Last rated: 16/01/2017
Carluccio’s serves some highly sustainable seafood and has a great approach to sourcing.
By deciding to follow Marine Conservation Society (MCS) guidance, it makes sure none of the seafood it uses is on the list of ‘fish to avoid’. It is a policy we wish every restaurant followed.
Among the seafood on the menus are crab from the Devon coast and rope-grown mussels, which are both on the MCS’s green list of recommendations of ‘fish to eat’ because they are highly sustainable. It has sought out supplies from fisheries and farms that have been certified to recognised environmental standards , including their wild-caught cod, farmed king prawns and farmed sea bass. It is great to see a restaurant acting so responsibly.
Where we would like to see changes made by Carluccio’s is in the information it provides on its menus. Looking at its online menus there is a lack of information on whether an ingredient is caught from the wild or farmed, or on the method of capture, or if it is from a certified source. Such information is important to diners if they are to be able to be able to judge the level of seafood sustainability themselves. Having said that, the restaurant has a clear and admirable policy posted on its website.
In close consultation with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and our fish supplier, we have removed fish from menu which the MCS rates as 5, and concluded an agreement with our seafood supplier that focuses on fish rated 1-3 for the future.
When launched in 1999, initially as an Italian food shop and cafè, TV chef Antonio Carluccio and his then wife Priscilla Conran broke the current design mould. The clever but striking simplicity of their styling and branding has had remarkable staying power looking as fresh and eye-catching as ever.
The menu of simple, regional Italian food has been kept both accessible in concept and attainable in price. As the British public has become more familiar with the repertoire, Carluccio’s has continued to find interesting dishes such as lemon and ricotta ravioli and chicken and apricot salad to offer alongside the duck ragú, fried calamari and spaghetti carbonara. Home-made gelato is a must but they also do a mean tiramisu based on Savoiardi biscuits soaked in espresso coffee and coffee liqueur with mascarpone and chocolate. Drink Aperol Spritz or a rich and fruity rosé from Puglia.
Menus vary between restaurants but ingredient sourcing, from Ventricina salami to Pugliese pasta and British rib eye of beef, is key to the operation, and the great range of items on sale in the beautifully displayed deli shops are invariably too tempting to avoid.
The restaurants now offer gluten-free, dairy-free, vegetarian and vegan menus on request - if only those in the motherland would do likewise.