Caffe Vivo is an Italian restaurant located on Newcastle’s iconic Quayside. This North East favourite is housed in a former warehouse, boasting brick walls and cast-iron pillars.

Modelled on a traditional Italian restaurant-and-bar, you can expect to find a warm, easy-going and fun atmosphere inside – no frills or fuss – just friendly service, a feel-good buzz and food that’s simple, authentic and cooked with perfect passion.

Here’s a taster of one of our favourite, delicious dishes you might find inside…


Tuscan Braised Venison, Marcarpone/Parmesan Polenta and Wild Mushrooms

Over time this has become the ‘can’t ever take it off the menu’ dish at Caffe Vivo. There is a little work involved in the preparation and braising of the venison but it really is time well spent.


Whole Roe Deer shoulder on the bone cut into 3 pieces (about 1800g)
Bottle Strong red wine
Garlic cloves
240g Onion
4 sticks Celery
Bay leaves
2 sprigs Rosemary
12 Juniper berries
2 tbls Black peppercorns
Cinnamon sticks
2 strips Orange rind
50ml Olive oil
4 tbls Plain flour
1 tbls Tomato paste
200g Piece of pork rind
Chicken stock or water as needed
2 tbls Red currant jelly
Salt and milled white pepper

– Wash and peel the vegetables then cut into small chunks. Crush the garlic cloves.
– Bring the red wine to a boil and ignite with a match to burn off alcohol. Allow to cool.
– Find a deep dish which the venison will fit into snugly and scatter 1/2 of the vegetables, herbs, spices and orange rind. Sit the venison shoulder on top, scatter remaining vegetables and then pour the cooled wine over. The venison should be fully covered, if not, top up with a little water.
– Oil a sheet of baking parchment and lay it directly onto the surface of the liquid. Refrigerate for 3 days, turning the meat each day.
– Lift the meat from the marinade and dry on a clean cloth.
– After 3 days drain marinade through a colander, separating the vegetables from the liquid.
– Bring the liquid to a boil, to solidify impurities then strain through a sieve lined with muslin.
– Heat half of the olive oil in deep roasting pan or a very large casserole.
– Pat the venison dry with kitchen towel and dust with flour. Fry in the hot oil until browned on all sides, then remove and set aside.
– Pour the remaining oil into the pan and slowly fry the vegetables until softened and beginning to caramelise, add the garlic and cook for another 15 minutes, then the tomato paste and cook for a further 5 minutes.
– Sift in 3tbls of flour and stir well. Pour in the wine from the marinade and whisk continuously while it returns to a boil.
– Return the venison to the pan, tuck the piece of pork rind in alongside and if the venison isn’t fully covered, top up with a little chicken stock or water.
– Cover with a tight lid and place in the oven at 125°c and braise gently for 11/2 hours or until fully tender and beginning to fall off the bone. Remove from the oven and allow to cool When cooled, strip the meat from the bones in nice large coarse strands, set aside under a clean cloth.
– Strain the sauce through a fine sieve, discarding the vegetables, spices and the pork rind. Leave sauce to settle for a while before removing any excess fat which may have risen to the surface.
– Return to the heat and simmer to reduce to a coating consistency.
– Season well with milled white pepper and sweeten if necessary with a little red currant jelly.
– Return the meat to the sauce.
– Serve spooned over soft polenta and topped with a generous portion of sautéed wild mushrooms.

250g Mixed wild mushrooms
1 tbls Olive oil
15g Butter
1 tsp Finely chopped shallot
1/2 Garlic clove, finely chopped
Thyme sprig
1/2 tbls Chopped flat leaf parsley
Salt and milled black pepper

– Pick over the mushrooms and trim if necessary. Rinse then pat dry gently on a clean tea towel.
– Heat the olive oil in a large non stick frying pan.
– Add just enough mushrooms to cover the base of the pan in a single layer.
– Fry undisturbed for 2 minutes before seasoning with salt and pepper.
– Turn,then add a little soft butter, a pinch of chopped shallot, garlic and a pinch of thyme leaves.
– Toss in the pan and continue cooking until mushrooms are tender.
– Drain in a colander then return to the pan and add parsley.

For your chance to win a meal for two this evening at Caffe Vivo – on behalf of NE1 Restaurant Week – enter below at the Smooth Radio website: