Meet the owners
De Luca Cucina and Bar is a well-loved local restaurant in the heart of Cambridge offering delicious food at affordable prices. Actually, it’s much more than that, as owner Paul De Luca explains…
There’s so much to say about De Luca it’s hard to know where to start! How would you describe it?
Well, in a nutshell, we’re a modern, independent Italian restaurant with an open-plan kitchen offering fresh, quality Italian food in a relaxed, typically Italian environment. As you can see, we are passionate about our heritage! It seems that Cambridge is passionate about us too, because last month we celebrated our 16th anniversary.
It’s appropriate then that there’s an exciting new offer on your menu – the Artisan Neapolitan Pizza. What makes it so special? Do you have a personal favourite?
During lockdown we did a lot of research trying to find something special and authentic we could offer our customers when we re-opened. We discovered the best flour to make pizza dough – ‘00 Superiore Le 5 Stagione’ – so that’s what we use in our Artisan pizzas, imported direct from Italy. The dough is proved for up to 72 hours and rolled out by hand; it’s gorgeous and very good for you! My personal favourite is the prosciutto and burrata pizza – burrata is an Italian cheese, like a top-end mozzarella – with a balsamic glaze. Delicious.
It’s great to see the Piano Bar is open again. Is this the perfect way to spend a Friday or Saturday evening?
The Piano Bar is a pretty unique experience. It’s a second-floor, New York loft-style cocktail bar, cosy and intimate. Our resident pianist is the enormously talented musician and entertainer Robin Phillips. It’s request-based – Robin can play pretty much anything, Queen, The Beatles, the Spice Girls, R&B, rap, Ezra, Sheeran, Dolly Parton – and the show is all about the audience and the joy of singing along to music you love. Add in the amazing cocktails made by our talented bar team and you’ve got the ingredients for a memorable night.
Tell us a bit more about Pasta Wednesdays and Pizza Thursdays.
Pasta/Risotto Wednesdays and Pizza Thursdays are our very popular mid-week offers. When we reopened with new hours after lockdown we wanted to provide something different that would suit most
people’s budgets. So our pasta, risotto and pizza dishes – even the new artisan pizzas are just £10 on those days. And our customers come back again and again.
We do a wonderful seafood linguine pasta dish, Linguine Al Frutti Di Mare, with chilli, garlic, clams, mussels, squid heads: that’s a huge favourite, probably because it isn’t something you would make at home. Then there’s the homemade lasagne, people travel for miles for that.
The summer is coming and so is Rooftop Al Fresco dining. What’s that like?
Our rooftop terrace is a lovely little area with a beautiful view over Parker’s Piece. When you’re up there with some pizzas, some wine, blankets on your laps and soft music playing, it makes you feel like you’re abroad. It’s just a little speck of the continent here in Cambridge.
What sort of events do you cater for in the Vespa Function Room?
The function room is on the first floor and holds up to 28 people. As the Vespa is quintessentially Italian, we decided that was the perfect name for the room! We cater for corporate events, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, hen and stag parties; basically, any small group function where you want some privacy and a set menu.
What does it mean to you to have a family-owned Indie business right in the heart of Cambridge?
The last 16 years have been amazing. Cambridge is synonymous with independent businesses and we’re proud and grateful to be part of that. There’s been a De Luca business on these premises for many years and when my father offered me the building, I knew what I wanted to do with it. I love people and food and I already had a concept for my own restaurant. I played a lot of football when I was younger and it was my dream to be a footballer and own a business. I’m lucky enough to have done both. It’s been exhilarating, exciting, and hard at the same time, but it’s always been fantastic.
Visit De Luca at 83 Regent Street, Cambridge CB2 1AW or delucacucina.co.uk
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