Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Carluccio's, Leeds City Centre

When you have a vegetarian in your midst, an Italian restaurant is a good choice. One of the school friends has not eaten meat or fish since the age of 13, and unlike lots of other vegetarians and even vegans I have known, she has never buckled. This is admirable, but it means that when we plan the school friends’ lunches, we have to avoid any restaurants with “Grill” or “Steak” in the name, or as the Veggie calls them, “Evil parlours of cow-death”.

Anyway, we have generally found that Italian restaurants are very vegetarian friendly – pizza and pasta can be done equally well without meat. So we decided to try Carluccio’s, the new place on Greek Street.

On entering, there is a shop/deli area, where you can pick up coffee, a drink or even buy some Italian ingredients (the olive oils looked great!). To the left is the restaurant. I had booked online so we were quickly shown to one of the booths.

I ordered Pasta Crisps to start, just to see what they were! I shared them with the veggie. A little dry, and probably more suited to a side dish, not a starter.

For main, I had Milanese di Pollo - breaded chicken, served with a green salad. I also ordered rosemary new potatoes on the side. Although it was a fairly plain dish, it was very pleasant. I have a bit of a weakness for anything in breadcrumbs, probably a throwback to my love of fishfingers and chicken burgers as a kid (although this was much better quality, of course). The veggie enjoyed the spinach and ricotta ravioli.

A bottle of Pinot Grigio was ordered for the table. We managed to sink a fair few glasses before moving on.

I have since revisited Carluccio’s twice: once for after dinner cheese with some wine (sat outside and watched the world go by); and once for morning coffee (sat at the bar in the deli). It is a really pleasant restaurant with lots of outdoor seating for the summer months. Service is excellent and the prices are pretty standard for Italian food.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Sushi Hiroba, Kingsway, London

The conveyer belt sushi restaurant is a marvellous invention. So far I have only experienced Yo Sushi, so I was delighted to discover another one, Sushi Hiroba, on Kingsway in London. The conveyer belt style is known as “Kaiten-zushi” (thanks, Wikipedia). It particularly suits my enjoyment not only of eating food, but looking at it as well!

We were in London for the Taste Festival, but fancied some sushi for Friday night dinner. We were quickly seated at the bar and given menus. The food is priced in the same way as Yo, with coloured plates indicating the cost of the food. The conveyer belt was pleasingly full, and I enjoyed my usual choice of Salmon Maki along with a range of sushi rolls. Sushi Hiroba is probably a bit more adventurous with their roll designs, as I kept seeing a roll filled with a slice of banana passing by on the belt. (I didn’t try this one as it breaks the Leeds Food Leads rule of food – no sweet with savoury. This applies to Hawaiian pizzas, gammon with pineapple, and now I find, sushi).

Service was a little slow – it took a while for our drinks to arrive. The hot food we ordered arrived promptly, however. We managed about eight small plates each.

I would recommend Sushi Hiroba. The choice in Leeds is fairly limited so if you are a sushi fan, it is always worth checking out what’s available in other cities.