I’m a Gateshead lass born and bred, but when it comes to food I’ve always ventured over the water to the Toon for food. I have a fairly decent gastropub close to where I live, but I spent my teens in there and have grown bored of it.
I’ve talked lots recently at work about food and a colleague recommended I ventured through to Washington and try out some venues there. His personal favourite is an Italian café/restaurant called Cellini’s, and he waxed lyrical about their cheesecake and sea bass. I’ll admit I was sceptical, especially when he told me it was only £13 for 3 courses. If something is too good to be true it usually is! As we’re trying to economise I suggested me and Him Indoors gave it a try to see what the fuss was about anyway.
There was no problem finding the restaurant and there’s plentiful parking. It’s located not far from Washington Old Hall, and there are lots of country style pubs surrounding it. The entrance is situated at the side of the building, and the kitchen serving hatch is right there as you walk through the door. Him Indoors genuinely thought we’d gone in the wrong way because of this!
The restaurant was very busy, even though we arrived at 5:45 on a Saturday night. Lesson learned about booking ahead to avoid disappointment. We were accommodated in the downstairs cafe area but told that the table was needed back by 7:10. We didn’t see an issue with that, and duly plonked ourselves down to peruse the menu.
Having stalked their Facebook page over the last week I’d already decided on my dessert, but was still unsure on the main I wanted. My colleague had spoken highly of the Crostini di Granchi followed by the Sea Bass gnocchi, so as a fish fan this was a no-brainer for Him Indoors. I chose the baked Goats Cheese for starters, and the Chicken Breast for Secondi.
The cheese was a really good choice. The saltiness was balanced well by a sweet tomato and onion compote and jammy balsamic reduction. The Crostini also got a thumbs up from Raf. So far, so good. I was starting to feel bad for questioning how good a restaurant could be based on its location. We’d polished off our starters by 6:10, and were feeling confident we’d be out the door by 7.
The mains arrived and I liked the presentation. I was also pleased it was served on a warm plate. The triple cooked chips which came with my chicken were more like doorstops in size, but they were so good. I had to share some with Raf because I couldn’t finish them all off 🙂 My only quibble was the amount of spinach I had. If the menu says Pollo e Spinaci I would expect more than 3 leaves of the stuff. I actually like it! There was a definite imbalance between the amount of spinach and rocket, so feel the rocket should have had the top billing instead. The peppercorn sauce wasn’t like any peppercorn sauce I’d previously encountered, and was reminiscent of the gravy you sometimes get from a Chinese takeaway. I think this was because it was salty, but I didn’t view it as a negative. The chicken was moist, had a nice seasoning and the portion was huge.
Raf’s Sea Bass had a lovely crispy skin and was cooked well. The gnocchi wasn’t bland or flavourless, as it sometimes can be. It was al dente and buttery, with a hit of garlic. He tried to get me to eat some of the fish and I ate a little. I’m taking small steps to be less fussy!
We didn’t take long to polish off the food, but there was a bit of a wait before we were able to order dessert due to how busy they were. It put me under pressure as the clock ticked towards 7 as I didn’t want to be the reason why a family had to wait outside for their table. We agreed we’d order one dessert to share and take the other home for Jnr for quickness.
We had the Warm Chocolate Fudge Cake with ice cream to share, but the photo quality was poor. We took the Chocolate and Marshmallow Cheesecake home, and Jnr said it was amazing. They rotate the cheesecakes on offer, and I’ve seen a particularly delicious looking Nutella & Peanut Butter swirl affair I want to try. Their Twitter and Facebook feeds are worth following for the food pictures alone 🙂
We were finished by the 7:10 deadline, so relief all round. I ventured upstairs to take a look around. The decor is in need of some TLC, especially the worn carpets on the stairs, but it wouldn’t deter me from visiting again. In fact I told the lovely lady who served us we’d be back soon.
The moral of the tale for me was to not dismiss restaurants based on location. We saw some nice places as we drove through and it appears Washington Village is experiencing a culinary revival. Look out for future blogs from the area!
Thanks for reading,