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Food & Drink Reviews

paradisodec3a.jpg Restaurant review> Paradiso

Newcastle’s wonderful Paradiso have just got themselves a new stone oven and Rosie Marsh couldn’t wait to give it a whirl.

Paradiso is the sort of place you discover through word-of-mouth (or reading about in The Crack) as opposed to accidentally stumbling upon it, as it is set back from the main road (Pilgrim street) in the tiny Market Lane. It nestles cosily beside Popolo and occupies a three-storey old print-works with a bar area, spacious outdoor terrace and an altogether wonderful dining experience. The caffe/bar/restaurant boasts one of the finest Mediterranean menus in Newcastle and, if you haven’t already, it’s time you experienced this hidden gem. The menu, unlike many other Italian eateries close by, offers something for every palate as well as price ranges to suit all budgets. We were here tonight to sample pizza from their newly installed stone oven and from the delicious aroma that hit us upon arrival, we couldn’t wait.

For starters we had a mammoth-sized homemade Italian garlic bread and cheese (£3.50). Now there’s your ordinary garlic bread, and then there’s Paradiso garlic bread which was, as expected, the ultimate food porn.

The main course menu was huge and everything looked appealing. From the richer dishes such as Braised Pork Loin Stuffed with Plums, Sirloin Steak with Chilli and Garlic, Pan Fried Calves Liver and Moroccan Lamb Kofta with Hummus, choice was definitely aplenty. And then there were the lighter options such as Linguine Pasta with Fresh Mussels, Mushroom and Asparagus Risotto and Lentil Casserole with Butternut Squash. There were of course more Italian-inspired choices available such as a huge array of pasta and pizza options as well as a meat, fish and vegetarian menu. For main course I had the Pizza Paradiso (£7.95) which was a thin base topped with mozzarella cheese and rich tomato sauce along with roasted red peppers, goats cheese and sundried tomatoes. What’s not to like about melted cheesy goodness? The base was cooked to perfection with the topping bubbling delectably above. My other half had Pizza Pugliese (£6.95) which was mozzarella with parma ham, rocket and topped with parmesan shavings that made for an incredibly colourful plate featuring all of colours of the Italian flag! I urge everyone to try their speciality stone oven-baked pizzas and at such low prices you really do get spaghetti-long-miles for your money. To accompany our main dishes we had a portion of the fat and chunky home-cooked chips, which we were advised were ‘the best chips in town’ and they definitely lived up to that description, along with a crispy fresh side salad. All of this was washed down with an elegant bottle of pink Pinot Grigio Blush Veneto (£17.95) which was the perfect accompaniment to our meal. To finish it all off, and to combat the cold wind that awaited us outside, we shared a homemade Bailey’s Crème Brulee which was rich and oozing with caramel-goodness. We also had one of the amazing Caffe Lattes (£2.25) picked from a coffee selection that was unsurprisingly grand (they even displayed an impressive artistic bent by drawing a heart-shape in our caffeine creations…)

Paradiso has a wonderful and friendly ambiance and it was fantastic to see one of the three owners, Giuseppe, really getting stuck in and not only playing a charismatic and charming host but also bartender, waiter and cocktail shaker; he made everyone feel special and you truly felt wined and dined.

The restaurant accommodates large parties perfect for the impending Christmas period, along with a mouth-watering seasonal menu (two courses £23.95 and three courses £26.95).

So if you’re looking for somewhere special with a mixture of modern and classic dishes or indeed a place to unwind with a bottle of red and your best friend, then Paradiso is undoubtedly the place to try.

Paradiso, 1 Market Lane, Newcastle. paradiso.co.uk