Gino D'Acampo Restaurant, Hull
Graham Clark, Features Writer
It's a sunny day and we could have been in southern Italy, not Hull and it certainly feels like the dolce vita. Our fellow diners are a mix of families and couples and the relaxed atmosphere feels just right.
I have visited Gino's restaurants previously in Leeds (not very good) and Harrogate (good) but I have to say that this new restaurant, opened only a few weeks ago in Hull is the best, if not one of the best Italian themed restaurants I have been to.
Normally the restaurants are located in a city centre - the Hull one is on a retail park, or a parco commerciale, if you want to get all Italian. Situated next to a fashion retailer, the Hull restaurant is somewhere that you would have to drive out to - its worth getting in the car and driving there.
Having an open air terrace is a huge bonus, employing Italian staff who clearly enjoy their work is a huge plus too. One of them told me that he preferred it up here in the north because when he worked in Bristol they were not as friendly down there, but of course, we knew that already.
Our party ranged in age from 25 to 90 years old so it was good to get some impressions from all ages. The informative staff knew the menu and where everything came from so much so I thought about asking them about a forthcoming visit to Sicily!
The starter of Garlic Bread with Buffalo Mozzarella and Fontana Cheese had a melt in your mouth texture to it, with Gino's extra virgin olive oil you could taste the difference between ordinary olive oil.
Even the music playing at this point was pleasurable with the likes of George Benson and Toto playing. If they want to get a real Italian vibe going I would suggest Marco Biondi, a soulful Italian singer with a voice as smooth as Barry White.
The 90 year old in our party went for the Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad - with fresh crunchy lettuce and copious amounts of chunks of chicken. It was described as "the best Caesar Salad I've had" - and she has had more than a few eaten from Turin to Taranto.
The younger member of our party went for the grilled swordfish served with lemon and fresh herbs, priced at £17.75 the verdict was that it was excellent.
My partner thought her Herby Veal Meatballs priced at £12.75 were very moreish. Plenty of sauce too that looked tremendously appetising.
In the past some of the pizzas I have chosen at Gino's have had all sorts of ingredients, some of which I have never seen served on a pizza in Italy, so I thought that with a classic Margherita you cannot go wrong: if they can't get the basic standard pizza right then there is no hope. Thankfully it was just like eating a pizza served in a pizzeria in Italy where all the locals go. Priced at £9.75 for me, it was the best part of the meal.
Desserts were mixed though, our 90 year old thought her Tiramisu tasted like it was made in Italy. My partner's Apple and Almond Tart tasted too much of the almonds and not enough of the apples.
I chose 3 ice creams from the Sundae bar: vanilla, mango and vanilla yoghurt and the Pistachio. To be honest I couldn't taste much difference between the three. Not enough gusto for my liking.
The coffee however was as you would expect: robust and with a strong kick.
There is a lunch and early evening menu from 12 noon to 6pm every day: 1 course is £12, 2 courses are £17 and 3 courses are £21.00.
They appear to have got it right at this restaurant and it is one that I would return to again without hesitation. If you visit on a warm sunny day the outside terrace is a must. Motto benne.
Gino D'Acampo Restaurant, Kingston Retail Park, Althorp Road, Hull HU17 3DA
Telephone 01482 820666
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Gino D'Acampo Restaurant, Hull, 26th May 2018, 22:26 PM