San Carlo Reviews; Leeds, UK
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San Carlo, Leeds

6-7 South Parade, Leeds, LS1 5QX, UK
San Carlo Review
5 Star Rating
31 October 2010San Carlo
Tags: Leeds, UK, Italian reviewsThe Bill: £42 Per Head

San Carlo Leeds is the newest in the San Carlo chain supplementing those in Birmingham, Liverpool, Leicester and Manchester. They are an Italian themed restaurant that serves westernised Italian food to a pretty high standard. The Leeds branch is set in the business quarter on South Parade, ready to attract power lunches and after work dinners from the suited crowd.

The image the restaurant tries to portray is that of a high quality establishment. In essence it sells pizza and pasta, but has tablecloths and waiters. From the outside it’s all shining glass and white marble, giving a good impression before you even walk through the door.

Once inside, the atmosphere is calm. The room is light, airy, and continues the marble theme. The tables have brilliant white tablecloths and the chairs are yellow leather. There are mirrored panels around the walls and the floors are of polished marble. This all goes to produce a relaxed, but bright atmosphere that many modern bistros like to create.

For starter we had San Carlo Special Parmigiana, Sicilian aubergine, which was oven baked with garlic cheese, tomato and olive oil. We also had Capnino Griludito Con Semi di Sesuromo, which consisted of goats cheese with sesame seed and cranberry sauce. Fortunately it was much nicer than it sounds.

Main course looked substantial, but we were hungry. We decided on Risotto San Carlo, which was Italian style rice with wild mushroom, cream and white wine with cured ham. Also a 9 ounce fillet steak that had been hung for 28 days and chefs “special” garlic butter. We also had sides of sautéed potatoes, baby fresh vegetables, and bacon and onion.

I’m always amused when restaurants name their dishes after themselves as it seems a little self indulgent. Despite this, everything on our table was perfectly cooked, well presented and ate well. The steak in particular was cooked perfectly and just melted in the mouth.

We wanted some dessert despite having cleaned all our plates, so we ordered a crème caramel and pana cotta. The Crème caramel was light, airy and melted on the tongue, just like the steak. The “Panna Cotta” was creamy and fresh, the fruits succulent and the ideal companion to the dish.

The ingredients used in the dishes we ate were superb, the flavours were rich without being overpowering, combinations compatible without competing and there was just enough on the plate to leave you wanting more, but in a good way.

The menu is Italian, and seeks to cover most of the popular classics. Service was fast, but perfunctory and the wine list seemed complete. It’s the kind of place that will be very busy at the weekend, and will need a booking to get anywhere.

Overall it’s new, shiny, smart, light, well appointed, comfortable and worth a visit.

Square Meal

Photos courtesy of San Carlo
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