Walking around the charismatic old North Laine area of Brighton, I stumble across a newly developed corner known as Jubilee Street. Surrounded by dozens of traditional Victorian residences, Carluccio`s contemporary appearance demands you take notice. It wasn`t a dissimilar experience to seeing the glass pyramids in the Louvre for the first time. The town library next door has won architectural awards, demonstrating that this development is at the cutting edge of modern design.
The restaurant`s foyer moonlights as a food shop selling fine Italian food and ingredients. I weave around a wall of boxed panattone, past the olive oil and my partner and I are shown to our seats on the stroke of 7.30.
It`s a November Saturday night and the place has that buzz that a Saturday night should have. The waiter informs us our timing is good. There is often a rush of theatre- goers from 6.30-7.30 which we just missed (consider this if you intend to come here during that time).
We place our order and are given a fine selection of fresh breads and oil to graze on. A bottle of red Sicilian Sicani wine allows us to unwind- a suitably autumnal selection. Staying seasonal for my starter, I opted for the Roast Parsnip Soup from the Specials Board and it didn`t disappoint. It was fairly thick, just how I like it, and set off by a touch of cracked pepper- highly recommended. My partner opted for the Smooth Chicken Liver Pate and toast, which was well presented and suitably rich in taste and texture.
For my main I opted for the Penne alla Luganica that came with a `rich spicy Italian sausage sauce`. Being a person that likes to be well fed I was impressed with the portion size. The pasta was cooked to perfection but I would have liked the sauce to be a touch richer and spicier.
My partner chose the Linguine al Frutti di Mare (Linguine with squid, mussels, clams and prawns with garlic, herbs and chilli). Again, this dish was pleasant enough, but definitely enhanced by the waiter`s recommendation of the chili sauce. There were also question marks over the freshness of the seafood.
The additional consumption of chilli justified a beautifully rich ice cream for dessert. As a son of the baby boomer generation, I still feel ashamed when I don`t completely finish a meal. However, the generosity of these portions defeated me.
Carluccio’s is 5 minutes from the train station, 10 minutes from Brighton Pier and close to both the Theatre Royal and the Royal Pavilion, making it an ideal stop for day trippers and evening visitors alike. It is a relaxed and vibrant place to eat in – the large glass window offers a great position to watch the bustle of Brighton. Despite being part of a large chain, the waiting staff are personal as well as efficient. If you go from mid-December to early January there is a special Christmas menu.
Find out more at www.carluccios.com/restaurants/brighton
Disclosure: For this blog post we were able to gain access to a sample product or service.
To see our full Disclosure Policy please click here.