Monday, 16 August 2010

Carluccio's Spinningfields Manchester

After work on Wednesday last week we decided to go out for tea and some drinks. We had planned to go elsewhere, but the walk into town took us through the Spinningfields area. We stopped to look at a few menus, mainly just to see the sort of thing on offer, but the deli at Carluccio's enticed us in.
We asked if they sold any gluten free pasta - which they don't, then asked to see the menu. Impressively they have quite a number of their normal dishes included on the gluten free menu, all with gluten free pasta. This was too good to walk past.

Carluccio's Deli

We were one of 3 tables in the restaurant and sat near the window. With the staff going about their business, and the odd customer in the deli, together with the clean white feel (if white actually feels) and high ceiling, it didn't seem quiet or dead at all. Tim says it was clinky - in a good way. He knows what he means. (You can hear noise from the kitchen and don't feel self conscious.)

We ordered the large mixed antipasti for two as a starter, but also some olives and bread to nibble on. Then the Pasta Alle Vongole in Bianco from the gluten free menu and the Penne Giardiniera.
The waiter then returned and pointed out that bread and olives were part of the Antipasti anyway, and that he'd put the bread on a seperate plate - so they are ovbiously taking this non-gluten thing seriously.

The Antipasti was lovely. And the higlight of the meal for Tim. With artichokes, peppers, and other lovely lovely things. The best being the little pots of caponata, which we'll be trying to re-create at some point.

The main of the Vongole Bianco I thought was lovely. The first time (I think) that I had eaten clams and they were lovely. The whole dish carried the subtle flavour of the shellfish and was lovely and buttery. The pasta was yellow in colour and I asked it if was corn pasta - the waiter said he didn't know but would find out. I did say it didn't really matter, maybe he thought we were journalists or something, since we were taking pictures of the food. He returned and said it was a mixture ofrice and corn pasta. I normally have rice pasta, and this was far superior. Maybe its the way they cook it, or it is actually from Italy, (where I've read the GF pasta is much better) or it was just a better brand than what you find in supermarkets.

The Penne Giardiniera looked exciting with the spinach balls, but knowing that was one of the items of that dish that contained gluten (the other being the pasta), I didn't try them. Tim particularly enjoyed those spinach balls but felt the rest of the dish was a little bland to be brutally honest.

Clockwise from top left: Antipasti, Penne Giardiniera,
Ricotina al Linone, Pasta Alle Vongole in Bianco

For dessert we ordered the Ricotinna al Limone with two forks, which was pleasant enough, although the "tart lime syrup" that accompanied the slices of Ricotta wasn't as tart as expected.

A double starter, 2 pasta main courses, a shared dessert and a bottle of the Verdichio Classico came to about £47. Bargain. The verdict is, hurrah for the gluten free pasta, and fantastic value for the quality of the food. I say we'll be going again, Tim says he'll get a different main course next time.

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