We are very fortunate to be spending Easter with Cofton Holidays in Starcross, South Devon; a beautiful spot beside the River Exe. This evening, we ventured into nearby Exeter to sample the delights of Carluccio’s at Princesshay, a modern, sprawling open-air shopping centre.
Having never been to a branch of Carluccio’s before today, I suppose I was expecting something fairly standard in terms of Italian chain restaurants. What was delivered, however, was rather more authentic – the staff, the wine list, the ingredients, they were all properly Italian. The menu was a little more what we elaborately referred to as grown up than a number of other places we have eaten at with the children, providing no real “safe” options such as pizza, chips or chicken nuggets. I can see why this might be attractive to most customers – it’s always nice to get the kids eating similar things to the adults, after all. Not so great for fussy eaters though and it certainly presented a problem for Sonny who refused all of the food other than the breadsticks and ice cream. In all honesty, he was actually really happy with this but it did mean we had to feed him again once we got home, resulting in a super late bedtime.
Jasmine, meanwhile, thrived in the environment, chatting away to our waiter, ordering for herself and even having a go at the Italian pronunciation of her chosen meal. Our waiter was very approachable and welcomed the children speaking to him, which I was very happy about. We try and encourage the children to practise independence where possible, in safe environments of course. Something like ordering your own meal isn’t a big deal to the majority of adults but can be daunting the first few times you have to do it. By exposing the children to these experiences at a young age, we are hoping to raise outgoing, confident, self-reliant individuals.
Anyway, I digress.
We enjoyed three courses of really delicious food, particular highlights including creamy dolcelatte from the antipasti starter, signature rosemary and garlic potatoes with our mains and Jasmine’s exquisite dessert of cherry ice cream. The children both also really enjoyed completing the little workbook that doubled as their menu.
Popping our Carluccio’s cherry in Exeter has encouraged us to seek out other branches closer to home, our nearest being Brighton, I believe. I am particularly keen to have another go at their gorgeous tiramisu; the best I have tasted in a long time.
Thank you for having us, Carluccio’s, see you again soon.
We received a family meal free of charge for the purposes of this review; all words and photographs are our own.