Liz Coggins experiences a true taste of Italy


Greek Street is rapidly becoming known as ‘Little Italy’ due to the plethora of Italian restaurants that have surfaced there over the last few years.

However one stands above the rest – Carluccio’s. Newly refurbished and with a cosmopolitan air Carluccio’s can be exactly what you want it to be.

Perfect for breakfast or an early morning Caffe Latte, the ideal place for a business or girlie lunch, there’s even a child’s menu so its great for family occasions. But in the evenings when its warm and welcoming décor is lit by candle light it turns into a sophisticated but laid back Italian bistro with an air of romantic calm.

It was a freezing night when we visited but as soon as we entered we felt a breath of Italian sunshine and a warm welcome from its front of house staff.

It’s no wonder Carluccio’s has a While You Decide .. section on its menu as the menu, filled with gastronomic delights to suit every taste, takes a while to go through.

We plumped for the Bread Tin of assorted breads served with extra virgin oil and balsamic vinegar and another dish of some marinated mixed olives. The bread was tasty and warm and the olives marinated with some tasty dressing.

As it was a cold night outside I decided on the Zuppa Di Funghi Con Pancetta a rich mushroom and bacon soup. Now I will admit I am not a soup fan but this one converted me and must go down as one of the most delicious I have tasted. It was packed with fresh mushrooms and the bacon gave it a kick in the flavour while the broth was light and tasty.

My colleague opted for Calamari and was not disappointed as it arrived hot and with ultra crispy batter accompanied by a garlic mayonnaise and lemon that complimented the dish perfectly..

Fish is always one of my restaurant favourites and I was interested to see this restaurant’s take on sea bass fillets. The fish was cooked exactly as it should be and presented beautifully with the salad and tomato salsa giving it an added flavour. There was not an awful lot of choice on the side dishes but I was exceptionally pleased with my Patate – rosemary and garlic potatoes.

Chicken Saltimbocca, a new dish to the menu, was the adventurous choice of my colleague. Saltimbocca means jump in your mouth and this dish certainly fits the bill. The dish consisted of a chicken breast wrapped in Parma ham – nothing unusual you may say – but the white wine and sage sauce gave it a wonderful fashion of flavour. My colleague commented that Parma ham can be salty but the sauce gave it a new and real flavour .

We really wondered if we could manage a desert, but as usual we did.
My colleague was ecstatic with the Tiramisu one of her favourites and one she has experienced in some of the most famous hotels and restaurants all over the world. “This is one of the best”, she declared.

I was a little disappointed with my Chocolate and Salted Caramel Sundae. The presentation was beautiful and it looked delicious but sadly I think it had been put on the hot plate or near a heated surface which made the dessert soon translate into a rather gungy mess and spoil all the different flavours and sauces it contained. Ice cream should be cold and as it was freezing outside you could hardly blame the weather!

We finished off with two delicious coffees as only Carluccio’s knows how to serve with their secret Italian blend of coffee that warmed us up ready for a long cold journey home.

To reserve a table at Carluccio’s, 5 Greek Street, Leeds call 0113 242 2038.

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