GrumblingGourmet's Qype reviews
31-35 Kew Road,, London TW9 2NQ
GrumblingGourmet wrote on 4 March 2012
Snob that I am, I’ve been guilty in the past of dismissing the Carluccios chain restaurants as overpriced delis with cafe tables. The one in Oxford Circus used to be a default working overflow when we ran out of meeting rooms and we’d occasionally pick up croissants and expensive but good coffees as a treat on a dull or hungover morning.. Spending Friday night in one has never been something I’d think of, much less look forward to.
Wandering into the Richmond branch at the end of a busy week to meet up with friends didn’t tick many boxes. I’d have been happier with a curry at home, a little bistro or, frankly anything else than a bowl of overpriced, mass produced pasta among the young daters an the elderly middleclass they would inevitably morph into. As I say, I’m a snob.
Closer consideration of the menu gave me some hope. There are a range of pastas to follow a good choice of starters taken from around Italy and a relatively uncomplicated fish and grill section if you’re trying to avoid carbs. No pizzas feature.
The ingredients were reasonable, the pasta and gnocci fresh and perfectly cooked. My sauce, a venison ragu, was a meagre portion slopped on and rolled in the pan to give some coverage, the bulk of the slightly dry meat managed to cling together, fearful of separation. Shared starters were assembled from good ingredients, all available to buy from the deli counter alongside and not really worth much more discussion.
The service was abrupt and desultory in places, amateurish but friendly in others, the furniture ‘wipe while you’re sitting’ cafe style. While I couldn’t say anything actively bad about it, I couldn’t say anything particularly good either and with prices equivalent to some of the better mid range Italians in town (certainly comparable to Zucca, Trullo and Mele e Pele) it just doesn’t stack up for me. Somewhere to go when you run out of meeting room space, or a fallback mid session, but definitely not somewhere I’d plan to go again.