It’s a beautiful autumn day, the sun is shining while we wait for the tail end of hurricane Gonzalo to arrive and deliver high winds, rain and general chaos. For now, I’m meeting my cousin Barbie. She lives in France and is on a rare trip to London, so I’m really quite excited to see her. We wander down Putney High Street to the pier and head to Carluccio’s for lunch and a proper catch up. Carluccio’s boast an extensive gluten free menu, which is a great thing for those of us who are sensitive to gluten. It makes life much easier to have a separate menu – for the staff as well as the customers I expect.
The position of Carluccio’s in Putney is lovely; right by the river. They take full advantage of this by having floor to ceiling windows and seating outside. The staff were friendly and helpful and careful to check that all was fine. It’s really wonderful to be able to have a choice of 10 sauces for the gluten free pasta. By having a separate, and comprehensive gluten free menu it makes gluten free customers feel like we have the same range of choice as the rest of the world. I’m so fed up with being able to eat one, or two things on a menu. Always having to choose what I can eat, not what I want to eat when we’re out. This menu solves that – bruschettine made with gluten free bread, pasta, risotto and 4 main dishes (sea bass, steak etc.) all gluten free.
With a chilled glass of Gavi each in front of us we perused the menu. My cousin chose the seafood risotto and I opt for the ‘Vongole in Bianco’ with gluten free pasta (clams and white wine). We kept the rest simple – a bowl of olives to keep us going and each with a nice green leafy side salad. For whatever reason, the gluten free pasta takes longer to cook, so we were advised that it would be a 20 minute wait. Not a problem for us – heaven knows we had enough family news to catch up on – but it might irk if I was in a rush. Despite asking I didn’t get an understandable reason for the delay but hey…
My pasta was lovely – personally I think it needed more clams but I’m demanding and fussy that way. Barbie’s risotto looked perfect but she declared it a ‘bit bland’ which was a shame. The green salad was particularly nice; I guess they have a way with fresh greens and dressing. We declined desert because I realised we’d been there for 1 ½ hours and we both had a million things to get done. So we gulped down some excellent coffee that should have be savoured, and rushed out the door.
I would definitely go again, and I think it would be a great place to take children who are gluten free because of the sheer volume of choice. For gluten free kids, to be able to go to a well-known restaurant, and have choice is simply amazing. It’s also a great place to suggest when you with a gang, as it’s such a popular restaurant chain that it won’t feel like everyone is going to a restaurant because of ‘one’ child.
This is a winning combination…now if they could only add more clams….
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