Carluccios @ Spitalfields

Antonio would not be pleased. 

Quick 2 course lunch at Carluccios and it was very disappointing indeed. I’ve been to Carluccios a handful of times before and from memory have always thought it to be averagely decent.  Not the kind of place to set your rockets alight but you’d eat what was on the plate without too much of a grumble.

Well today the standards seem to have dropped substantially. First course of Crostini al Funghi from the Specials menu at £5ish.  When it arrived it looked appetising enough – a mixture of sautéed mushrooms with heaps of red chili and a little parsley, served on a slice of toast and a splatter of rocket on the side. Eating was a little tougher, the crostini was brittle and shattered upon cutting.  The really underseasoned mushrooms tasted more of oil than anything else.  And the chili seemed ‘fake’ – from the amount of red on the plate I expected it to blow my head off but I didn’t detect even the faintest of kicks.

My friend had Calamari.  A rather large and unwieldy portion – the battered rings clung together to form a mass. For the first time in a long time, I declined on even trying.

Now for the mains, I opted for Spaghetti Vongole with clams, garlic, herbs and chili. I was given a knife and fork which was annoying. Any restaurant claiming to serve ‘authentic Italian food’ should not be giving a knife and fork to eat spaghetti with.  More fake chili, enough red colour on the plate to indicate I’d soon be reaching for the milk, but alas no heat or kick to be found.  Bring on the chili oil – drizzle drizzle – still no heat.  After eating a few mouthfulls I then discovered a rod of pasta on my plate – a clump of 20 or so strands of spaghetti clung together at one end.  Very unappetising.

My friend had the seafood Linguine, which also had large clumps of inedible hard pasta stuck together.

Not sure if its the overall standards that have dropped or the Spitalfields branch in particular that is letting the side down. We paid £17 each for 2 courses and tap water – a high price for a meal bearing little resemblance to authentic italian food. Shant be rushing back here in a hurry.