Italian food is my favourite. It's a popular cuisine because Italians seems to have a knack for producing dishes with a balance of flavours – the right amount of mascarpone, tomatoes seasoned with just enough basil to scent your tongue, all enjoyed over candle light, a glass of wine and a loved one sitting opposite the cloth-covered table. Setting the tone, and raising the bar is San Carlo: the Italian restaurant in Birmingham.
It's a very nice venue with ivory covered table tops, mirrors reflecting the soft lighting in their reflection, and marble flooring. Mirroring the beauty of the venue is a menu of dishes that are predictably 'Italian', but they know what they do best, and that's serve their famous Italian cuisine. Here's what we ordered:
Avocado with crab meat, topped with prawns and rose-marie sauce. I can't say I'm a fan of prawns, or rose-marie sauce for that matter – too 80's and I'm a 90's baby. Topping scraped off, the avocado was nice, the crab meat average, and the little salad decent. Overall an okay dish.
The lamb was unfortunately a disappointment. The so-called 'jus' was too rich, and the lamb cutlets weren't cooked how I like them. It was average-tasting too. Needless to say, I sent this back with no complaints from the staff
Principessa di pollo. Creamy thick sauce poured over a chicken leg with two asparagus spears. We also ordered sides of spiced wilted spinach, green beans, and finely sliced roast potatoes, which were cooked to perfection and were seriously moreish.
I consider pears a fancier apple, so I opted for 'poached pear in chianti with hazelnut ice cream'. The ice cream was the hero of this dish with nutty pieces and true hazelnut flavour. The pear had an unexpected liquorice/aniseed flavour, which I hate, but was still enjoyable. The berry coulis to the side of the dish was tart, but complimented the dish on a whole.
My date ordered crème brulee. Sadly I've had better. Don't get me wrong it was thick, and rich crème, and the top was flambéed to perfection, but it lacked a certain je ne sais quo.
We finished with a mug of black tea each and left certainly full, and satisfied. Their mains are their forte, starters and desserts however, not so much. Nonetheless San Carlo is a bit of a celebrity hot spot, so if you're in the mood for Italian cuisine you can make a reservation online, or give them a call.
I have to say their customer service was impeccable. You can't fault it, and when I didn't like the lamb they quickly removed it, and within no more than ten minutes was I served my delicious main. Impressive.