Reviewed: Gino D’Acampo Quayside
We check out Gino D’Acampo’s new spring-summer menu at his restaurant on Newcastle’s iconic Quayside
We’re seated at one of the tables in the restaurant area which is cleverly split away from the bar by glass shelving. The low-down dining/lounge chairs provide comfortable seating as we browse the extensive menu, sipping on our Gin ’n’ Juice cocktails – a mix of kiwi liqueur, pear nectar, apple and lemon over Bombay Sapphire gin.
Our table overlooks the bar and partially-open kitchen where we can see the chefs creating the bases of the freshly made signature pizzas we have been lucky enough to sample before. Our starters come fairly quickly, and after chatting with Gino, I knew the arancine was a must-try. The crispy mushroom risotto balls with mozzarella were really flavoursome and cooked perfectly and the tomato and red pepper sauce was a nice addition to the dish. However, the parma ham bruschetta was the star (not just of the starters, but our favourite of the evening), with toasted ciabatta topped with spicy ‘nduja and parma ham, and a drizzle of honey and pistachio nuts over the top. The ‘nduja gave a lovely smokey after taste which went well against the texture of the pistachio and was calmed down by the drizzle of honey.
The evening menu is packed with tempting dishes, plenty of pasta, pizza and risotto alongside mains such as salmon fillet with creamy vermouth sauce, meatballs and crispy duck. We however decided on two main courses from the speciality grill menu – the lamb cutlets served with pancetta and a honey, lemon and rosemary sauce, and the slow roasted belly pork. The lamb was cooked to our liking and fell off the bone. We also ordered the tender stem broccoli with chilli, olives and pecorino cheese which went perfectly with the lamb. The side of crushed potatoes topped with garlic, sage and rosemary which we shared was also a great side dish – something which you need to order if you’re choosing from the specially grill dinner options. The slow cooked pork belly however could be enjoyed alone if you’re not so hungry. The pork cooked with radicchio, balsamic, thyme and toasted hazelnuts had a real Asian-style flavour which was enjoyable but not what we were expecting in an Italian restaurant. The pork was tender and cooked to perfection, and the radicchio went exceptionally well with the dish.
We take a short breather to not only make room for dessert, but to also take in a bit more of the spectacular view. By day the restaurant is lit up by natural sunlight and by night the lights which trail along the Quayside bring a whole new atmosphere into the restaurant. By this point in the evening the lights had been dimmed further and the live DJ had turned up the music every so slightly – not too much though that you still couldn’t enjoy your meal in the restaurant. Like Gino told us in our interview, the venue is a place not just for a great meal but for a great night.
Back to the menu, we ponder over some of the classic Italian desserts. I’m tempted by the chocolate fondant stuffed with chocolate truffles and vanilla ice cream (I’d also be keen to try the cheese board with gorgonzola, buffalo ricotta and pecorino, but I saved that for my next visit). The chocolate fondant was a great choice, oozing chocolate sauce. Typically this dessert is served with vanilla ice cream but I asked if we could swap it for the blackberry ripple flavour as this sounded too tempting, and I would definitely recommend doing the same as the sharpness of the berries contrasted really well against the richness of the chocolate. We also ordered the chocolate and hazelnut cheesecake which was decadent and rich – and grand in portion size!
The restaurant was full of buzz, and the new menu, whilst extensive, certainly features something for everyone. It’s clear that Gino’s restaurant is a hit with the locals of Newcastle (and beyond), and we can certainly understand why.
River View, Newcastle NE1 3BE
0191 933 6994