Pastappreciation: Carbonara at Carluccio’s

Picture this: it’s 3pm on a gloomy Wednesday afternoon. A tutorial has once again made me question a.) my aptitude at anything and b.) my entire existence. All I’ve eaten in the past few days has been anchovies and Doritos and Quavers pasta (recipe to come soon). I have this empty feeling in my stomach, and I’m not sure if it’s apathy or hunger.

I end up deciding that it’s hunger. With coat on and glasses askew, I walk out onto St Giles having never felt more exhausted, but nonetheless I persevere – Carluccio’s is near. I almost get run over by a bike, totally my fault since I was walking on the road, but I’m hungry so who gives? Plopping myself onto a seat and absolutely drenched in drizzle, I dismiss the proposed menu with a flurry of my hand. As if I don’t know what I want – there’s only one gosh darn thing on my mind!

“This pasta makes me emotional for a good five minutes.”

And after a short 25 minutes it’s placed right before my hungry mou-I mean eyes! It’s hard to describe how much of a pep-me-up this pasta is; it’s bright and creamy and makes you feel like you’re sitting on a balcony overlooking the sea in Tuscany or somewhere, the wind in your hair and sunblock on your nose. Guanciale, the destroyer of bacon and rightful heir to the throne of breakfast meats, sits proudly among chives that are sprinkled all over the plate like golden nuggets of goodness. One bite and literally all my problems go away – my parents aren’t divorced anymore and my pre-lims are over!

Genuinely though, this pasta makes me emotional for a good five minutes. Perfectly seasoned and cooked al-dente all the way, it has bite and the guanciale elevates the entire dish, giving Carluccio’s carbonara a smokiness that makes it stand out. The portion sizes are big but not too big, and after finishing I felt full but not groggy as is the case with many pasta meals (I’m looking at you Chicken Alfredo). I blow my nose and wipe my eyes on my napkin before saluting my empty dish. It’s always emotional saying goodbye!