We tried the set menu at Carluccio's in Derby and can't stop thinking about the tiramisu

At £18 for two courses we found the set menu to be great value for money
Carluccio's Derby in the Derbion shopping centre is a few minutes away from Derby Theatre, making it the perfect place to dine for a pre-theatre meal | Image Ria GheiCarluccio's Derby in the Derbion shopping centre is a few minutes away from Derby Theatre, making it the perfect place to dine for a pre-theatre meal | Image Ria Ghei
Carluccio's Derby in the Derbion shopping centre is a few minutes away from Derby Theatre, making it the perfect place to dine for a pre-theatre meal | Image Ria Ghei

A trip to the theatre always feels a little bit special, which means I was on the lookout for a fancy yet chilled dining option on a school night.

It’s a difficult balance to strike, a bit like that dreaded ‘in between’ stage of smart casual dress code. 

I dined at Carluccio’s Derby a few years’ ago, but not recently.

As I am a sucker for pretty twinkling lights and Italian themed food, I decided to take a look at its food offering. 

The set menu caught my eye, which is two courses for £18.00 and three courses for £21.00. 

Located on the first floor of Derbion Derby, adjacent to the food court, this eatery provides the best views in the entire shopping centre.

If you want to do a spot of people-watching while you eat, you can grab a table at one of the wrap-around areas. 

Or if you like being at the heart of the cooking action, you can request a table near the pass, which also has comfy squishy seating.

The décor, with its pendant lighting and midnight blue accents gives the restaurant a nice luxe vibe, which hit the spot for a pre-theatre bite to eat.

I have sweet teeth, so I chose a main, side and dessert.

Chicken Milanese arrived with a flourish, packed tight with crisp breadcrumbs. 

Chicken Milanese was filling, and the side salad replete with wafer thin  Parmigiano-Reggiano was a nice touch | Image Ria GheiChicken Milanese was filling, and the side salad replete with wafer thin  Parmigiano-Reggiano was a nice touch | Image Ria Ghei
Chicken Milanese was filling, and the side salad replete with wafer thin Parmigiano-Reggiano was a nice touch | Image Ria Ghei

It was very large, filling and the chicken fillet retained its succulence. 

The accompanying side salad of tomatoes and leaves was well dressed and seasoned well too.

My side of fries were crisp, although I couldn’t really taste the rosemary salt. 

I love dessert and tiramisu is one of my favourites.

Tiramisu with creamy mascarpone, which felt as if it was lightly whipped, giving it a silky aerated mouth-feel was gorgeous to eat | Image Carluccio'sTiramisu with creamy mascarpone, which felt as if it was lightly whipped, giving it a silky aerated mouth-feel was gorgeous to eat | Image Carluccio's
Tiramisu with creamy mascarpone, which felt as if it was lightly whipped, giving it a silky aerated mouth-feel was gorgeous to eat | Image Carluccio's

Savoiardi biscuits soaked in espresso provided a punchy base, while clouds of mascarpone and a dusting of cocoa made this dessert a real treat.

I could happily have this again with just a coffee, which I think I will at some point this month.

The dining partner also ate off the set menu, with his two courses being starter and main.

Fresh and juicy tomatoes piled high on crisp bread was a joy to look at, and to eat | Image Ria GheiFresh and juicy tomatoes piled high on crisp bread was a joy to look at, and to eat | Image Ria Ghei
Fresh and juicy tomatoes piled high on crisp bread was a joy to look at, and to eat | Image Ria Ghei

Tomato Bruschetta was a very large dish. The tomatoes looked so beautiful, they were fresh, juicy, and well seasoned. 

The base of grilled Tuscan bread was a robust base to soak up all those lovely tomatoey juices, which seemed all the more delicious with that drizzle of extra virgin olive

 

A bowl full of mussels along with a hunk of bread is part of Carluccio's set menu | Image Ria GheiA bowl full of mussels along with a hunk of bread is part of Carluccio's set menu | Image Ria Ghei
A bowl full of mussels along with a hunk of bread is part of Carluccio's set menu | Image Ria Ghei

Mussels Marinara were good, but I snaffled a few and they were a little gritty.

The white wine sauce could have been tastier, a little thicker and perhaps would have benefitted from being reduced.

The accompanying homemade focaccia was OK, however the texture was quite dense and not like your usual spring-back-to-the-touch focaccia.

Overall, I enjoyed eating at Carluccio’s.

The mussels just need tweaking a little to take it to the next level.

A special hat-tip goes to the wait-staff, who provided a warm and friendly service.

The set menu is great value for money too, because if I had bought dishes separately it would have cost me £22.95 when I paid £18. 

That is a saving of £4.95, which is a winner in my book. 

The restaurant is a beautiful space to be and I will definitely visit again soon, for a coffee and cake.

The table next to us did just that, and I think it’s great how Carluccio’s is a cute café, upmarket restaurant and deli all rolled into one.

What we ate at Carluccio’s Derby

(Service charge not included)

  • Two course set menu x2 £36
  • Fries £4.95
  • Diet Coke £3.60
  • Birra Menabrea £5.95

Total £50.50

Carluccio’s set menu is available Monday to Friday all day.

Two courses cost £18.00 and three courses are £21.00. 

Address: Carluccio’s, West Mall, Derbion, Derby DE1 2PL

For more information about the restaurant visit their website by clicking here.