Francesca’s Italian Kitchen
I’d had a very good wander around the middle bits of Christchurch and while my original plan was to eat in one of the less formal eateries, I bumped into Francesca’s Italian Kitchen, next to the Isaac Theatre Royal, at just around the time when a seat and a menu felt like much required items.
Accordingly I popped into this smart Italian eatery. Clearly very well established, I noticed signs saying that their cookbook was due to launch just a few days later. Fancy!
My eye was quickly caught by their large wood-fired pizza oven. I was duly shown to a table just near it.
Their menu had some elegant sounding starters followed by various pizza, pasta and main course options. I decided to open with their beef carpaccio and follow with a four cheese pizza. I added a glass of decent local pale ale.
First up was the carpaccio which matched white anchovies, parmesan, capers, pickled red onions, lemon aioli and rocket with the expected thinly sliced beef. It was served with two hunks of charred olive oil toast.
It could easily have lost an element or two – the bread and the anchovies would have been top of my list – and still been a very good dish. The beef was excellent and should have been afforded a little more room to shine. Still, it was a high quality opener.
The pizza had a lightly crisp base and the cheese mix – pecorino, gorgonzola, talleggio and goat’s – was a complete joy. I really enjoyed it.
So overall, I was glad to have stumbled upon Francesca’s. I dare say it does a lot of business as a pre and post theatre venue. As such it’s rather better than other places I’ve seen ploughing this particular furrow. I would be happy to return when next in town.
Blythe scores Francesca’s
4/5 for food
3.5/5 for presentation
4/5 for service
3.5/5 for setting
giving an overall 15/20
I ate: beef carpaccio, four cheese pizza
I drank: pale ale, water
I wore: blue and black
Total bill: $53
Address: 149 Gloucester Street, Christchurch 8011