Carluccio’s (like Pizza Express) is dependable and saves you having to think. So it was a tactical mistake to pick one close to home for the sole visit of the year.
Nevertheless, we didn’t want a big lunch but we did want some decent wine so Carluccio’s extensive menu was ideal for our purposes and we got what we were looking for. Food-wise we took the big antipasti to share. It came on a curious bridge-type wooden construction that effectively cut us off from one another on either side of the table. Not really conducive to conversation but we managed. The bits and pieces were tasty enough and sufficient to plug the hunger gap. A slosh of red did the trick on the booze side of things.
The R Square restaurant is a bit of a goldfish bowl in the evening but in the daytime the big picture windows let in a welcome flood of cool winter sunlight. We dined in a convivial atmosphere of local NHS and office workers with a smattering of shoppers, helped along by friendly service. I’m not gutted to not be going back for a while but the next time I’m eating bad pasta in a small university town I’ll likely be wishing I could have gone to Carluccio’s instead.
To see which other restaurants I’ve visited in 2016 check out my GoogleMap
Blue Badge guide to London and academic specialising in early twentieth century history. Blogging on history, academia, and food and culture in the capital (and occasionally elsewhere).