Carluccio's, E14 5AJ
- 020 7719 1749
- Reuters Plaza, E14 5AJ
- 6:30am-11:30pm Mon-Fri; 9am-11:30pm Sat; 9am-10:30pm Sun
One of many Carluccio's Caffes around London, this branch caters to the workers of Canary Wharf. It does get busy at lunchtimes, but turnover is fast.
Seating is divided between indoor and (covered) outdoor tables; the outdoor seating is less noisy due to the absence of sound-reflective surfaces, but if the weather is good then you might need to wait longer for an outdoor seat than you would for an indoor one. Don't just sit down at an empty table, by the way, at least at peak times — go in by the deli entrance and queue up at the edge of the restaurant side.
(Oh yes, there's a deli attached to it too, where you can buy Italian bread and stuff.)
The menu is standard across the whole chain, though there are daily specials which may vary across locations (anyone know if this is the case?). Kake had tortellini in a ham and cream sauce (tortellini all'emiliana, £7); competent enough if unexciting. doop chose penne with courgettes, chilli, and deep-fried spinach balls (penne giardiniera, £6.75); he was very keen on the spinach balls, though Kake found them a little oily. There is no risotto on the menu as standard, but a chicken risotto was available as a daily special on our visit. No pizza either, presumably because they don't want to do it unless they can do it right (a good sign).
Child-friendly: this branch has at least one highchair available, and the chain as a whole has a special children's menu which offers grissini, a soft drink, a main course, and ice cream for dessert, at £5/child.
It opens early for breakfast (from 7am on weekdays), and apparently their hot chocolate (cioccolata fiorentina, £1.55) is very good.
Comment added by Ewan: I am a fan of Carluccio's as a good compromise between quality of food and price, plus obviously (being Italian) they are reliable for coffee. I'd particularly recommend their affogatto (ice-cream with a shot of espresso), but perhaps that's something that appeals to my particular taste.