A sense of occasion and Italy

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If you like a lively ambience and sense of food enjoyed for all ages then Carluccio’s in the arc offers just that.

My partner and I ate early evening on a Friday and enjoyed a sense of the local community catching up with friends and sitting down to food in a relaxed and continental style manner.

When you enter this eaterie you are assailed by a host of delectables ranging from giant merangues to Italian biscuits and olive oil in the front foyer. It’s surprising that you make it to your table without being beguiled by a tempting treat.

And on this particular evening there was plenty of evidence that Valentine’s Day was round the corner with bespoke biscuits on offer.

The menu is Italian in style and caters for pasta lovers, meat eaters and fish fanciers.

We shared a starter the Antipasti Massimo (11.95) and it was a pretty massive platter full of tasty treats, salami, mozarella, rocket,bean salad, Foccaccia, stuffed chicken and peppers - a good way to break the ice on a first date or just enjoy some reconnecting after a busy week.

I selected as a mains pasta with meatballs - Fettucce con Polpette (£8.95) - the meatballs were very tasty with a nice piquant spiciness while the pasta was creamy and topped with a hint of tomato dressing.

My partner chose the fish stew - Zuppa di Pesce (£13.95) which he declared perfect.

Carluccio’s blends the sense of family with efficient and friendly service and a place to be yourself. It’s also a great pace for people watching and I confess I thoroughly enjoyed some of that too.