Buon Natale – a very Merry Christmas to you lovelies.
Our latest whereabouts landed us right in the city centre, as we headed over to the Trinity, to tuck into a festive menu at Carluccio’s.Leeds is in full Christmas swing, with weekends and late-night sprees heaving full of shoppers.
The Christmas decorations are up, and the Trinity is feeling the festivities with Mistletoe lights glowing and the traditional Wishmas tree is back, as big as ever.
Embracing the seasonal holiday, Carluccio’s menu festivo shares its Italian food delights in homage to Christmas celebrations 1,683KM south-east from Leeds.From classic nibbles to meaty sharers, classic broths and seafood, hungry souls visiting will be well fed and hydrated here, leaving with a full belly from a humbling Natale feast.
Our feast began with Carluccio’s bread tin, crammed with classic bakes and Nathan’s favourite of the night, the salted focaccia.As always, the oils and balsamic were a dipping delight, making these gorgeously baked breads even more desirable.
Within the mix was also a flatbread coated with multigrain and fennel seeds, crisp and flavoursome.To accompany the slices of bread, we had Nocellara olives which are my all-time favourites. These giant bright green olives are balls of Sicilian heaven.
For starters, I opted for the classic Antipasti, and what a sight it was. Delicately cured meats – finocchiona salami and prosciutto Gran Sasso – with a homemade baked ricotta, a crispy flatbread and vegetables.
The caponata, sweet and sour style baked aubergine, was a surprising highlight on the plate. I happily would have eaten 10 of them if they were placed before me.Nathan opted for the Plin in Brodo, a traditional dish from Piemonte. This dish is a well-seasoned chicken broth with pinched pasta stuffed with beef and pork.
Choosing a main was a no-brainer for me. I spotted the Lobster & Crab Lasagna, and it was a clear decision. I love seafood, although I’ve never had lobster, so it seemed like the perfect choice to make.
And this lady was very happy with her main meal. Amongst the sheets of lasagne, there was lobster, crab and crayfish, with layers of spinach, ricotta and tomato sauce. Topped with garlic breadcrumbs, and a heck load of parmesan because I purposely forgot to say stop, this combo was on point.I’ve previously shied away from pasta dishes when I’m eating out, as often I felt that a) I could either cook it myself at home and b) the portions were too small.
From this experience, it’s totally flipped it on its head, and I’d definitely come back for this seafood lasagne.
As soon as I saw steak on the menu, I didn’t need to ask Nathan what he was having. The Bistecca Ribeye con Tartufo is a tender grass-fed, 21 day aged 8oz ribeye, and topped with a smother of truffle butter.
Soft, and cooked to perfection, the steak was juicy and a great cut of meat. Nathan was very happy indeed.We opted for a few sides too, not that all of them were necessary but roasties are always a must try, Nathan loves spinach and the broccolini was recommend by our extremely hospitable waiter.
Tentative at first, and although I love my vegetables, I’d rarely ever order a side of broccoli, so I was really interested to see if we’d be blown away by it.
With a perfect crunch, the broccoli stems were steamed just right, the freshness could be tasted, with the chilli, garlic and almonds adding to the depth of flavour.
I have to hold my hands up, I was terribly wrong for being tentative, and this was by far the best side. Again, the next time I dine at Carluccio’s the Broccolini will become my standard side.The rosemary and garlic roast potatoes were also a good choice, served with a fresh twig of rosemary for that extra aroma. Crispy coat and fluffy potato, a job well done.
Spinaci, which is the spinach sautéed with extra virgin olive oil was also a lovely side and added a completely different texture to the meals.
Standout side champion though, just had to the underdog, the broccolini. That being said, everything from the starters to the sides and mains, had been devoured. Next up were the desserts.
By this point, the trouser waistband was feeling the pinch but having seen a limoncello mascarpone dessert, somehow, as if my Christmas magic, I managed to free up some space. Game on.
Going by the elegant name of Coppa di Limoncello Mascarpone, imagine whipped up goodness with limoncello syrup, raspberries and crumbled amaretti biscuits. Are you drooling yet?Tempted by the Panettone, Nathan went full on for the custom Christmas dessert in Italy.
Soft, squishy and scrumptious, Carluccio’s regional cake is an award-winning panettone, drizzled with a Vin Santo syrup and served with a decent dollop of vanilla ice cream.
The came to an end with one last nibble of the dangerously delicious Prosecco Panettone, that Nathan demanded we bought. We thanked the staff for their hospitable service and said how we looked forward to our next visit.
We’ll be back soon, that’s for sure.Carluccio’s offer a daily set menu, yet if it’s the Menu Festivo you’re keen to feast your eyes upon, you have until the 3rd January to tuck in.
As part of this, you can choose two courses for £17.95, and if you’re feeling rather intrigued by Carluccio’s desserts too, you can opt for a sweet treat for £20.95.
If you go, have a marvellous time, and I’d love to hear your choices and thoughts on the festive menu.
Lots of love,