When my family and I dine out it can be a difficult affair because with two babies, one seven year old and nine adults, we aren't the most 'seatable' group, but that wasn't a problem for Carluccio's La Familia Restaurante in Brindley Place.
Carluccios is the large chain of Italian restaurants that can be found across the globe. With a reputation for classic Italian food, I couldn't think of a more apt venue for my cousin's thirtieth birthday meal.
If you're dining in a group of more than four, I recommend booking a table, because Carluccio's gets busy at the weekend. I booked a table for twelve people (their maximum size), and requested two high chairs. As we arrived, the table was sorted and the high chairs provided.
Once everyone was seated, our waiter handed us three children's menus which came in brown paper packets and had colouring pencils, pictures, and a child-friendly portion options.
It's a calm, bright and simply decorated venue. Chic enough to impress the frequent diner, but not overly fancy. The food is written in Italian, with descriptions underneath for the less-worldly diner. Each dish was freshly prepared, well flavoured, and true to Italian cuisine. All the pasta was freshly made, and the spinach and feta ravioli was a hit with my seven year old nephew.
I had baked a cake for the birthday boy, which the staff hid, and brought out with accompanying plates, vanilla and plain cream, and plenty of spoons.
I am being rather humble in my description of the entrance of the cake. Carluccio's push the boat out when you tell them it's an occasion. As our waiter brought out the cake (candles provided), a member of staff called the attention of every other diner and belted out a tenor like, operatic 'happy birthday' wish to my cousin. We were all somewhat shocked, but delighted.
The quality of food and service was fantastic – the surprise was executed with aplomb, and everyone had a clean plate. The meals were great value for money; starters began at £3.95, and the mains from £9.00. They also serve a set menu where you can choose from three different starters, mains and desserts, and opt for 'two meals for £10'.
Needless to say, my cousin's thirtieth birthday celebrations were memorable; we left a happy brood and Carluccio's is definitely a family favourite.