If you are of a certain age from Newcastle, you’ll remember the circular restaurant hovering above the centre of Eldon Square and then its subsequent move to a mezzanine terrace in the same spot. I am sadly old enough to remember the move to the terrace which is now the location of the all new restaurant in John Lewis – Rossopomodoro.
With 10 restaurants around the UK, the newest in the family is an open, light and airy offering. The tables are a little too tightly packed for a busy Saturday service as people clamour to get the prime people watching spots but as we visited towards the end of the day, we had our pick of the tables.
Taking up a cavalier portion of the dining space is a theatre kitchen station which produces the pizzas so you can curiously watch your food being cooked. There is also a full service kitchen tucked away behind the scenes as well as a stylised café bar counter which reminds me of trendy espresso bars in Rome.
With 2 hungry bloggers to serve, we took recommendations for starters and both opted for Calzoncino (£5.95). Rossopomodor’s fried calzone pizza stuffed with ricotta, pesto and smoked mozzerella. Who wouldn’t like that? The cheese oozed perfectly from the middle and the lightly fried dough gave a different texture to the molten mess. A filling starter that would serve well as a light lunch packed full of Italian flavour. Very moreish, I think we both agreed it was an absolute winner. I could just eat another one now in fact!
With my dining partner being a Vegetarian, our server again recommended a dish to try. The Rigatone (£11.95) is the chain’s best selling veggie pasta dish and came piled high with pasta shells and aubergine. The pasta sat on top of a sheet of melted cheese. This was a little unwieldy to cut but perseverance paid off for a hit of salty melted cheesy goodness. Can you tell we both like cheese?!
I opted for a white pizza which is served without a tomato base. The Venture (£13.45) was light and crispy and stacked high with cheese, rocket and fresh prosciutto. It is a great alternative to your usual tomato base and as this dish can be made gluten free, it is good to see an option for those with dietary requirements. The pizza was deceptively filling and I ended up taking half home!
In an attempt fill ourselves up to the gills, we ordered a side of Patatina (£3.95) – potato wedges with truffle mayo and a side of Friarielli (£5.45) which is Neopolitan broccoli pan friend with chilli and garlic. Vicky only managed half the wedges as it was a mammoth portion of chunky chips but the broccoli was lush. Swimming in a bit too much oil but it was fiery from the chilli and actually quite a good side to go with a white pizza as it added something moist to the meal.
With half the pizza and half the wedges boxed up to take away, we decided it would be rude not to try an Italian classic while dining in an Italian restaurant. As the kitchen closes 1hr before the restaurant closes (kitchen closes at 7pm) we were limited to cold desserts which suited us fine – the Tiramisu is a chilled delight! A reasonably good version of the dining staple, it was presented well and had that trade mark zip of coffee and lashings of creamy goodness. It was a good way to round off a meal.
With incredibly friendly and helpful service throughout, we left full and pleased with our visit – then we rushed home to put stretchy pants!
Rossopomodoro are currently offering £10 Prosecco across all their restaurants to celebrate their 10th birthday as well as Margherita pizzas for £3.50 after 3pm – bargain!
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