Thursday, 25 May 2017

Food review | ASK Italian

I'm not usually a huge fan of chain restaurants, especially Italian chain restaurants, as they can lack charm and flavour. However, I heard on the vegan grapevine that ASK Italian had introduced a vegan menu and wanted to check it out. It's so rare to find a restaurant with one option that can be veganised (i.e. a veggie option minus the cheese!) that finding a restaurant that had an entire menu I could choose from sounded like a dream!

I dragged Mr Thirty Something OAP (I'm being kind, he's actually 40!) to the recently opened ASK Italian in Grey's Quarter, Newcastle. We were given a table near the window looking out over what was once 'hippy green' which prompted me to regale my husband with tales from my youth (whatever happened to Kathmandu and where are all the goths?!) Anyway, I digress...

Upon arrival we weren't offered the vegan menu, so after perusing the normal menu for a while I had to ask if they actually had a vegan menu. The menu arrived and I was pleased to see 'breads and nibbles', 'starters', 'sides', 'pizzas' and 'desserts' as well as the obligatory pasta dishes. I was instantly impressed to see that the dessert options weren't both a form of sorbet, as is usually the case.

Whilst waiting we both ordered a glass of their home-made raspberry lemonade, which we had been given a sample of upon arrival. It was deliciously refreshing but for £2.50 I'd have liked a little bit more.

I opted for vegan baked dough balls to start, followed by vegan fettuccine con verdure. The dough balls took 25 minutes to arrive, and the Mr's starter failed to arrive at all. The waiter was very apologetic and when his pepperoni dough balls were placed before him the waiter informed us she would remove the starters from the bill, which was a kind gesture.

The dough balls were really lovely; squishy on the inside and crispy on the outside, just how I like them. The pasta dish was topped with an olive tapernade which when all mixed up gave the dish a wonderfully rich flavour.

Having not eaten any lunch I needed no persuasion to order the blood orange and chocolate tart. Sadly it arrived a little melted from the heat from the pass so it looks slightly lopsided in the photograph, but it tasted divine. The chocolate was rich and decadent, and the base crisp and nutty. Sadly there was very little orange flavour in the tart, save for a couple of orange shavings on top. The raspberry sorbet was delicious and I devoured every single last bit.

After the initial issue with the starter the service was spot on; our waiter was chatty and pleasant, and was as outraged at Shauna being booted off Masterchef as I was! The portions were generous, the food was tasty, the atmosphere was lively, and to top it all off I didn't have to pay a penny as my husband reached for his wallet long before I pretended I was looking for my purse!!

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