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Carluccio’s Italian restaurant review

A guest blog review by Honestly Helen

Following an extensive, swanky new refurbishment, Carluccio’s on Grey Street re opened its doors so I dragging (absolutely kicking and screaming) my mate Carrie along to check it out on launch night.

Around £200,000 has been invested in the venue in a bid to transform it from a pre theatre dinner venue to somewhere you can visit anytime day or night. Admittedly there’s not an awful lot you can do to an L-shaped building, so the cosmetic changes are subtle. However, one major change they have made is extending the bar area to create an aperitivo bar which is much more suitable for quick lunches or after work drinks (which come with complementary nibbles) .

The furniture has had a complete overhaul with the introduction of marble, velvet and leather to create a more casual, lounge type environment and the lighting has been dipped for cosy wintertime dinners – when you need a hearty bowl of creamy pasta the most!  Thankfully the deli area still remains, in fact one of the first things Carrie said as we arrived was that she loved that Carluccio’s was always a good place to stop for coffee and a slice of cake, so she was particularly pleased to see this was still pride of place by the entrance.

We were also treated to samples of the new Autumn menu, at which point I think it’s appropriate to ask for a moment of silence while we all appreciate the awesomeness that is Carluccio’s Arancini balls; stuffed risotto balls coated with seasoned breadcrumbs and deep fried. They are AMAZING and would make the perfect after work bar snack or afternoon shopping fuel. We were also treated to fresh warm focaccia, giant olives, breadsticks wrapped in prosciutto and mushroom risotto.

The drinks menu has had a bit of a makeover as well, with new inclusions of Aperol Spritiz (a solid favourite of mine) hazelnut espresso martini and Milanese gin and tonic.

Despite the recent closure of the Gateshead Metro centre branch, it seems this Newcastle staple is still going from strength to strength with no signs of stopping any time soon. Hopefully this new facelift will encourage some more footfall throughout the day. I know myself that I will be absolutely stopping by for my hit of Arancini!

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