Cheers to Carluccio’s! Carluccio’s opened its Ilkley branch to the general public on 15 February and we thought we would go and explore whether it lived up to its Italian reputation of being family friendly.
With its picturesque charm, Ilkley is a great place for a potter with your pram (with baby in, of course!) but if you are at all familiar with the place, you will know that it is often difficult to get one pram in and around the various shops and restaurants. Tabitha and I thought we would give Carluccio’s an extra special challenge by going for lunch with my friend and her identical twin girls. From the moment we arrived unannounced at the door with our three seven month old babies (two Tabithas and a Darcy!), we were warmly greeted by the lovely maitre’d. The gorgeous twins were being transported in their double pushchair by their equally gorgeous Mummy and they were helped through the doors by the cheerful staff.
A table with generous space for the pushchairs and highchairs was located for us, all with the minimum of fuss. So far, so good Carluccio’s. The waitress gave us time to order our drinks first and she was attentive but in no rush to take our food order. The staff seemed to understand that feeding a baby (whilst admittedly trying to catch up on gossip) can be a time-consuming and distracting process. Often, you don’t have a second to look at the menu because you are unpacking your hungry monster’s various finger foods, purees and (heaven forbid!) pouches, trying to get your squirming baby into a high chair and putting them in a full-on coverall bib without them screaming the place down and alienating all the neighbouring diners before you have even been in the restaurant for five minutes! So, the discretion and understanding was appreciated.
As with all Carluccio’s branches, the menu was extensive. We ordered our sharing platters and coffees without pressure. Totally up to Carluccio’s standards, the food was yummy and even Tabitha tucked into some delicious Arancini balls as finger food.
Three babies can quite literally make a mess though, so we took full advantage of the pristine baby change. No complaints there either. Did we have any criticisms then? Well, I am a sucker for a good old wipe-clean IKEA high chair and Carluccio’s doesn’t have these, seeming to favour a more aesthetically pleasing wooden high chair. That said, they are perfectly functional and at least the table height means that your baby doesn’t bash its head on the side of the table (this has happened to Tabitha a couple of times in a wooden high chair!).
Our whole visit from start to finish was really fab: great service, baby (and adult!) friendly staff and nice surroundings. We will look forward to returning soon and cannot wait until summer when we can sit outside and enjoy the sunshine. Here’s a truly big cheers to Carluccio’s. Impressive stuff.
NB: Fiona paid for her meal at Carluccio’s and all her views are her own.