Summer Menu at Carluccio's, Spitalfields Market


Is there anything more wonderful than embracing la dolce vita? Come the summertime, there's little I enjoy more than a glass (or two) of crisp white wine, a bowl of juicy olives and some Italian classics in the sunshine. Enter my evening of Italian bliss at Carluccio's last week, where the Spitalfield's terrace became my very own Italian piazza.

This month saw the launch of Carluccio's new summer menu, with special dishes embracing the lighter side of Italian cooking. From burrata to pea shoots, fresh seafood to panzanella salad, the summer offering has plenty of dishes that promise to please any sunseeker.
We began with seasonal starters of burrata from Puglia dressed with pea shoots, fresh peas, broad beans, fresh mint leaves, lemon oil and rich balsamic vinegar. While I would have loved a touch more cheese, the pairing of flavours was so light and refreshing that could be forgiven. I also enjoyed the pane carasau, a Sardinian crisp bread, which reminded my of the very best poppadums from nearby Brick Lane. 
Alex chose the prawns marinara sautéed with white wine, baby plum tomatoes, chilli and fennel seeds then dressed in a tomato and basil sauce - I mean, can you get more Italian! Cooked in their shells for added sweetness, the prawns were wonderfully juicy and balanced with the peppery rocket salad. A sprinkle of salt wouldn't have gone amiss.
For the main event I kept things seasonal with Carluccio's new seafood linguine with white crab meat, prawns, mussels and clams. The heady sauce of tomato and chilli was suitably light, allowing the seafood to sing and the Bottarga (fish roe) sprinkled on top was so rich in umami flavour which, when paired with Parmesan, gave the fish dish a meaty quality. The slippery spaghetti was perfectly cooked and easily slurped up! 
Speaking of meat, Alex went for the unusual duck pappardelle - a thicker linguine style pasta - dressed with slow-cooked duck, pork, pancetta and mushroom ragu. This rich, meaty plate had the natural sweetness of duck paired with tomatoes and garlic with added saltiness from the garlic breadcrumbs and grated Parmesan. There's little more I can say other than it ticks all the carby, meaty, cheesy boxes! 
Not forgetting dessert! I went for the classic tiramisu - which means 'pick me up'! The Savoiardi biscuits are soaked in strong espresso coffee and coffee liqueur then topped with mascarpone and chocolate. The lightness of this dairy-heavy dish was really surprising and the bitter chocolate worked really well with the coffee. Frankly, it's an absolute classic so you can't really go wrong! 

Alex chose the new Cioccolato Fondente - a warm chocolate pudding baked with almonds and Kahlua. Due to the almonds, the cake was a touch dry but there was easily negated with a big scoop of rich vanilla ice cream. 
From the Babylon Bianco Sauvingnon Blanc and olive pairing to start, to the rich pasta dishes and through to the light desserts, Carluccio's new summer menu truly is an exploration of Italian heritage. Updated for the modern diner with smaller portions and effortless presentation, I can't imagine a nicer way to spend date night.

Thank you Carluccio's for hosting this review

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