Celebrity chef Gino D’Acampo has launched his brand new restaurant.
Luciano’s in Alderley Edge has already been rave reviews on social media since the TV star visited on Monday January 24.
To see if the Italian restaurant has substance to support the Mediterranean style, CheshireLive visited the London Road restaurant.
Here’s what they found.
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As soon as you walk through the doors of the restaurant, diners truly feel like they are enjoying a special occasion.
The atmosphere was pure Alderley Edge style; with dance music playing in the background, modern decor (rather unchanged from previous tenants, Piccolino), a fully equipped bar and hazy nighttime lighting.
We were guided to the all-weather covered outdoor patio, and the heat lamps made the area very cozy and warm, perfect on a freezing January night.
After being greeted by friendly staff, we sat down in a comfortable seat and ordered drinks.
To complement my meal I was recommended a bottle of Falanghina 2020 white wine (£42). The wide range of Italian wines on the menu are in keeping with the Gino brand, but there are also other wines from the rest of the world to choose from.
To open the evening, we were served two courses of cicchetti; some cerignola olives (£5) and basil pesto bread (£5). The basil dip was outstanding, it had a nice strong flavor with cheese blended inside. It was a good start to a meal.
For starters or antipasti, I took Gino’s personal advice and opted for the calamari fritti.
On launch night, Gino said Cheshire Live“We have the best calamari fritti ever, because we make it with roasted peppers, which is fantastic.”
Crispy fried calamari is served with a lemon and ‘candied garlic mayonnaise’ (£12).
It looked great, with a generous portion for a starter.
The seafood itself was fresh and soft, and the lemon added a flavor that went well with the octopus. Gino was right, the fried peppers were a unique twist on traditional calamari and a change that I really enjoyed.
It was hard to taste the garlic in the mayonnaise, it definitely could have been stronger. If I hadn’t been told it was a garlic mayonnaise dip, I don’t know if I would have figured it out by the taste.
For main course, the linguine vongole (£18) was again recommended by Gino, who called it ‘super bloody’.
It was beautifully presented; sprinkled with small cooked Italian tomatoes, parsley and bottarga, a delicacy of salted and dried fish roe.
The main course was perfect for a hungry dinner party. They didn’t skimp on the clams, nor the pasta.
The dish was fresh, a little more parsley could have brought a better balance of flavors, but a sprinkle of parmesan went well with the pasta with seafood and bottarga.
As one of my favorite pasta dishes, I was happy with this dish, especially the amount on the plate.
For dessert, or dolci, on the server’s recommendation, I ordered the panna cotta.
It’s described as a ‘vanilla panna cotta with blackberries and honey’ (£8).
Served in a glass, the dessert was smooth, light, with a bright, well-balanced vanilla aroma. There were blackberries, as well as berry jelly and compote on top.
The honeycomb was a standout element of the dessert, its sweetness and consistency paired perfectly with the creamy dish.
It was quite a big portion that I struggled to finish, maybe the desserts would be better to share after a starter and a main course.
The atmosphere definitely shone as a highlight of the evening, as well as the friendly staff. The food itself doesn’t shine above the offerings of other Italian restaurants, but the ambiance elevates the experience.
Prices are undeniably higher for an Italian restaurant, with one of the steaks on the a la carte menu costing £69. However, it’s not too out of place on Alderley Edge’s restaurant and bar scene.
If you are looking for an affordable Italian meal, this is not the restaurant for you. But if you know the prices usually associated with this prestigious Cheshire village, it would be a great night out.
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With the bar island and extensive drinks menu, I can definitely see the restaurant’s potential to be a great, if not cheap, evening dining experience.
This is definitely a menu for a special night, the “upscale” experience Gino was looking for.
Luciano initially seems to fit in well with the well-established Alderley Edge scene.
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