According to the creator of the world's best Neapolitan pizza, an authentic Neapolitan pizza needs high quality dough that has been stretched by hand, San Marzano tomatoes and DOP approved mozzarella. Neapolitan pizzas should then be cooked using a pizza stone and finished using extra virgin olive oil and basil. This really isn't something that can easily be achieved at home by amateur cooks like ourselves so when we were invited along to Rossopomodoro with the kids after school this week, we were excited to experience a real taste of Napoli. We are already fans of the Neapolitan pizza with a Brooklyn twist available from Cals Own however have yet to find anywhere that serves decent pizza in Newcastle city centre. Our hopes were high.
Located on the first floor amongst the ladies wear in John Lewis, Rossopomodoro was easy to find and we were warmly welcomed. We had brought the kids straight from school and of course they all needed the loo - it is a little odd that you need to leave the restaurant and walk through the children's wear and toy department if you need to spend a penny. Not a massive inconvenience but this also makes me think this wouldn't be my first restaurant of choice if we were potty training with toddlers either. Settled back in our seats, we loved the view spying on shoppers over Eldon Square and the beautiful pizza oven standing proudly in the heart of the restaurant was certainly a talking point.
To start, Steve ordered calamari which was served with a beautiful lemon dressing where as I wasn't too peckish so started with a bread basket which I shared with the children. It didn't touch the sides! What is it with kids and bread?
The service we received was a little strange if I'm honest - the staff were either nervous or didn't seem to know their own menu. Our server repeated back our order and then asked us to locate and point to every single item on the menu which was odd and not something we are used to doing. Our server also recommended bringing our food out together which we agreed would be perfect. This is common practice in restaurants now and we prefer it when our children's food is brought with our starters. However at Rossopomodoro they literally brought everything out at the same time - from bread to starter and mains. We had to send Steve's main back whilst he enjoyed his calamari. I also found it strange that the children had to order their desserts with their mains (again not normal practice) and the staff seemed overly keen to take our orders - I didn't have a chance to read the menu when they took our order for both our mains and then desserts and had to ask for more time. I hope these are just teething problems and hopefully with a little practice service will be a little more slick.
I ordered a margherita pizza - call me boring but they are my favourite! This version was definitely one of the best I've had. The pizza sauce in particular was delicious. All ingredients are sourced from the Napoli region and it certainly shows. At £7.95 my pizza was even finished with extra virgin olive oil and basil - definitely an authentic experience and all for the same price of nearby pizza express.
Steve enjoyed his Pescatora pasta - clams, mussels, octopus, cuttlefish, wine and tomato sauce. It was fresh and flavoursome with a little sauce left over to be mopped up with bread.
The children's menu is very good with two courses and a drink for £7. There is a 12.5% optional service charge which is automatically added though so really it is nearer £8. The boys ordered pizzas which were just as authentic as mine and a good size too. They both really enjoyed them although Jack made me remove the 'leaves' from his first! LOL!
Heidi went for the Penne Pasta with tomato sauce which again, she loved and wolfed it all down. The portion was a good size and I was amazed that all the kids had room for dessert! They must have had PE at school that day or something!
For dessert, children can choose from either ice cream or Caldina - a sweet fried pizza dough with vanilla sugar and Nutella. All three went for the latter - a delicious if rather messy treat which they all loved. Top tip - as you need to walk through clothing departments (and past the party dresses in Coast) to get to the loo's and wash their hands, I would highly recommend packing some wet wipes!
I went for the Delizia al Limone after admiring the beautiful photograph of this dessert over on Cloud in a teacup. It was sweet, lemony and light and definitely beautifully presented. I am not sure I would pay £7.95 (well it's actually £9 if you include the optional service charge that's added to your bill) for it though and think in general the desserts are quite overpriced.
Steve ordered the Riccota e Cioccolato - a deliciously creamy ricotta mousse with hazlenut biscuits and fruits. Again lovely but not really worth an additional £7 in our opinion.
Overall verdict - we LOVED the pizzas and pastas and think the children's menu was excellent value. Despite a few hiccups with the service we would definitely visit again if we were shopping in Newcastle with the kids. The pizza is genuinely the nicest I have tried in the city centre however next time I will probably stick to a main course and coffee.