The wonderful thing about Italian food is its simplicity. Get yourself some quality ingredients, combine with some care & attention and you’re pretty much there. Anyone with a soul can cook a good Italian meal when they put their mind to it. That’s why I don’t much go in for Italian restaurants.

Italian restaurants, on the whole (and I’m talking about England here, not Italy), are hit & miss affairs. In fact I almost always leave genuinely believing I could have done better myself. There are exceptions.

So if I’m going to be persuaded to part with my hard-earned dosh in an Italian restaurant, it’s got to be pretty damn special. May I present Carluccio’s. Following a shopping spree in Selfridges, I took Her Indoors there for a somewhat belated birthday meal. It did not disappoint.

The most sublime asparagus and sweet Prosciutto ham. The lambiest lamb chops I’ve ever tasted, with garlicky beans and lemon risotto on the side (must try to make that some time). Tiramisu that actually didn’t taste of bubblegum. Italian bubbly & espresso. Relaxed, open surroundings with friendly & attentive service. And for 30 quid each. Um, yes, it is recommended.

You might also like to try Pappa & Ciccia in Putney and La Piazza in Hove if you happen to be in those parts of the world. And no, I’m not going to make a regular feature of restaurant reviews.