The last time I went to San Carlo it was on a relatively disastrous date when I was 18. So luckily when the time came to venture there a second time 10+ years later it was with one of my oldest friends for a long overdue catch up, so that part of the event could certainly not turn out to be disastrous, even if the food was. I shouldn’t have worried too much, because the food was markedly better than 10 years ago!
I was initially struck by how big the place is, with an upstairs and a downstairs it was heaving, and it was only a Thursday night! I can’t imagine the turnover on a weekend. The menu was also busy – the list of options was endless; antipasti, pizzas, pastas, fish, meat, the choice of having pasta as a starter or main, or an extra course, then an extra menu of specials (not just one extra piece of paper, but a whole extra menu!) To be honest it was all a little too much for my mind. I didn’t want to spend 15 minutes purely reading the menu, I prefer short and to the point, but each to their own, some might love so many decisions to make! Despite saying this, the sound of the food was fantastic, some really interesting dishes and combinations as well as tried and tested Italian classics to choose from. Service seemed a little haphazard on the surface, probably down to them being busy, it would be interesting to return at the height of busyness on a Saturday and see how that went.
We were both pretty hungry so decided to have starters and mains and worry about dessert later on. I chose my starter off the specials menu; a Tuna Carpaccio with Jerusalem Artichoke and a Citrus Marinade. My friend had the Marinated Chargrilled Aubergine with Buffalo Mozzarella. My tuna was delicious, meaty but delicate tuna, a sharp citrus marinated fennel and oily artichokes were fabulous all together and something really different. The aubergine was a more classic flavours and simple, but the quality of the ingredients really stood out.
We both went with types of pasta for our mains. My friend went with Linguine Con Vongole E Gamberoni – Pasta with clams, tiger prawns, tomato sauce, touch of garlic, cream and sun blushed tomato. I had the Gnocchi Scampi – with a cream tomato and brandy sauce. I love gnocchi when it’s cooked well, so was hoping for great things from this, and it was gorgeous, the sauce was so luxuriant with the lobster tails and the gnocchi was fluffy as a cloud. My friend also enjoyed her linguine with succulent prawns and a flavoursome sauce, although the portion was huge!
After such huge pasta portions we couldn’t manage dessert but thoroughly enjoyed out meal and I certainly won’t wait another 10 years before I visit again!
Temple Street, Birmingham B2 5BN
Disclosure: We paid for our own meal, and all opinions expressed are honest and our own