There’s been a wee bit of a buzz about Newcastle newcomer Zucchini since it
opened a few month ago. Normally, I’m not one to give into blogger hype,
despite being one myself. I tend to rely on word of mouth, or simple
proximity to where I am, at the moment hunger strikes. For Zucchini, I had
to make an exception as it just looked too good to ignore.
I dragged Kris for a blustery walk into Newcastle after work one Saturday,
with the lure of all the pasta he could eat and if he was good, a cake and beer
too. Zucchini is located on the 55° North roundabout, tucked away from
the hustle and bustle of Newcastle City Centre.
The restaurant has a wonderful chilled-out vibe. Minimal decor with clean open spaces gives Zucchini a total relaxed atmosphere. I could very easily see me whiling away a couple of hours with a selection of nibbles and a chilled bottle of wine without a care in the world. It’s been a long while since I dined alone but I could absolutely see myself feeling very comfortable as a solitary diner here.
We started out with a few sides, a beer and a glass of white wine. In my humble opinion every meal should be accompanied by some sort of bread and oil, and this sourdough was just the ticket. The thick, chewy crust was a thing of wonder. I would have liked a trickle of balsamic but that’s just me being a bit finnicky. I chose the Grissini n’duja with creamy Gorgonzola, I mean do I even need to say anything more?! I have the biggest soft spot for n’duja and if I see it on any menu, I just have to order it. Many times I’ve been disappointed by my choice, faced with either low quality or chilli flakes masquerading as nduja (I’m looking at you, Zizzi) but not today. Look at that hunk of sexy, spicy sausage hiding under the crisp grissini. I was on cloud nine! The best part about it, the sides were all a mere £2 each. I’m kicking myself for not ordering more.
On to the star of the show, the fresh pasta; which is made and hand rolled on site, may I add. I went for the Pappardelle Amatriciana (Guanciale, tomato, white wine & pecorino) which was delicious. The pasta was perfect, with just the right amount of bite. The chunks of Guanciale hidden within the folds of pasta made a wonderful change from the usual piggy suspect, pancetta.
Kris chose the simple Tagliatelle Cioa E Pepe (parmesan, pecorino & black pepper). It was rich, creamy and deliciously decadent. I love pepper and it really was the star of this dish, adding a slight heated punch to every bite.
Despite being absolutely fit to burst, I just couldn’t turn down a desert. At just £3 a pop, I’d be daft not to indulge. I’ve heard amazing things about their Tiramisu, but sadly it sits right atop my most hated sweets list, so that was out of the question. Instead I opted for the chocolate mint truffles which came with a cute little hairpiece, which upon closer inspection turned out to be a chocolate mint candy floss. What a neat little addition.
All in, our bill came to £22.80. I simply cannot believe the amazing value that Zucchini is knocking out. If you consider that only a few days previous I was in Unos (out of necessity, I was on the quayside and hungry for pasta) and paid £25 for two bowls of pasta and two Pepsis. Needless to say, I’ll be back to Zucchini, time and time again. Mine’s a white wine and a chunk of n’duja, if you please.
Newcastle Upon Tyne