Carluccio's are springing up all over the place, from Bluewater to Brent Cross, spreading the gospel of good fresh superior Italian food. Each restaurant is also a deli selling wonderful pastas and produce, and the menus offer a taste of superior Italian cooking. Started by chef Antonio Carluccio who first arrived on the London restaurant scene in 1981 with his Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden (no longer there), he may not be in the kitchen but his winning formula of good food, simply cooked still applies. His former wife Priscilla (sister to Sir Terence Conran) took Carluccio's passion for food and turned it into the highly successful chain, selling out in 2005 for a reported ?10 million. However the mission to wake England up to the joys of Italian cookery continues apace, with pizza and pasta of course, but also roasted sardines, veal tonnatto and adventurous meat dishes on the set menu, and some mouth-watering Italian breakfast options. At Carluccio's the prices are pitched so that the many outlets cater for a largely middle class crowd. Pizza Express this is not: a meal at Carluccio's is a lot more indulgent, interesting and considerably more memorable.
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