I think by the number of times Cal’s Own has been featured on the blog over the last two weeks you can tell we’re big fans (see mentions here and here for further proof). For this reason my review of the new Jesmond restaurant is going to be a lot shorter than usual, lest I run out of superlatives!
Speaking with Cal about visiting I naturally enquired about what plant based foods Mr. Canny could enjoy if he came along too. Cal told me the new menu featured a Marinara pizza that was vegan friendly. As I jokingly pointed out, he could have knocked this up for any vegan/lactose intolerant person anyway, so suggested he gave vegan cheese a try. He gamely agreed, so I bought extra VBites Cheezly Mozzarella, a block of their Cheddar and took along our Violife Prosociano to see what he create for us while he got an opportunity to work with this new foodstuff.
It was great to see the restaurant finished as last time I was in was just before the Launch event the previous week. Cal and his chef were hard at work in the kitchen and, although it was early doors, there were bums on seats. The interior is light, the furnishings simple but stylish. It’s very similar in feel to Heaton, but dialled up a notch. We sat the table closest to the kitchen to see what the lads were up to.
We started the meal with an off-menu Garlic Bread of sorts and some of the appetisers which feature on the new soft launch menu. The wood fired tomatoes which topped the bread burst open the minute you popped them in your mouth and were delicious. The bread was delicately flavoured with garlic, which meant we weren’t offending anyone the following day with our pungent breath. The olives were firm and nutty, and even I gamely gave them a try.
Jnr’s Doppio Margherita had a deliciously soupy molten centre, which is exactly how a Neapolitan pizza should be. Cal will be adding the Brooklyn style pizzas he’s become famous for at a later date, which I’m sure will please its fans. I never got round to trying out the Bianca at Heaton, so next time round I’ll be opting for that. The pizza was messy to eat but we didn’t use a knife and fork in case we were thrown out of the restaurant 🙂
Mr. Canny’s wholly vegan pizza had the Marinara base, but was topped with each of the fake cheeses. I actually really enjoyed eating this, and found the saltiness of the cheddar especially worked well against the sweet San Marzano tomato sauce. The springy sourdough crust was great dipped in balsamic vinegar, which is way better than the stuff you’d find in a high street chain. Clearly Cal has sourced all the produce he serves up in his restaurants well, down to the condiments on the table.
With the new layout it’s easier to watch Cal at work, crafting the pizzas and cooking them in the Stefano Ferrara oven which was specially shipped over from Naples for the restaurant. The pizzas may be cooked quickly, but the attention to detail still remains.
The menu features a Calzone stuffed with salami, ricotta, tomato sauce and fior di latte. It is stone baked, deep fried and then finished in the wood oven. It looked delicious as it was being put in the oven as we were leaving, and it’s definitely on Jnr’s must-try list. As well as the appetisers I’ve already mentioned, Cal is serving up fries and a side salad to those who have larger appetites alongside the pizzas. As we were sharing the 2 11 inch pizzas between 3 we ordered some fries too, which Jnr demolished.
For those with room for dessert there’s a New York style cheesecake, and the Teen tried out Neapolitan ice cream topped with a bitter chocolate sauce. I was allowed to try the ice cream and you can again tell that Cal has ensured its a good quality offering.
Prices range between £7.95 and £12.95, which is excellent value for such a high quality pizza. I’ll let those whose who are interested in a vegan pizza in on a little secret: Cal still has some of our cheese left! Gluten free pizzas are also available, but you have to give the guys 24 hours notice and there’s a £2.50 surcharge. Unlike Heaton – which was BYOB – Jesmond has a license so there’s wine to accompany your food. More dishes are planned over the upcoming months, which I look forward to sampling.
Judging by the photos I’m sure you now realise why Cal’s Own is in my Top 5 Newcastle Pizzas. Heck, I think they’ve nabbed the top spot with the new restaurant and menu.
Thanks for reading,
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