Carluccio's Windsor Reviews
Dec 02, 2007
The UK's coffee culture is by-and-large overrun by chains. And it's not just a result of Starbucks (though they can now be found on every street corner in London); years before there was Druckers, purveyors of dishwater disasters such as the 'Viennese Coffee'. But today there are a plethora of coffee shops plying their sordid trade. So how to avoid the sea of mediocre coffee and still have the convenience of good high street locations and the comfort of brand loyalty? Go to Carluccio's.
Carluccio's takes it's name from the Italian food guru Antonio Carluccio, famous in the UK as a food writer, critic and proprietor of the Neal Street Restaurant in Covent Garden, until its closure in 2007. And the concept is basically to offer high quality Italian cuisine at pleasant high street locations at reasonable prices. And that's exactly what is achieved. The menus are standard across all their caffés, but the quality is excellent. Along with the restaurant area is a shop selling imported Italian products. And, most importantly, the staff are equally welcoming of customers wanting a three course meal or just a coffee. Which brings me to this review.
After a few hours wandering around the cobbled stone streets, strolling along the river, or visiting the Castle, every visitor to Windsor needs to refresh themselves with a drink, and perhaps something sweet. And Carluccio's is my recommendation. For coffee, you can choose a number of authentic Italian drinks, including cappuccino, caffé latte, espresso and ristretto. Of particular note is the bicerin, a decadent drink consisting of three small jugs containing espresso, cream, and chocolate sauce, which you mix to your own level of indulgence. You can tell that the coffees are all prepared by people that have received more than just a cursory training on how to use the espresso bar, and the result is a consistently high quality of drinks on every visit. A range of black teas is also available, though unfortunately they are bags rather than loose leaves.
As a perfect accompaniment to the drinks is a number of sweets, including tiramisù, panna cotta and gelati. But my favourite has to be the torta di limone, which is sumptuously rich, and also pleasantly light.
But the best thing about Carluccio's is that it is not more expensive than the other chains. And the little extra you pay can be easily attributed to the superior products, service and environment. So, if you're looking for a place to drink coffee and you don't have the time to search out the good independent shops, Carluccio's is the winner, hands down.
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