Lunch Date: Carluccio’s


I’m often asked by my friends and peers how it is that I am able to do so much with my paltry student budget. There is no big secret. I don’t really drink. That may seem unfathomable to certain students out there, but I’ve never really been bothered by it. So the £20 (or more) that can be zapped for a night out bought me an all day travel card to London.

It was a truly wonderful day yesterday, the sort that you commit to memory. Me and my chap were given tickets to see The Lion King on the West End at Christmas time. The day itself came round far too quickly. We made a day of it by heading into the capital earlier than our matinee performance, to spend a couple of hours behaving like shameless tourists.

We decided to have lunch at Carluccio’s as the chap had dined in one at Reading and was impressed by their gluten-free menu. Me, being of the ever-organised sort, couldn’t resist looking up the menu beforehand. The gluten-free options were indeed extensive and even included puddings, something I’m not accustomed to seeing. Although we didn’t indulge yesterday, it’s something to remember for future meals.


For yesterday’s meal, we both chose a juice and a pasta dish. The chap had peach juice with a bowlful of Rigatoni Amatriciana. I had (g-f!) Pasta con Funghi, washed down with a cloudy cherry juice, something I’m pleased to find on sale at Sainsbury’s.


Our meal cost us £23 and I think that’s a bargain. My dish was intensely flavoured, as if the great Antonio Carluccio himself had whipped it up. The staff were so accommodating too, deserving of their tip. I would certainly return to any of the Carluccio restaurants, although I did enjoy the lavishness of the Covent Garden branch. It was a meal fitting to our “being spoilt” day.

The show was a wondrous spectacle, vastly improved by our great seats. Sitting next to the aisle was a true experience, as anybody who has seen the show will know. Crossing the bridge on our way back to Waterloo Station offered time for reflection. Firstly, I know I want to live in London as soon as possible, and the chap shares this dream. Secondly, if I have to be thrifty until I achieve that dream, saving my money to make days like today so perfect, then that’s what I shall do. And I will be very content to do so.


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