“ Address: 388 Brandon Street / Motherwell ML1 / Scotland „
My fiance and I found ourselves child-free yesterday so decided to go out for a bite to eat. We decided to go a bit more upmarket than the local Wetherspoons and decided to dine at Da Claudio. Da Claudio came highly recommended by several family and friends and is a restaurant that I had been looking forward to dining it for quite a while now. This review discusses my experience of the restaurant.
*~Da Claudio - Essential Information~*
388 Brandon Street
Da Claudio is a family owned restaurant which is located a few minutes (by foot) from Motherwell town centre. There is a small amount of parking to the rear of the restaurant though those arriving by other modes of transport will be pleased to know that there is well serviced bus stop across the road. Da Claudio opened in 1991 and promise to provide fine Italian cuisine and a friendly service.
Da Claudio is open 6 days per week :
*Tuesday - Friday : 12.00pm-2.00pm and 5.30pm-9.00pm
*Saturday : 12.30pm - 9.30pm
*Sunday : 12.45pm - 8.30pm
Da Claudio's is quite a small restaurant but they do make great use of the space they have. They can accommodate different sized parties (booking recommended) and are happy to take celebration cakes ahead of your party arriving. The restaurant is bright, clean and airy in appearance. It looks classy too with neatly set tables including crisp white table clothes and fancy wine glasses on each table. We were sat at a table for two and found that it was just the right size for us. I wouldn't say that there is much room for wheelchair users to move around in this restaurant - it is quite compact.
The toilets are located at the back of the restaurant and there is only one male and one female toilet. The female toilet is also the baby changing area and is also marked as being disabled friendly. I would agree with this as it is spacious and well equipped but actually getting to the back of the restaurant when busy may prove difficult. The toilets were immaculate but if the restaurant was full, you may experience a wait! The menu is clear with descriptions of each meal being in English. The restaurant is family friendly but prams will need to be folded down due to limited space. We noticed a few children dining here with family and highchairs are available on request. I didn't notice any children's packs being given out to the younger diners.
Da Claudio pride themselves in using locally sourced produce where possible and food is cooked from scratch using quality, fresh ingredients. They offer a set lunch menu, evening menu, an a La Carte menu and also a childrens menu.
The lunch time menu is a set menu priced at £8.25 for 2 courses and is available Tuesday to Saturday from 12.00pm until 2.30pm. There is a choice of nine starters including soup, pate, breaded mushrooms and melon. There are also nine main meal options including strips of haddock, pan fried pork and lasagne. Vegetarians have a limited choice of two pasta in sauce dishes. You can also add a dessert for £2.50.
The evening menu/Sunday menu offers a little more variation and is available all day Sunday, from 5.30pm until 7.00pm midweek and until 6.30pm on a Saturday - £11.95. Starters include a potato and tuna salad and pan fried mushrooms and a choice of ten main courses to include lobster with a cream sauce, rolled pasta with haggis and chicken in breadcrumbs. There isn't any vegetarian choice on this menu for a main course but I am sure they would accommodate on request.
The a La Carte menu is a little more expensive as you would expect but the choice is a little more extensive. On offer is a good range of starters priced around £6.00 including steamed mussels and king prawns. A varied selection of pasta dishes are available for around £9.00 including some suitable for vegetarians. There is a few chicken and fish dishes in various sauces for around £13.00 and the most expensive part of the menu offers steaks for around £20.00 per meal.
A children's menu is available for under 10's including soup, melon and garlic bread followed by chicken, macaroni cheese (I am disappointed that this isn't available for adults), fish or other pasta dishes. Ice cream and marshmallows for dessert - £5.95. Da Claudio also offer a varied selection of drinks - alcoholic, soft and hot to suit all preferences. I would say that the food is authentic Italian.
I must admit that the service we received at Da Claudio's was second to none. The staff coped well as the restaurant was busy when we dined here on a Saturday afternoon. We, and the other diners, were greeted on entering the restaurant and the service was well paced and very friendly. We experienced a few waiters/waitresses and they were all friendly and nothing was any trouble for them. They were friendly towards everyone including children which I liked as in some restaurants, the staff can be a little ignorant of dining children.
I appreciated that they asked only once during the meal if everything was okay as I cannot abide by people hanging over me every few minutes. They also didn't mind when I informed them of me dropping some of my dessert on the pure white tablecloth even though I was mortified! The ambience in the restaurant is quite relaxed and informal with light music in the background. Cutlery is brought ahead your meal and is arranged by what you need for each meal which I liked.
As we dined here for lunch, we chose to take advantage of the set menu. We were first served some complimentary bread and butter which was a nice touch. The bread was deliciously fresh and tasty. We ordered drinks - a Coca Cola for my fiance and a diet Irn Bru for myself. I feel that most restaurants do over charge for cans of juice and this one is no exception as they charged £1.85 for a 330ml can. We were given sufficient time to look over the menu but there is also a menu printed outside for those who wish to see what is on offer before deciding to enter the restaurant. The specials are noted on a board above the bar but we were also told about them too.
