13 September 2012

They have an extensive gluten free menu!

Hey all, this is Jen. I write for Glutafin about my gluten free lifestyle. I have been intolerant to gluten since December 2007. So my gluten free restaurant review of Carluccio’s may seem a little odd as they have been offering a gluten free menu for a while now. However the last time I went I had a bad experience!

Gluten free pasta is one of the hardest things to cook. It either breaks into pieces if overcooked or is too hard if undercooked. I got the crumble and sticking together pasta last time I went to Carluccio’s so either they were not properly aware of how to cook gluten free pasta or did not have a good gluten free pasta. When I cook with Glutafin pasta I always put a timer on for the length of time it says to ensure it doesn’t break up, then i taste test ensuring it is soft.

The reason I went to try Carluccio’s gluten free menu again is I heard they had changed their pasta so I went to try it out!
Firstly I was shocked by the extensive gluten free menu (it was a full A4 menu and had lots of variety of gluten free foods!). It had 22 meal options, 6 sides and more surprisingly (and also very exciting) 8 desserts! The dessert option wasn’t just fruit salad (the typical response we all dread when out) but this gluten free menu offered panna cotta and fondente.

The day I went they also had 6 specials, 5 of which where gluten free!

For my starter I chose Insalata di Mozzarella, a fresh dish of tomatoes, mozzarella, olives and gluten free oatcakes! Oatcakes is unusual to get at restaurants but what a refreshing change. I am very particular about bread (I am afraid it is only Glutafin fibre bread for me which I regularly top up with from Holland and Barrett now) and so I never like the bread options at restaurants. The oatcakes were lovely and everything else was fresh and light.

For my gluten free main I just had to try the new gluten free pasta. I always chose things that have a gluten free alternative, so if they have a gluten free pasta or pizza I try it, as usually I have to have jacket potatoes, steak or salads. So I went with the penne carbonara, as I rarely cook this, and was intrigued as it was cooked with egg not cream.

Glutafin’s Love Food club chef Michael McCamley always makes carbonara with an egg! I have always made it with cream. The debate still goes on!

Well debate over! This penne carbonara made with egg was absolutely delicious! It was a little overloaded with herbs but the pancetta was just as the menu described; smoked and so delicious! The saltiness went extremely well with the light egg sauce. (I feel like Paul Hollywood right now!)

I was full after eating half of my dish (yes you do get a great portion too) but I kept eating as it was so delicious!

After my dish was cleared I was brought the gluten free pudding menu. At this point I was so full but then I spotted I could have a chocolate pudding that was gluten free! I ordered it straight away!

As it came to the table I could smell the delicious chocolate aroma and as I put my spoon into the pudding it was so soft and increased the chocolate aroma further! The taste matched the smell. It was delicious. It is baked with almonds and Kahlua yet neither overpowered the chocolate flavour.

I think I may go back there next week just for pudding! Also I am going to try Glutafin’s chocolate pudding recipe. I have heard from other coeliacs in the Love Food club this is their favourite and it is easy to make and delicious. It looks just like Carlucico’s gluten free version!

Carluccio’s also has a deli and the night I was there they had a coconut and lime cake. The cakes change weekly so you may be lucky and be able to order an Italian coffee with a delicious gluten free cake too! I am sure I will be trying the deli soon and let you know!

Glutafin have added Carluccio’s to their gluten free restaurant finder. You can now find over 700 gluten free restaurants across Great Britain on this gluten free restaurant finder. 

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