A couple of months ago we were introduced to newbie Joe and the Juice in Newcastle. This juice bar was set up in John Lewis as part of a UK-wide plan to improve the food offerings within the department store. At the same time as J&J were announced we heard that Rossopomodoro were also launching an outlet within the branch. The pizza and pasta eatery has 70 restaurants in Italy alone, so it was with some interest we welcomed them to the Toon.
Last week we were given the nod to visit, and I decided to take Canny Jnr along as my plus one on account of his love of Italian food. Located on the first floor amongst Womenswear, we were immediately taken with the stylish decor. The focal point of the restaurant is the wood burning oven, and the walls are adorned with stylish prints.
We were welcomed by friendly staff and took a table overlooking the heart of Eldon Square. It was interesting to people watch from this vantage point, and I’m sure come the hordes at Christmas Rossopomodoro will be a veritable oasis in the retail craziness that surrounds it.
Presented with the menu, I struggled to make a decision on both mine and Jnr’s behalf for starters. Torn between trying their Polpette (£5.95) or the Bruschette (£5.45), I opted for the latter. Topped with ‘wild mushroom cream, crispy pancetta, garlic, chilli and parsley’, this sounded promising. Being the honest blogger I am I have to admit I was slightly disappointed. The pancetta was not crispy as promised, and there was no detectable chilli topping the homemade bread. It really needed something to ‘pep’ it up, too. Jnr’s choice of Calzoncino (£5.95) – a fried mini Calzone pizza stuffed with basil ricotta and topped with smoked mozzarella and tomato sauce- was far more successful. I imagine these will be very popular at lunch with those who can’t necessarily manage a full pizza without needing a nap.
Their menu boasting an ‘expert pizzaioli from Napoli’ meant we couldn’t visit without trying one of the pizzas cooked in the glorious wood oven. I decided to have the Verduretta (£11.45), which is topped with aubergine, courgette and peppers. The sweetness of the peppers was well balanced against the slight charring on the crust of the pizza (allowed to rise for 24 hours) and seared courgettes. As stated on their menu, the centre of the pizza was soft and easy to eat, even with a side order of their delicious Patatina (£3.95). The skin on these wedges was crispy, and the truffle mayo that was served alongside was delicious. Will definitely try and replicate that at home! I will point out I’d initially ordered the fried Polenta, but this was disappointingly not available. We’ll have to return to see how it fares against those available in Jamie’s Italian.
Jnr had hoped for a Lasagna, but settled for the Pappardella (£10.95) when he discovered this wasn’t on the menu. The ragu had a definite red wine tang to it and clearly had been slow cooked to develop the flavours. A thumbs up from us both.
There was only room for one dessert to share, and we agreed on the Calda Calda (£5.95). This sweet fried pizza dough is dusted with vanilla sugar, and is a lot like a doughnut in appearance and taste. The addition of Nutella made this the perfect dessert for sweet tooths like us, although a scoop of ice cream may have elevated this Dolci from great to fantastic.
I wandered down to examine the chiller and spotted possibly the prettiest pudding I’ve seen in a chain restaurant. I had to take a photo of their Delizia al Limone (£7.95) to share with you. While we were eating some students came in for coffee and cake, and ordered one of these cream topped lemon sponges. The cameras were out and the appropriate yummy noises were made, so I presume it got their seal of approval! I will return with more space in the tummy to try one.
Having only been open a week some teething problems are to be expected. Service is still bedding in, although I found staff to be attentive and friendly. There were a few minor quibbles, but on the whole Jnr and I enjoyed our meal at Rossopomodoro. Take-away can be arranged by Deliveroo, and dietary requirements such as gluten free can be accommodated. I’d say they offer one of the better pizza options in the city centre, and I’d imagine they will experience high demand when more people become aware of their existence.
Thanks for reading,
We were invited to review Rossopomodoro and our meal was paid for, but the opinions expressed are our own.