Review: Luciano, High Street West, Sunderland

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I’VE heard a lot about Luciano on High Street West, but in the four years I have lived in Sunderland I have never had the chance to experience it for myself.

As it was my fiance John’s birthday I decided to take him to this city centre hot spot as a treat. When I walked through the door I was definitely glad I had booked.

Every table in this well-known Italian eatery was full. I decided they must be doing something right – I just hoped the food would live up to expectation!

Inside, this restaurant has a real rustic feel with traditional touches including candles in wine bottles, napkins in glasses and brick wall features.

We were seated directly in front of the kitchen so we could see and smell every dish, this made picking something from the menu very difficult.

We had the a la carte, but there is a happy hour menu available for you early birds.

I decided to try the deep fried camembert cheese, £4.60. Gorgeously gooey, this starter came with a sweet Cumberland sauce, it really worked, and despite his reservations about mixing sweet and savoury, John agreed.

He opted for the insalata caprese, £4.80. With big, beefy slices of fresh mozzarella and sliced fresh tomato, this light dish left plenty of room for his meat feast of a main.

He decided to have something from the BBQ and when the fillet of beef arrived it was still smoking, the smell alone made my mouth water and the chunky chips that accompanied the juicy beef were the perfect side. At £13 you couldn’t grumble at the price.

It’s not just beef that comes off the BBQ, they also have the option of chicken and for meat lovers you can opt for both.

Our meal had a surf and turf theme as the Linguini alla Imperial caught my eye, this pasta dish was stuffed full of sautéed tiger prawns and garlic, smothered in a white wine tomato sauce with a hint of chilli – for £7.80 you got more than your money’s worth of big juicy prawns.

We finished off a bottle of house white wine which was a reasonable £14 and then loosened our belts ready for dessert, we decided to share the tiramisu which was made from scratch by the head chef.

Both of us lack a sweet tooth, but this sweet treat was the perfect end to an all-round flavoursome meal, which cost £45.30.

Luciano, I now know why you have been a city favourite for the past 17 years – please keep doing what your doing!