As a loyal regular to Carluccio’s café in Bristol, I was very excited about the opening of it’s Bath cousin, located in Milsom Place. This area of Bath already houses Jamie’s Italian (now with attached deli), so two very similar concepts under one roof.
On arrival, it’s obvious you are in this historic city as this restaurant has been built within beautiful surroundings - bright, open, and contained within traditional stone. There are several rooms for dining, each open plan to include a view of the kitchen.
This café has more of a feel of a homely, cosy restaurant as opposed to the Italian deli feel of other Carluccio’s café’s.
When it comes to the menu, you can have anything from traditional and simple pasta dishes, to hearty fare just like mama makes.
To start, my partner and I shared the Antipasti Supremo – a mix of absolutely everything you could wish for and a feast for the eyes.
A huge platter of bursting colours and flavours including parma ham, buffalo mozzarella, chicken liver pate, prosciutto wrapped prawns and the most unique and delicious balsamic onions (which I had to buy in the deli on the way out so I could take them home!)
For main, I opted for the beef stew with grilled polenta. Slow-cooked, you could tell how much love goes into this.
I have actually seen Antonio Carluccio make this with his own fair hands on the tv show ‘Two Greedy Italians’ so was very keen to try. It was as if the man himself was in the kitchen.
My partner chose the fritto misto, crispy calamari, prawns, whitebait and sea bass with a garlic mayonnaise. Very pleased with his choice, he told me the batter was light, just as it should be, and the dish was paired perfectly with a fresh mixed salad as recommended by our waiter.
Speaking of the waiter, he was friendly, attentive and there to help with anything you needed. We asked which wine would match with each dish and he recommended for me either the Chianti Classico reserve (£25 a bottle) which the beef stew was cooked in, or the Montepulciano D’abruzzo (£14.50 a bottle) to bring out the taste in the dish, which is the one I went for.
The match for the fritto misto was La Segreta Bianco (£19.95 a bottle.) I had the feeling that although the waiter wasn’t totally up on his wines, he was happy for us to sample.
For dessert, I went for the special which was woodland fruits pancakes and vanilla ice cream, and my partner had ice cream served with a glass of Italian hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico.)
The liqueur was delicious (of course I sampled.) I could have had a whole ice cream bowl full of it – sweet, nutty and alcoholic (sounds like someone I know!) A great way to finish off a lovely evening.
As a newly opened restaurant, the crowds were to be expected. This didn’t affect the speediness of service or the quality, which was great. The volume was, well, loud – but again, there’s nothing much you can do when everyone is buzzing about the best new dining spot in Bath.
What a bella noche, a little taste of Italiano. Can’t wait for the next visit.