“ The Quayside / Newcastle-upon-Tyne / NE1 3DX / Tel: 0191 2602291. „
The location of the restaurant is probably the main attraction its right on the Newcastle Quayside overlooking the Tyne and Millennium Bridge.
I had been to the restaurant about four times but had a really bad experience with the restaurant and have never been back since.
I had been previously and the food was simply ok. The menu is typical Italian priced averagely (£8 for pasta/ pizza £12 for a meat dish) . I have always been as a couple and the service was average to slow. Drinks are on the expensive side ad you will be looking at £3 a pint or £4.00 for a small glass of house white wine.
I went as a group of 15 and the experience was awful. It was a Friday night but the restaurant was not really busy as we arrived at 5.30pm. Did not leave the restaurant until 10pm. Although we had pre ordered our orders were lost and it took an hour for each course to arrive
The staff are extremely slow and it took over 45 minutes to get the bill with many requests for the bill. When it came they had over charged the group by £200 and were very reluctant to accept their mistake. It took a lot of persistence and threatening not to pay at all before the issue was resolved and we got an apology. If you want to go as a big group I would say go elsewhere (Piccolino's is just round the corner and caters well for large groups) as this restaurant just cant cope!!
Situated on Newcastle's quayside, opposite Pitcher and Piano, this is one of a chain of restaurants, all by the same name, and presumably, all providing the same food.
Handy for people working in Newcastle, because it is close to the city centre, and is a known name, so you consequentlky know what you are going to get. I can never work out if this is a major advantage or disadvantage.
However, it's one of those places we tend to eat in when there is a group of us, and especially if it's mid week, because parking round here is plentiful (one of the multi storey car parks has designated spaces although you still have to pay), and also because if people are not from Newcastle, it's an easy one to find.
The restaurant is in a pedestrian only zone, close to Mal maison and Pitcher and Piano; for anyone comeing to Newcastle, these are well known "landmarks". The restaurant itself is situated up a few lightly sloping steps, witha big abstract sculpture outside. In the summer months, there are chrome tables and chairs outside, and this area does get busy because it's a pleasant place to sit and watch the world and the river go by, although it is a bit obscured by buildings!
The entrance of the restaurant is very modern, with est est est in chrome, and large windows. Once inside the modern theme is continued- all chrome and wooden tables, with wooden floors and black leather seats. It did go through a phase when they had paper table cloths and gave customers crayons with which to doodle, and I used to really enjoy that. However, now, it's normal table cloths!
There is a curved bar with high stools at the far end, and in the middle of the room, curved stairs leading to the upstairs restaurant and the toilets- word of warning, walk in the middle if wearing a skirt- very easy to check out underwear!
There are a selection of tables of different sizes, with the tables around the edges of the room having comfy padded seats, almost like sofas, so if there are a few of us, we try to get these tables. The tables are doted about quite randomly, so you don't get the feeling that you are completely regimented.
There are several menus, these being the normal evening menu, lunchtime menu, a "sharing" menu and children's menu. It comes as no big surprise to find out, that out now is the Christmas menu!
the menus are quite extensive and there should be something for everyone.
Little Miss always orders from the children's menu,as it has a selection of pastas from £3.50, and she has had the pizza which is £5.95, including a dessert and a chef's hat. This is a good option because children get to arrange their own toppings then hand it to the chef to cook. One of the good things about the children's menu is that the food is quite "grown up", wioth starters including calamari fritti and ham and melon; children feel they are eating the same as adults. A thing to remember is that last orders for the children's menu is 6pm and is for children up to the age of 10.
For adults (or people over 10), the menu includes a selection of nibbles to share, and starters priced from £3.50 for the soup of the day. I like the crostini al funghi which is basically caramelised red onions and flat mushrooms on toasted ciabatta- delicious start to a meal if you like mushrooms.
There are plenty of salads to chose from, although being gluttons, we tend to by pass this, and move on to the next course. Obviously, there are pasta and pizza dishes starting at £6.95 for the penne alla arrabbiata and £5.95 for the pizza margherita. The pastas are I think a tad pricey although nicely presented in big bowls, so your food doesn't look all crushed!.
There are sea food dishes and meat dishes, a favourite of mine being the chicken breast, crushed new p[otatoes, vegetables and white cream sauce, costing £11.95.
The meals for sharing are a good option and reminds me of Chinese buffets. These start at £15 a person, with one menu at £22.50 a person, and one at £30 a person (the latter having four courses). These are available for parties of 4 or more, and the whole party has to be eating from the same menu
So, big menu, and planty to chose from.
OTHER BITS OF INFORMATION
website...www.estestest.co.uk. Select a venue for more information
WHAT I THINK
I have been here a few times for a meal, but it's not my first choice for eating out. The food is as exoected from a large chain; quality dependent on who they have cooking that night. the portions are large and the menu is quite extensive. I always tend to prefer smaller restaurants where the chef is someone who usually cooks there because then you know what the quality of the food will be and if you like it, then you know it will be good next time. This place is more "hitty missy"; I have been here on some occasions and had a great meals and at other times been disappointed with soggy pasta.
The service is good though, although there seems to be a high turn over of staff. they do tend to be young and helpful, although try not to ask too many questions about the food.
The whole place is clean and well set out. I would say that it is a good place to go if you like the security of a chain and want something you know, but for a different or intimate dining experience, go elsewhere. as I said, it's easy to find, and a good place for visitors to newcastle, although it is expensive and there are cheaper and better places. However, for a place to visit mid week, with friends, it's usually quite busy, so you won't be sitting in an empty restaurant.
Thanks for reading.