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Food: San Carlo, Leicester – Review

San Carlo has been my favorite non-Michelin starred restaurant for a few years now, with its delicious and classic Italian menu. Although this family owned restaurant isn’t a chain by any means, its success has driven it to open in several locations. Leicester was the third I’ve visited, along with Liverpool and Bristol…

On Friday, October 10th, I got a promotion at work, which meant I wanted to celebrate at the weekend. Dougie and I had already planned date night for the Saturday, but as it was now a special occasion, we opted to go a little further afield. Leicester, in all fairness, isn’t the first place you’d think of when wanting to go somewhere nice, but then neither is Peterborough, and Leicester just so happens to have San Carlo.

My first San Carlo trip was over two years ago now, and I instantly fell in love with its elegance and extraordinary menu in Liverpool. Whilst it’s pretty expensive (the bill tends to be between £70 and £90 for two people who aren’t drinking alcohol), it’s ridiculously worth it for the tastes and options available. I went as often as I could when living in Liverpool, even choosing it for my Graduation meal. When Dougie and I went to Bristol earlier in the year for Hit The Deck Festival, we also made a stop at the San Carlo restaurant there, and we weren’t disappointed, either.

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Our first impression of Leicester’s offering was that it wasn’t quite as pristine inside as the others. Now, perhaps that’s just because of the sort of place Leicester actually is (in fairness it’s a surprise to me that San Carlo even picked this location…), or perhaps it’s just because the two I’ve been to already are especially awesome… who knows. The menu also wasn’t quite as large, which meant I couldn’t have my standard beef medallions in parma ham. But you know what? That didn’t really matter. I got out of the rut I was stuck in and ordered something new for a change!

To start, I had a gorgeous ham filled pasta in a creamy mushroom sauce. Usually, I’d have something like garlic mushrooms, or a fish dish from the specials menu. The pasta was an excellent choice, however, and one I’d thoroughly recommend. Dougie and I also ordered some garlic bread with cheese to share, and whilst it wasn’t as nice as the rosemary and sea salt bread that they also have, it was pretty tasty (if not a little undercooked!).

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For my main, I had the fillet steak in black truffle sauce, accompanied with sauteed potatoes and petit pois with bacon. This was absolutely delicious, and, whilst I’d probably revert to the medallions where given a choice in future, they really didn’t go wrong with such a tasty cut of meat.

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I can’t fault the service in the slightest, and the restaurant itself had a lovely atmosphere for a Saturday night. It was potentially a little more crowded, and it seemed to cater to a demographic a bit younger than the one I’ve been used to, but Leicester’s San Carlo was still a lovely experience. It doesn’t quite live up to its counterparts, no – but then they do set the bar pretty high. In spite of this, I’d still say it was in the top ten meals that I’ve had all year, and I’d go back.