Romano Minchella’s Italian restaurant
The Minchella reputation goes before itself in the North East (in part due to Toney Minchella’s award-winning ice-cream) but will Bistro Romano live up to expectations? LardButty takes an appetite and thirst, and finds out…
That Bistro Romano has no website, no online menu and no official presence on the web, yet is hugely popular (with every table taken on this particular evening) despite being located in a village 11 miles from central Newcastle, is indicative of this restaurant’s excellence.
K’s parents had booked a table for four at 7.30pm last Friday. Arriving early, we had a drink at the bar which has a wide range of spirits (I had a Martin Miller gin, K had a Caol Ila smoky malt whisky) before being seated at an appealing large round table in the window.
House wines start from £16 upwards (for a Sicilian dry white, for example) and we homed in on a bottle of Chardonnay reasonably priced at £18 a bottle. There’s an extensive menu (includes locally sourced beef, a variety of fish and seafood dishes and all kinds of pasta, with main courses ranging from £14 for pasta to £22 for steak) as well as a ‘Daily Specials’ list.
For starters I chose goats cheese and butternut parcels (really light flaky pastry packed with goats cheese) and K had a fishcake (made with risotto rice rather than mashed potato). Both were stunning, in presentation and taste.
For main course, I chose sea bass from the Daily Specials list, described as ‘sea bass on a bed of roast Mediterranean vegetables served with crispy potatoes and a spicy tomato sauce’ (the sauce wasn’t at all spicy but was thoroughly tomato-ey and very good) as opposed to the sea bass option on the regular menu which was served with chorizo and crispy roast potatoes instead.
K had baked cod, a substantial fillet that tore into light fish flakes, served with bacon and peas.
The Turkish delight ice-cream was nicely different (if you like the rose water flavours of Turkish delight, which I do) although slightly ruined by what tasted like chocolate sauce from a plastic bottle (not fresh chocolate sauce) while K’s lime and panna cotta cheesecake was again, a little bit different, and a simply divine mix of cheese and lime flavours.
Overall, this is a great restaurant. It may be off the beaten track but by the time we left, every table was full. With exceptionally friendly, helpful service, the atmosphere here is as good as the food and drink. Romano’s is all about the quality.
On another visit to Bistro Romano (to celebrate K’s parents’ ruby wedding, November 2013) K had a daily specials starter of Asian noodles (@ £6.90) – an outstanding blend of South East Asian flavours, utterly gorgeous! and medallions of fillet steak @ £22.90 for main course, while I had smoked haddock fishcake with a poached egg for starter @ £6.90 (sheer perfection) and roast belly pork @ £17.90 with the most perfectly crisp, thin piece of crackling.
It was a Saturday evening; every table in the restaurant was taken. And everything was excellent for our party of eleven – all plates were served at the same time (immaculately), service was really friendly and efficient, and the food was stunning.
After several visits (where everything’s been excellent) the Lardbutty rating for Romano’s goes up to a top-ranking 5 out of 5.
~ Lardbutty rating: 5 / 5
~ Type: Italian, British
~ Address: 63 Front Street, Cleadon Village
~ Postcode: SR6 7PG
~ Tel: 0191 519 1747
~ Website + menus: N/A
~ Bistro Romano photos on flickr
~ Location: Bistro Romano map
~ Minchella’s: Toney Minchella’s ice-cream
Filed under: British, International, Italian, LardButty food / restaurant reviews Tagged: | 5 / 5, 5/5, Bistro Romano, Boldon, Caol Ila, Cleadon, Cleadon Village, Front Street, Italian, Italian restaurant, Lardbutty, Martin Miller, Minchella, Minchella's, Minchella's ice-cream, Newcastle, North East England, Romano Minchella, Romano's, South Shields, SR6 7PG, Toney Minchella, Toney Minchella's