We visited Kingston on one of the first glorious spring days this year and it was heaving with people, particularly in the popular riverside area where this restaurant is situated. As a result we had to queue for a table put the staff were very good about updating us on waiting times and offering the quicker option of a table inside which we took as we were starving.
Once inside it feels a little cramped with tables too close together for comfort. Whether because it was so busy or because they were understaffed the service was painfully slow and very erratic with neighboring tables being on their main courses while we were still waiting in vain for our drinks.
I had the Spaghetti Polpete and was very disappointed, a huge plate of claggy pasta with watery sauce and tiny, hard and tasteless meatballs. there were also not many of them which was a good thing as I couldn’t eat what I had. My son had the Lasagne which he also couldn’t finish as there was way too much cheese on top for it to be pleasant.
I remember fondly a visit to Carluccio’s Covent Garden in the late 80’s or early 90’s as a very special event for my brother’s birthday, Mr C himself was installed at a table at the front and it was a real treat and an occasion. In expanding the brand this chain seems to have lost the focus on good home cooking in favour of mass production and profit. I can’t help but compare this restaurant to the branches of Jamie’s Italian I’ve eaten in where the quality of cooking, customer experience, service and relaxed atmosphere seems to have survived. Carluccio’s was not terrible and it wasn’t that expensive but I wouldn’t eat here again.
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