It's barely 7pm on a Tuesday night in Meadowhall and Carluccio's is positively heaving. Exposed's Carl(luccio) Reid provides us with his 'esperto opinione' on the dining experience…
Offering authentic Italian cuisine, and using only the freshest ingredients, Carluccio’s is the final piece in the £7m Oasis Dining Quarter redevelopment. And, my word, it was worth waiting for.
Combining a restaurant, food shop and café, and serving breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the day, Carluccio’s offers Italian style and elegance by the bucket-load – whilst still retaining that relaxed, informal vibe that those Italians do so well.
We’re warmly greeted and it’s refreshing to see that, despite it being so brilliantly busy, there’s an abundance of smiling faces – from customers and staff alike. It’s clear that Carluccio’s has wasted no time in establishing itself as something of a social hub at the shopping Mecca.
We kick things off with two dishes from the Primi menu to share – Arancini Di Riso and Mozzarella Dell’Isola. The former presented two perfectly crisp rice balls, one infused delicately with basil pesto, the other with moreish meat ragù, both served with pepolata – their delicious red pepper sauce. The latter combined roasted peppers topped with melting Buffalo mozzarella, sliced Parma ham and rocket – a tried and tested combo that never fails. Perfect portions that offered total satisfaction without ruining the appetite.
The Tortelloni Di Cervo caught my eye for the main – a filled pasta dish containing wine braised venison. Wonderfully rich, and deceptively filling, the soft venison parcels were complimented by a gorgeously gooey cheese sauce. What it lacked in looks, it more than made up for in flavour. A pleasant dish with an air of opulence about it.
My partner opted for an Italian classic, the Fettucce Co Polpettie – egg pasta ribbons and homemade meatballs in a rich tomato and basil sauce. Tender and perfectly seasoned, the meatballs were a real triumph, working in total harmony with the fresh, classic ingredients. Italy on a plate.
With no room left for dessert, we turned our attentions to a couple of unusual drink offerings to finish. The first, Bicerin, a traditional drink from Torino consisted of espresso coffee, Florentine drinking chocolate and cream – which arrived kookily in small jugs for us to mix ourselves. The second, Vin Santo E Cantucci, was Carluccio’s own label Tuscan dessert wine – served with honey and almond biscuits for dipping. Sweet, unusual, and thoroughly recommended as an alternative ending to your visit here.
They’ve got it spot on here – and it can only be a matter of time before they open another Sheffield eatery elsewhere in the city given the establishment’s incredible popularity. The service was both friendly and knowledgeable, the food (which arrived in super-quick time) authentic and more than reasonably priced. Undoubtedly the jewel in the Oasis crown.
Open Monday to Saturday – 8am – 11pm
Sunday – 9am – 10pm
Tasting trio for two – £19.95 (There are thirteen pasta dishes on the menu. Try any three!)
Children’s Menu – £6.50
Menu Fisso – Two courses £9.95
Pasta E Fagioli – £4.65
A thick soup of pasta, creamy borlotti beans and vegetables, with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil infused with chilli and parma ham. With freshly baked focaccia bread.
Brasato Di Manzo – £12.95
Beef stew slow cooked with Chianti served with grilled polenta.