Presenting Antonio Carluccio's originally named cafe chain, Carluccio's.
I've eaten here a few times and the food is usually pretty good. Having said that, there are some dishes that it does better.
One of the first things I've had there was a tomato, mozzerella and basil panini. This was actually quite disappointing and a rip off considering what it was. The filling was rather on the stingy side and the bread was a bit dry and thick. It could have been greatly improved if they were more generous with the filling.
However, on other occassions, the food has been very satisfying.
The chicken liver parfait was smooth as silk. Not a single lump, lightly flavoured with rosemary and perfectly seasoned. It came served with grilled bread and mini pickles, which were nicely tart to cut through the richness of the parfait. A very generous size for an entree. We had to request some extra bread to finish it off.
For mains, the Lawyer the grilled steak on the bone with pan fried potatoes. It came with this chilli-pepper sauce (kinda Mexican in flavour). The Lawyer loved this dish. The steak was fresh (it had only just been delivered to the kitchen) and juicy. Nothing beats a grilled steak.
I ordered the seafood risotto. While the risotto was perfectly cooked and seasoned, the seafood was underwhelming. I'm fairly sure the seafood was fresh, and not frozen, but I expected it to be bigger and more of it.
Carluccio's also has a deli/take away section. As we were greedy guts, we also bought a tub of sweet and sour eggplant. This was very morish - even the Lawyer thought so and he's not a fan of eggplant. The balance of sweet and sour was perfect and the eggplant was also perfectly firm but squishy.
Good and reliable Italian food. A bit disappointed that they don't have wood fired pizzas. But on the plus side, it has a nice deli area that does some pretty interesting and tasty nibbles - olives, cured meats, pasta salads etc. Naturally, there's a good range of Carluccio branded groceries - egg pasta, pesto, olive oil - that you can buy to recreate what you've just eaten.
Canary Wharf E14 5AJ
Telephone: 020 7719 1749