I was recently invited by Peroni Nastro Azzurro to experience the exclusive launch of their new gluten-free beer, in partnership with Italian restaurant group, Carluccio’s. Selecting the Spinningfields venue, James and I headed down on a surprisingly quiet Tuesday evening after work. Swiftly seated in the friendly environment, it was time to get stuck into some gluten-free dining and drinking (slightly different post to my usual healthy recipes but – BALANCE!).
Imagine being able to select tasty starters, main courses, sides and desserts without the gluten from an extensive menu… I know right? Well Carluccio’s cater for just that, now with the addition of serving a bottle of the popular larger brand. In their own words:
Using their extensive skills and experience, the Italian Peroni brew masters have perfected the special gluten-free recipe, without compromising on taste.
Through this process, Peroni Nastro Azzurro is able to offer the same delicate balance of bitterness and citrus aromatic notes, producing the notable refreshing, clean finish, which Peroni Nastro Azzurro admirers have come to love.
I’m not usually larger drinker, but we ordered a bottle each and I waited on James’ opinion, being more familiar with the alcoholic beverage. Lighter and crisp but just as tasty, you can’t really taste the difference but it’s great to be able to drink without the bloating, whether you’re gluten intolerant or not. Thumbs up from us there then!
Onto the food. Being able to order a Bruschetta dish to start was a novelty; the Pea, Mint & Ricotta option caught my eye, while James went for the Chicken Liver Pate with gluten-free bread (so we could share, obviously). We both agreed that our accompaniments to the bread were tasty, substantial and fresh although I was curious to know if the GF bread was bought in or made on the premises (I think the latter would be asking too much to be honest, although it would be a great luxury!).
Full from my starter, I chose the lighter Goat’s Cheese Salad for my main while the Lobster Pasta dish caught James’ eye. Plus, because we both love cheese, a side of mozzarella, olives and tomato was compulsory. Soft goat’s cheese, roasted red peppers, semi-dried tomatoes and pine nuts on balsamic dressed mixed leaves was the premise of my dish, which although looked pretty, could have done with a little more of the peppers and tomatoes. Overall though, a really nicely balanced dish.
Cheers to the other half for ordering gluten-free pasta (“tastes just like normal”) so I could have a cheeky taste. It could have done with more crayfish in there, although I guess lobster was the main focus of the dish, along with the accompaniments of crab, tomato, basil and chilli. Generous chunks of fish and pleasantly seasoned to compliment the other flavours, this went down a treat. Of course, washed down with that delightful glass of Peroni.
Satisfyingly full of good food and drink, we would both recommend Carluccio’s as a place to go with friends or family whether one or a few of you have a wheat/gluten intolerance or not; it’s nice to have so much choice from a menu (in its own right) rather than just the usual limited options. Thanks to the guys at Carluccio’s and Peroni for inviting us down!