How to do a foodie 'Date Night' on a budget
Updated: Aug 6, 2020
So, my husband and I have this fun thing. Nearly 12 years married we are embracing the 'date night' not because our life has lost its sparkle but because life is just too fast...so we are making an effort to get away from 'normality' once a week or once a month to keep that spark alive in amongst the chaos of daily busyness.
The idea is to explore eateries we've not tried before so between the two of us we are choosing places from a number of sources namingly local offers and deal websites. So far some have been just okay, and others have been great!
I've often wondered and worried slightly about how local businesses survive with these deal sites, the knock down prices then their own commission. Admittedly there is some guilt in using them. Recently we've used www.wowcher.co.uk and www.groupon.co.uk
So, this week just before airport drop off for hubby we managed to get booked into Piccolino, right opposite the Grade A office space at One Trinity Gardens. I'd walked past a number of times, I'd always been of the impression it was really for business diners and in this city where there are lots of Italian restaurants…this one was a little pricier than most...I couldn't have been more wrong.
Piccolino is a very attractive premises with covered outside terrace of course for the Mediterranean weather we get here...ok perhaps not, anyway our voucher for £10 entitled us to a pizza or pasta from a limited list each.
This was 4:45pm on a Wednesday evening. As we arrived I noticed the decor was simple and classy, with an open kitchen and pizza oven to the rear of the restaurant and trendy vintage bulb lighting throughout. We approached the reception with its wine rack wall, greeted by a very Italian Fernández casually dressed in a smart blue shirt and denim jeans, Fernández as it turned out was the General Manager.
Sometimes I find with these voucher schemes that restaurants treat you let's say ‘differently’ to a full paying guest, not here. We were given a wonderful welcome and a chance to peruse all the menus not just our #wowcher offer. We were also given what I'll call the #winewednesday menu. Fernández explained on a Wednesday certain more expensive vintages were offered at up to 75% off the regular list price. We chose the £15 white from near Tuscany, at this point we also met our very knowledgeable waiter who spent time talking to us about the offer and the wine we had chosen.
On choosing our menu choices our wine arrived shortly after, served ice cold in an attractive floor standing ice bucket. Each time our glass was empty our waiter would be on hand to top it up, this was all too easy, this wine was special. With its straw like colour and not being a fan of Chardonnay I was initially apprehensive, but it couldn't have been less like Chardonnay. This was ultra-smooth and elegantly balanced, not your everyday wine. Normally this wine retails for £34. A bargain for its £15 wine Wednesday price tag and just so you know you can make even bigger savings as the price goes up...a £64 bottle for just £25.
Our food arrived after we'd devoured a half and half cheese and tomato garlic pizza with the crusts dipped up in a rich balsamic and olive oil, rich tomato topping and cheesy garlic bread with Pecorino cheese, a very nice and flavoursome change from mozzarella.
I'm always the one to have #foodenvy on our adventures even though my pizza was absolutely delicious with fresh basil, chicken and Grana Padano cheese I could not help but keep pinching the #Carbonara opposite despite my husband’s protests. Crispy Pancetta, just enough sauce to coat the #aldente pasta plus a beautiful poached egg sitting on top which when cut open the yolk oozed out onto the pasta. This was #pastaperfection!
Feeling fully satisfied and looked after we had to dash for the airport taxi, a shame because those desserts were calling my name...
So, going back to Wowcher, what a treat I'd have missed if we'd not done our #datenight and not been tempted at Piccolino. They truly understood service, understood Italian food and certainly they understood wine. This time Wowcher won them a repeat customer...worth the initial low profit margins, I think I might have found the #bestitalian in town!
Thanks, Piccolino and Ciao for now, I'll be back for my own Carbonara in a couple of weeks!
Is it time you visited? http://individualrestaurants.com/piccolino-old/newcastle/
About me: Caroline is a writer for #thejarvisjotter and offers writing services including blogs, articles, content, reviews and much more. Check out www.thejarvisjotter.co.uk for more information or follow @thejarvisjotter for future articles.
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