Great ser­vice and ab­so­lute soup-er starter

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - Eating Out - by Brad Barnes Fol­low me on twit­ter @PTbrad­barnes

It was seen as the cat­a­lyst that started the Cathe­dral Square food revo­lu­tion, so I was in­ter­ested to see if Car­luc­cio’s in Cum­ber­gate had stood up to the in­flux of com­peti­tors.

Well the an­swer is rather well - a re­ally en­joy­able lunch wash­ing away me­mories of a dis­ap­point­ing pre­vi­ous visit, al­beit in its open­ing week three years ago.

That ear­lier visit was marred by some flavour­less food and poor ser­vice; no wor­ries on ei­ther of those scores this time round.

I love the old build­ing that houses the restau­rant, and the in­te­rior is taste­fully dec­o­rated and decked out. And on a sunny day it is prob­a­bly the best place to sit out to eat and drink in the city cen­tre.

On the af­ter­noon of our visit, the out­side area was packed to the point of al­most putting us off; But we ven­tured in­side, which was busy - we waited a few mo­ments while a ta­ble for four was found - and were soon happy with our choice of lunch venue.

A day­time visit comes with the op­tion of the set lunchtime menu (two cour­ses for £11.99, three cour­ses for £13.99) as well as the com­pre­hen­sive a la carte of­fer­ing. There was so much to chose from, re­strict­ing choice to three or four starters, mains and desserts speeded up the process.

The zuppa di funghi was beau­ti­ful, the best dish of its type I have had in some while. The broth it­self had a lovely taste, and throw in the chunks of mush­room and pancetta and wow. I cleared the bowl with the as­sis­tance of some won­der­fully soft and moist fo­cac­cia.

We also shared some br­uschetta with a tomato and pep­pers top­ping. Great flavours but not crunchy enough, and it soon went a bit soggy.

The lasagna tradizionale was a sur­pris­ingly big por­tion which made me glad I didn’t add fries or salad. A lovely tomato sauce, nice soft pasta and re­ally tasty minced beef and lamb. Very en­joy­able and fill­ing in­deed.

And across the ta­ble the ni­coise salad got rave re­views, from Donna, who rates it as a favourite.

Again, a good sized serv­ing with crisp green beans and sweet pep­pers, tasty toma­toes, plenty of green leaves, new pota­toes and a boiled egg on top. The an­chovies and tuna flakes were the stars though with lots of flavour on of­fer with a tasty vinai­grette to boot.

More than am­ple serv­ings put paid to any thoughts of desserts de­spite a lik­ing for ti­ramisu and panna cotta.

A smash­ing lunch with ex­cel­lent ser­vice - prompt, ef­fi­cient and help­ful. Noth­ing was too much trou­ble - ex­tra drinks and ice creams for the girls as well as a lit­tle play set to keep them oc­cu­pied.

Af­ter three years be­tween vis­its, I don’t think I will be leav­ing it quite so long be­fore I join them for lunch again.

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