Newest Review: ... sat us at a nice table by the window, which was thankfully right next to the heater as it was a very cold February night. On Mondays it'... more
Like Eating in a Bizarre United Nations
Bellini Restaurant (Rowlands Gill)
Member Name: charby
Bellini Restaurant (Rowlands Gill)
Advantages: Excellent food, great value, interesting and good atmosphere, flags?
Disadvantages: Probably not to everyone's tastes, as it is a bit odd in there
While I was at home for a few days my parents decided that it would be nice to go out for tea one night. While we have a massive choice of good restaurants in Newcastle only a fifteen minute drive away, we decided to go back to a place which we used to frequent when I was still living at home fulltime: Bellini's in Rowlands Gill. I won't tell you exactly where I live to avoid stalkers or anything, but I live within about 3 miles of the place so it's always been a convenient place to go to, and since it's usually been so good we've always been happy to keep going.
Being situated in the main part of Rowlands Gill (opposite Tesco if you know the place at all) it's fairly easy to get to Bellini's and although parking outside is fairly limited you can usually get parked at the library a minute or so walk away. As it was a Monday night we didn't bother booking a table as it's always pretty quiet during the week, and so we were unsurprised to find only one other table occupied when we came in. The waiter/manager/probably Bellini himself sat us at a nice table by the window, which was thankfully right next to the heater as it was a very cold February night.
On Mondays it's happy hour all night, and so we were given a Happy Hour menu with our main menu. As we all knew what we wanted before we came in (spaghetti carbonara and calzone, as they're amazing at Bellini's), we were happy that these were on the cheap menu. The Happy Hour menu also had a wider range of pizzas and pastas, and everything on it cost around £5.50. We also had a litre bottle of house red wine between us, which is much better in my view than a normal sized bottle between three people.
The food was excellent as always and the portion sizes generous, and though my parents and I had no trouble finishing our meals it may be too much for some people. We waited a while and then ordered dessert: a hot chocolate fudge cake with ice cream for me, and a tiramisu each for my parents. My cake was excellent in every way, and the tiramisu was nice but my mam said that hers was still a bit frozen in the middle. We then finished the meal with three espressos, which were very good and came quickly.
Although the food is always excellent, I would have to say that my favourite part of eating at Bellini's is the restaurant itself. The decor is bizarre to say the least, with giant flags of the world hanging down from the ceiling. My favourite has to be the flag of the Confederate States of America, mainly because it is the most random of the lot, though I also love that there is a Welsh flag though no English flag or Union Jack. There's also a small poster near the kitchen with pictures of flags on it. I also love the music played at Bellini's, which ranges mainly from things like Frank Sinatra to fast Italian music, which really adds a bizarre flavour to the place. My favourite song which came on when we went was the one that goes 'how do you like your eggs in the morning? I like mine with a kiss'. When that song came on I stopped, listened and looked at the flags, and just had to laugh because it was all so fantastic. The fact that Bellini (?) himself is so lovely and friendly accompanied with the unusual surroundings really gives the restaurant a unique and fabulous atmosphere which I really love.
We had an excellent night at Bellini's, and although my parents say that it's not as good as Cafe Vivo in town which they had been to recently, I still think that their carbonara and calzones are unrivalled anywhere else that I've had them. For £44 for two courses, a litre of wine and espresso for three people, it's a fair bargain too! It was fairly quiet as it was a Monday night, but the restaurant is small enough (I reckon there's 15 tables or so) for it to feel comfortably quiet rather than lonely and awkward as it can in some larger restaurants.
If you live or find yourself in the Newcastle/Gateshead/Northern County Durham area I would recommend popping into Bellini's for an interesting Italian experience. Unless you know the area well you'll probably have to use a GPS or Google Maps to find it, but although it's around 8 miles away from Newcastle city centre it's not too difficult to find and as soon as you pass the Metro centre you essentially only have to follow one road for about ten minutes without turning off to find it. Send me a message to let me know if you go, and tell me what your favourite flag was too!
Summary: A great little Italian restaurant close to home