Carluccio's Leicester

Enjoyed a splendid winetasting at Carluccio’s in Leicester’s Highcross last night.  Of all the chains I’ve been to, this lot seem to pull it off best – the environment is classy, the staff seem to care and while I know the menus are run with strict corporate rigour, the food still manages to convince.

This event was part of their summer promotion of wines from Veneto and featured five wines introduced by Mike Stocks, the company’s bar training manager. I’d say four were very good indeed – a fruity Prosecco Santo Stefano and three more from the Bertani company, which has a portfolio of 200 hectares around Verona. These included an elegant rose and a stylish Soave which was apparently served at the coronation of George VI.  Best of all was the superb Amarone Villa Arvedi – a prestige wine obviously, but despite being a stonking 15 per cent, it was smooth, well-balanced and not overpowering.  The wines are not cheap – the Amarone is £30 – but given that you can buy them in the deli part of the restaurant and drink with your meal for £5 corkage, they start to look rather good value.

We enjoyed some excellent anti-pasti with the drinks – very light squares of polenta with melted gorgonzola, roasted marinated vegetables, super fishcakes and parma ham on grilled bread.  At £10 this was an excellent little promotion for the “Magic Hour”  of 6-7pm, and it’s worth looking out for future events – Carluccio’s Leicester

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