Thursday, 7 July 2011

Luciano's at the Millstone - Anderton, Chorley

Luciano's is the recent incarnation of an Italian restaurant at The Millstone, it's been remade and done up - previously it was a sad, tired restaurant with peeling 90s wallpaper serving over-priced, over-cooked food apparently with a mediterranean influence ie. served with watery courgettes and a sprinkling of oregano.
From the outside the Millstone looks like an old-style country pub, however inside it's all white linen tableclothes and leather chairs. Luciano's is now headed up by Luciano Fortuna, who's gregarious Scilian personality can usually be found heading up the restaurant and welcoming guests with a twinkle in his eye.

Looks like a pub, is a restaurant - with thanks to Chorley Guardian

We were seated quickly even though we didn't have a reservation in the modern, clean dining room. Thankfully Luciano has a habit of seating guests near other tables and filling the restaurant up that way, so even if the restaurant is only half full it seems like there is plenty going on and the atmosphere is good.

There's a main menu comprising starters, pastas, pizzas and mains - plus a daily changing special menu. I decided to order the mussels off the specials and have to say they were freshest, tastiest and well cooked mussels I have had; the flesh was silky soft and the tomatoey broth thick with fragrant herbs and garlic, it was so good I asked for a spoon (they agreed without quibble)!

Spanking fresh mussels

We ordered pizzas and pasta as it was a relaxed meal - good wood fired dough, thin and crispy. However it was 50/50 as to whether they were worth it. A 'create your own' of rocket, calabrese salami and peppers was fresh and very tasty, but the prawn pizza was bland - far too much cheese, hardly any courgettes and a few tiny rubbery prawns, this sorry state was replicated in the Sciliana as well. A secret to pizza success here seems to be asking them to be easy on the cheese.

Overly cheesey, bland prawn pizza

Pasta was well cooked to the bite and the sauce well seasoned, the diavola being loud and shouty spice in your mouth - it could have been toned down a tad as the spice seemed to drown out anything else, but was overall rounded and well thought out.

Service was attentive, if somewhat over-bearing from someone whom we could only guess at being the head waiter - an over-the-top personality who made us feel very welcome, but whose schtick soon got a little tiring. Far more subtle and effective was Luciano himself, who glided around the dining room, was expertly knowledgable and liked to talk about proper Scilian and Italian food.

We've aslo popped to Luciano's for a drink after work - the beer garden here is pretty and good sized, though a little close to the road to really chill out (thankfully you can only hear it and not see it). It's good to see that as well as serving Peroni and other largers, they pay a respectful nod to the local Bank Top Brewery and serve Flat Cap on tap. Order the breads and olives whilst you sup - the chewy bread comes with some lovely, grassy olive oil and come very sticky, thick balsamic syrup.



Luciano's isn't a mecca for foodies, but for a local mid-week, fairly priced meal that's actually alright it hits the nail on the head. If Luciano could influence the menu to give the food a more Scilian slant I think they would be on to a winner.

Price for one appertiser, two starters, three pizzas, one pasta and drinks - £67.75

Food - 7/10
Atmosphere - 7/10
Service - 6/10
Value for money - 6/10

Total - 26/40

Luciano's Italian Restaurant, At the Millstone, Bolton Road, Anderton, Chorley PR6 9HJ - 01257 480205
http://www.lucianosatthemillstone.com/

Luciano's at the Millstone on Urbanspoon