Saturday 19 December 2009.
Remember that dreadful Saturday night when snow traveling down from Scotland fell as heavy as.. well, snow? Along with some friends, we'd booked a concert at Newcastle City Hall and opted for an early evening meal at Caffé Vivi, on Newcastle's popular Quayside. I have to confess, although we, (my wife and I) are both big fans of Bistro 21 (in Durham) and Cafe 21 (in Newcastle), we'd never heard of Caffé Vivi, another of Terry Laybourne's adventures and probabley Newcastle's most well known restaurateur. It was early doors and the joint was still buzzing (Christmas parties). Caffé Vivi models itself on something Italian, and to be fair, the decor was smart and stylish with a menu that cheered our cold cockles! Throw into the equation a festive menu, and you have two couples in a dilemma. From the festive menu, three of us choose the Roman Suckling Pig, while our companion choose the Veal from the main menu, I seem to remember (the wine was flowing-three bottles one Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and two spicy Italian Reds). My starter was smoked Mozzarella on Rocket which was okay, my wife had the Pumpkin, as did my friend's wife, while he had the Calamari. I was disappointed that the suckling pig wasn't crackling, but I guess that was my mistake rather than the kitchen's. Yet there was something missing and I think it was food! The portions are very small, and I know it's not meant to be fuel, but the servings are on the cute side. My friend's Veal seemed reasonable enough, but when I opted for the cheese as part of the three course menu, I swear it was cut so thin that when I held it to the light I could see my wife through the other side! £170 we coughed up. Okay we had three bottles of wine that must have raised the tab by at least £70, but I still think it's very expensive and living on reputation. Final verdict?... Food, nice but small portions. Service, very good. Price, think a bit expensive. But hey, this is the swanky part of town and after 7.30 on a Saturday night I bet you can't book a seat for love or money!
FOOD 6 SERVICE 9 VALUE 5 REFER 6 TOTAL: 26 GOOD but not GREAT!