I was a little spoiled for choice with starters and would say that there is a starter to suit everyone. I had originally wanted to order the garlic toast with tomato and mozzerella toppings but as we had been given bread for free, I decided to order something different. I was tempted by the melon and decided that this would make a pleasant starter. My melon fan came beautifully arranged on a large plate and whilst the portion size was small, it looked so pretty! The melon itself was fresh and juicy. It was served alongside some fresh fruit (apple, kiwi and grapes), an orange slice and topped with a Midori syrup and icing sugar. I really enjoyed this starter as the fruit was perfectly fresh and the Midori sugar syrup added a delicious, sweet flavouring without being sickly. I would most definitely order this again as it was really tasty. My fiance decided to have the breaded mushrooms which were filled with cheese and a Cajun spice mix. He received five, good sized breaded mushrooms alongside a garlic dip and small side salad. His portion looked so big compared to mine and he enjoyed his starter very much. He commented that the salad was fresh and crisp.
As far as main courses go, I found myself drawn to lasagne as I love it but the dish of the day sounded interesting so I went for that instead! I must admit that I was very pleased with my selection. The dish of the day was spaghetti but not your normal bolonaise type spaghetti. This was spaghetti with chillies, garlic, olive oil and chicken. I also had some parmasean cheese over the top. This dish was certainly different to any other I have had in an Italian restaurant. I received a decent sized portion and it was very filling. The spaghetti was cooked to perfection and the olive oil coating was plentiful to stop the dish from being dry but it never tasted greasy - just moist and succulent. There was a good amount of chicken through my dish and plenty of additional flavour offered by the garlic and chillies. I found this dish to be quite hot thanks to the fresh chilli kick but I like hot dishes. The garlic flavouring was quite strong and this again, was a positive for me but others may not like such a strong flavour. I found this dish to be delicious and very flavoursome. It was served piping hot and I would be happy to try this again.
My fiance opted for the risotto which didn't look anything special in the bowl but was absolutely delicious. This dish consisted of Arborio rice, chicken, bacon, white wine and cream. My fiance enjoyed it and didn't finish it so I got to try it. I found this to be a tasty dish and very substantial. The rice was thick and soft and there was quite a lot of chicken and bacon pieces mixed through. The sauce was creamy and mild - just right if you like a dish that isn't spicy. I wouldn't mind ordering this on a subsequent visit to Da Claudio. We also ordered a portion of French fries which were well presented in a little basket. These were cooked perfectly and if I am being completely honest, they were the most delicious French fries I have tasted in a long while!
My fiance was completely stuffed after his main meal. To be fair, I was nearly full but I can always squeeze a dessert in. The dessert choices on our visit included tiramisu, ice cream or chocolate fudge cake - pretty standard for many restaurants we dine at. I don't like tiramisu and rarely opt for ice cream on its own when dining out so the chocolate fudge cake was my dessert choice. My slice of cake was huge and was served with some squirty cream and a little unusual fruit which I believe to be a Chinese gooseberry (thanks to Bollinger for informing me of that on a previous review).
This dessert was very much worth the £2.50 cost. It was served warm and the gooey chocolate fudge topping was melting beautifully. The cake was doubled layered and really moist. I find that chocolate cake can sometimes be bitter but there was something different about this chocolate cake and I savoured every spoonful (except the one I dropped on the table!). The cake was light yet filling and the chocolate fudge filling and topping was simply divine. It was definitely a high quality chocolate but had more a sweet, milk chocolate taste rather than a rich, bitter dark chocolate taste - it just melted in my mouth. I thoroughly enjoyed it and my fiance had a try but just a little bit - I didn't want to share! I can't wait to go back for this alone as it definitely finished my meal off perfectly.
*~Conclusion and Recommendation~*
We were delighted by the service and food we received at Da Claudio. Our bill came to £24.85 which was made up of a two course meal, a three course meal, a side of fries and two drinks. I feel this represents excellent value for money as we left with our tummies very satisfied indeed. I do love dining at Italian restaurants and in the local area, this is definitely one of my favourites so far. It supercedes Tony Macaroni which is literally a few doors down from this restaurant. The only issues I have noticed are the limited space for wheelchair users and the limited selection of vegetarian dishes. Whilst these issues do not impact me directly, they will be cause for concern for some potential diners.
We would happily return here again and highly recommend Da Claudio if you are in the local area. The food is tasty, fresh and the staff are very friendly. My son isn't keen on Italian food but I feel he would still be well catered for here by looking at the children's menu.
Thanks for reading :)