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Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Caffe Vivo - A true Italian experience

Caffe Vivo* has been on my list of restaurant's to visit for a long, long time. I have only ever heard rave reviews. So when I was planning an evening catch up with my mum we decided this would be our chance to visit. Caffe Vivo's website describes their bar-come-restaurant as a place with no frills, no fuss, just friendly service and a good time buzz and sounded like the perfect place for a mother-daughter catch up!

Caffe Vivo is located on Newcastle Quayside on Broad Chare amongst good company - next door is the live theatre (which I am dying to try) and The Broad Chare pub which has just been awarded a michelin gourmand for the third year in the row. The whole area was buzzing with activity which is so lovely to see on a dreary Tuesday evening - I really do think the Quayside is now making a proper comeback as a go-to destination in Newcastle.

We were welcomed like friends and asked where we would like to sit - no formal table plans here, the atmosphere really is laid back and relaxed. We ordered our drinks and browsed the menus.

Caffe Vivo is not like a normal italian restaurant where you can order potato skins and a pizza for less than £10. Caffe Vivo is different and serves authentic, bold Italian dishes that are true to their ingredients and are more like what you would expect to find cooked at home in Italian kitchen's.

There menu is seasonal and very refreshing and featured some ingredients I had never heard of before. Our server was happy to answer our questions and guide us. On an evening you can choose from a la carte, daily specials which featured some fantastic seafood options including whole sole and grey mullet or fixed priced which at £19.50 for 3 courses is amazing value.

After much deliberation, I ordered my go-to starter of calamari with arrabbiata sauce and my mum ordered the field mushroom fritters with buffalo mozzarella, basil and pine nuts. Both dishes tasted fresh and simple and it is true that they let the ingredients speak for themselves.

For our main course I ordered the lamb chops with a side of chilli fries. I was asked if it was ok that they were served pink and I'm pleased I did as these lamb chops were cooked to perfection and were so juicy and full of flavour. The lamb was left to shine as the star of the dish which is how it should be. When I next visit Caffe Vivo, it is going to be very hard for me to try something else on the menu as I just know I'll be tempted to order these again (the fries were extremely moorish too).

My mum ordered her favourite Italian dish - lasagne. It was a huge portion (but she still managed it!) and was served with a lovely leafy side salad. It wasn't sloppy as some lasagne's can be but full of flavour and definitely one of the best lasagne's my mum has tasted.

We were so full of amazing food at this point and were glad of a little rest while we browsed the dessert menu. I decided to go for a hot chocolate souffle with orange sorbet and my mum ordered a plum crumble with custard. Both desserts were the perfect end to our meal.

Caffe Vivo is owned by Terry Laybourne of Cafe 21 fame and he certainly knows his food. We loved how the menu featured regionally sourced, quality ingredients that were cooked simply and well. The team at Caffe Vivo really looked after us well and the atmosphere is so relaxed you feel as if you could almost be sitting in a friend's house. 

Children are welcome and we are planning a visit over lunch soon to try their lunch menu which I bet will be just as stunning as their evening menu's. How fab does a panini with parmesan-crusted chicken fillet with tomatoes and basil for only £5.80 sound! Children's menus are also available and I will let you know what I think when we visit next. 

Make sure you visit Caffe Vivo's website  and sign up to their mailing list to keep up to date with new menu's and special offers. They are currently offering a massive 50% off your food bill on a Monday (must include a main course) until 27th October with this voucher which is an offer too good to miss. 

You can follow Caffe Vivo on twitter here:-

Thank you to the whole team at Caffe Vivo for a wonderful fuss-free evening. I can't wait to visit again soon.


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