Saturday 17 November 2012

Carluccio's - Norwich

Chapelfield Plain

Breakfast served
Monday to Friday - 8am till 11.30am
Saturday & Sunday - 9am till 11.30am

Parking available in Chapelfield Mall

Plenty of seats can be found outside but as it was chilly we headed inside.

Inside it is light, contemporary and spacious, the chefs can be seen hard at work in the background.

It was time to try an Italian breakfast for a change, the full menu can be found here.

Sea salt is found in the small white bowl but don't expect to find ketchup. A delicious tomato and basil sauce is available though.

The cappuccino here is fantastic and served with an after coffee sweet.

Underneath the slightly untidy breakfast lay toasted Italian bread that soaked the flavours up nicely.

The sauteed mushrooms were really good and the tomato was packed with flavour.

The grilled smoky pancetta (Italian bacon) was delicious with much more flavour than standard bacon.

My usual fry up inspection Friday was looking a bit uncertain as I had a lunchtime dentist appointment. I was considering somewhere that served an all day breakfast but my wife reminded me I could bring my toothbrush along and eat before the dentist. I recently ended my O2 mobile contract and went with pay as you go on O2 instead. They are always sending texts about O2 Priority Moments so I decided to take a look at the offers available. To my delight there was a 2 for 1 breakfast offer for Carluccio's in Norwich, decision made Carluccio's it was to be then. Having read the menu options online I realised I would be eating an Italian breakfast so decided to forget about the full english for this visit and also base it on the usual price charged which most customers would be paying anyway...

Upon entering - Carluccio's is very big inside with a well lit contemporary dining area and further seating on the terrace outside. As you enter you first encounter a shop selling food, gifts and kitchen equipment, beyond this is the restaurant. There is a large hatch in the restaurant looking into the kitchen area where you can see the chefs busy at work. We were asked to choose where we wanted to sit and a menu was bought to the table. On each table is sugar sachets and a bowl of sea salt, ketchup is not an option but tomato and basil sauce is available if you ask for it. Once you have placed your order drinks and cutlery arrive first followed by the food. At the end the bill is bought over. The dining area was quite relaxing and as it was not busy easy to have a conversation in, newspapers were available if you fancied reading one whilst waiting for the food to arrive. 8/10

Service - The waitress was friendly and very on the ball ensuring the correct food arrived just as we had ordered it. It wasn't particularly busy and we didn't have to wait very long for the food to arrive. Pepper was offered and put onto our food (I would still sooner put my own on though!) and ketchup was not available but tomato and basil sauce was offered as an alternative. We were asked how everything was at the end of the meal but not continually pestered like you can be in chain restaurants. 8/10

Contents - Grilled pancetta (about 4 slices), 2 fried eggs, sauteed mushrooms, half a tomato and italian toasted bread. 6/10

Presentation - Hidden away at the base was the toasted Italian bread covered in magnificent looking sauteed mushrooms. To one side of the mushrooms lay a lonely looking half tomato looking slightly browned on top, to the other side a twisted pile of nice looking grilled pancetta looking crispy in places. On top of it all lay a pair of  fried eggs joined together, one looking really well but the other looking a bit over done on the yolk with a crispy, frilly edge. 6/10

The food - The grilled pancetta was rich in flavour, quite salty and tasted amazing making a nice change from standard bacon. The sauteed mushrooms were deliciously seasoned and perfect placed on top of the toasted Italian bread which soaked up the juices nicely. The free range eggs tasted great and the yolk soaked into the toast beautifully. The tomato was packed full of flavour and the tomato and basil sauce accompanied everything perfectly. A truly enjoyable breakfast Italian style! 8/10

Value for money - Colazione costs £7.75 and a hot drink is around £2 (there is also the colazione magnifica that comes with a hot drink and fruit juice for £9.75) so around £10 for breakfast and a drink. The food here is good and price is fairly standard of a restaurant chain. 7/10

Veggie option - Yes, plenty of veggie options available.

Overall - It did make a nice change to try an Italian breakfast and everything on the plate tasted fantastic and worked well together. Don't go here expecting a full English because you won't find one and their Colazione breakfast is not trying to be one. It The dining area was a nice place to eat in and the staff were friendly. As restaurant chains go this was one of the better ones I had visited, better still if you can find a 2 for 1 offer as I did. 7/10

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