Nestled on the Quayside, the ground floor restaurant is situated within the INNSiDE hotel, which gives immediate stylish feel-good vibes, on arrival the clock struck 5pm so first on the agenda was an Aperitivo!
The team have set the bar high when it comes to the drink’s menu with a huge selection of Prosecco and Franciacorta from Northern Italy, and classic Italian cocktails, alongside artisan beers and the finest in hand-crafted Italian gin, amari and vermouth.
The new cocktail menu radiated Mediterranean vibes and first in the tasting was a signature Gino’s Martini, a classic crisp mix of Grey Goose vodka with Bianco Martini vermouth, olive and lemon. It wasn’t then long until I was feeling chilled and in the pink with a Lychee & Rose (Finlandia vodka with Lanique rose liqueur, lychee liqueur, lemon, apple and cranberry). Alongside, the extensive alcohol choice a refreshing range of low and no alcohol mixes have also been introduced including a fruity Tropical Vibes Only cocktail (Everleaf 0% with passionfruit, mango, pineapple and lime).
Next up, a taste of the spring – summer menu. When designing the menu, simplicity seems to be the key for the leading Italian chef with a focus on the season’s key ingredients. The dishes reflect the soul and character of Italy’s many different regions and Gino has included lots of favourites from his books and TV programmes in this vibrant new menu.
First to tempt the tastebuds was the arancine, crispy rice croquettes stuffed with creamy taleggio cheese and peas, tomato and red pepper sauce, followed by Loch Duart salmon with broad bean, spinach, fennel and citrus dressing and a grilled Swordfish with salsa verde. An Italian staple, pasta, made a welcome appearance with a spinach and ricotta tortelloni, then sweetly finishing the tasting menu with an indulgently light Ferrero Rocher cake.
The restaurants seasonally changing menu really does capture a taste of Gino’s homeland, bringing a real taste and the vibrancy of Italy to Newcastle. After a journey of exciting, fresh taste sensations and with live music from James Hedley still playing, I wanted to prolong the evening further. So as the sky cleared, I headed to the Terrace which is perfectly nestled on the Quayside to absorb the stunning views of the nearby Tyne bridges and sampled one of the regionally selected wines, a fruity Sicilia number – al fresco at its finest – fantastico!