Play Hard

We met Gino D’Acampo to find out what we can expect from his Newcastle Quayside restaurant this year

Including a new Spring / Summer menu and an extended outdoor terrace overlooking the river.

Written by Laura Kingston
Published 14.02.2022

It’s no secret that I’m a regular at Gino D’Campo’s Quayside restaurant – I could eat the Parma Ham Bruschetta (which is served with spicy ‘nduja, honey, and pistachio nuts) every day for the rest of my life.

And it’s clearly not just me – this new addition to Newcastle’s dining scene has fast become one of the city’s most popular restaurants, you can sometimes be lucky to get a mid-week table it’s so popular.

In the coming weeks, the Winter Chalet will be coming down, but don’t worry, there are more developments coming, and Gino himself met us to tell us what they’ve got planned…

Let’s start with the most important topic – food. The Pork Belly is our favourite thing on your current menu. What can we expect on your upcoming Spring / Summer menu?

We’re just finalising it now, but there is one thing that’s my absolute favourite – it’s a baby courgette with a flower that we stuff with buffalo ricotta cheese, lemon zest, and honey, then we’ve created a delicious butter that we fry it in. We can’t make it yet though because courgettes aren’t in season. I only put things on the menu that are good when they’re in season so we need to wait until mid-April for those.

Then, we’ll also be introducing the naughty pizza. I’ve been trying the recipe for 6-7 months and finally, we got it right with the chefs so it’s coming onto the new menu. It’s made with Nutella, fresh bananas, toasted hazelnuts crushed and sprinkled on top, then icing sugar and vanilla sprinkled on the bottom of the pizza. It’s delicious.

Where do the dishes in your restaurant come from?

All of the dishes come from my books. It all started when I was in Italy, I took the recipes that I made with my family and wrote them down. They went into my books, then into my shows, and now into my restaurants. The link runs all the way through.

Everything on the menu has a bit of information about where or who in my family the recipe came from, as well as a book and page reference showing which of my books the recipe is in. Very often people go home and try to make it themselves, then send me pictures on social media, it’s great.

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So the Winter Chalet is coming down in a few weeks – tell us about the new terrace you’ve got planned?

Well, it’s going to be really cool. We try to have great terraces at all of my restaurants – it changes the atmosphere to extend the restaurant outside and it’s going to give it a really great vibe. We do have some outdoor seating right now, but it’s all going to be developed into a new terrace which is going to be amazing. With this restaurant especially we have such a perfect location right on the river – one day I’m planning to come on my boat with Gordon and Fred to surprise all of the diners outside.

The restaurant is sophisticated but also really child-friendly, is that something to do with your Italian roots?

This restaurant in Newcastle is particularly friendly for children. For us, when we see a family coming in, the children will be our priority, not the parents. The parents have been there, done that, but for kids, eating out is a time for them to try something different. So if they want a pizza, we might add a bit of pecorino cheese for them to try instead of cheddar. It’s our way to try and inject a bit of Italian into the kids because, in Italy, that’s what we do. Our restaurants are built around children, we love them. I get a lot of pictures sent to me on social media of children in my restaurants which is very cute and I love to see them.

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Well, thanks for bringing Gino’s to Newcastle – are you happy with how it’s gone so far?

I’m not happy. I’m ecstatic with how it has gone in Newcastle so far. The Manager, Head Chef, and team here really understood from day one what the Gino restaurant is all about. Which you may think is a natural thing to happen, but it’s not always the case. There are some restaurants where everyone really gets it – and some restaurants where we have to work a little harder. But in Newcastle, the team got it straight away.

So what is ‘it’?

It’s the way that the team talk to our customers in the same way I talk to them. The way that the chefs cook is the same way that I cook. They are really just replicas of me. Sometimes I hear them talking and they sound like me and I’m so pleased with that because it’s exactly the attitude I want to create.

When staff come to work they know that they can do whatever they want here, because I do pretty much what I want. As long as it’s within the rules of the brand and the way I want things done, if they want to dance with the guests they can dance, if they want to talk and get to know guests better they can – and I like that, I like that a lot.

OK, time for some HLN reader questions

  1. What are your favourite dishes on the menu? Like anyone, it depends on the day. But right now I would go for Arancini with the mushroom and mozzarella – I love it when it goes all oozy. Then, I’d have the Linguini with Seafood because I fancy some seafood tonight. It’s one of my mother’s creations with wild red prawns, mussels, clams, calamari, tomato and chilli.
  2. What do you think of Geordies? Everything that I’ve seen from Newcastle – you guys like to party and have a good time. you’re very kind, very cool people. You aren’t these people that want to party but annoy you. Geordies are very friendly, very cool about partying and I like that a lot.
  3. Would you ever bring Gordon and Fred to eat in your Newcastle restaurant? If we were here 100%. Whenever we are together, whoever has the nearest restaurant that’s where we’ll go. If we’re in London, we’ll tend to go to Gordon’s restaurants and when we’re in other cities we tend to go to mine.

 

BOOK YOUR TABLE NOW
Gino D’Acampo Quayside Newcastle, Innside by Melia, River View, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 3BE
0191 933 6994
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