Chatting to Gino feels like catching up with an old friend, which, having never met him in person, is quite a surreal experience.
But his warm, welcoming nature is clearly something that shines through in everything he does – whether it be on the TV, in his recipe books or experiencing his restaurants.
The latter being the reason for our chat. With decor as refreshing as the man himself – and a menu that guides us through his love of his home country – every diner can get a real sense of who he is, and that’s how chefs really hit the nail on the head when it comes to building a successful restaurant empire in their own name.
Everything about Gino D’Acampo Quayside reflects the soul and character of Italy’s many different regions. Pair that with North East hospitality and a sparkling spot by the River Tyne, and you’ve got the perfect tonic for truly indulgent, Mediterrenean-style dining.
EF: It’s great to see you opening a restaurant in Newcastle. What do you think of the new location at INNSiDE?
GD: I am so pleased to open my new restaurant, Gino D’Acampo Quayside, here in Newcastle. The location is amazing, with floor-to-ceiling windows that let the natural light flood into the beautiful restaurant and a huge contemporary terrace overlooking
the iconic River Tyne.
It’s a real mood booster, and an amazing place to hang out day and night. I encourage everyone to experience it.
EF: What do you love most about Newcastle, and have you had the chance to visit the new venue?
GD: It’s a super cool city – you’ve got everything going on here. Great nightlife, great art, and of course, great people. The people here are cool, they know how to have a good time and I like that.
I’ve been fortunate to visit Newcastle a number of times both with my book tours and looking at potential new restaurants. The pandemic has sadly meant that I’ve not been able to visit these last 15 months, but my team has, when permitted, been video-calling me every day; and so, whilst I’ve not been able to be in Newcastle in person, I have been in virtual spirit.
It’s something I plan to put right now that things are starting to ease a little. I cannot wait to join everyone at the Quayside
restaurant. I hope I will see you when I do.
EF: What values do you share with INNSiDE?
GD: I’m super excited to be working with the INNSiDE by Meliá team. After many years talking to Meliá about a partnership, it’s amazing to have made it a reality and to have opened the doors to my Quayside restaurant.
The one thing I ask of all of my team is commitment; a commitment to delivering the very best guest experience possible.
It’s a value the team at INNSiDE by Meliá absolutely share, and I couldn’t be more pleased to work together.
EF: We love how personalised your menu is – we felt like we were having a chat with you while reading about each dish. How did you go about pulling it all together?
GD: Grazie, I appreciate that. The menu is really important to me and my brilliant team. We design restaurants for people, not Michelin stars.
The menu is inspired by a number of things – my travels, authentic Italian dishes I enjoyed when growing up, and most of all, amazing ingredients.
Food should be simple, colourful and accessible to all. In my restaurants we try to give the dishes a soul. I’m happy that you feel that.
EF: Do you pick up your inspiration from travelling, or does a lot of it come from your family and childhood?
GD: Filming means I spend a lot of time travelling and it is a great source of inspiration. However, many of my favourite dishes are those learnt as a small boy and enjoyed with my own family.
The recipe for my lasagne is one that has been handed down in the D’Acampo family for many generations. I call it ‘Lasagne di Mamma’ because my mother taught it to my sister and me when we were about 11 years old. It’s a great tradition that my wife will pass on to our own children.
EF: Your go-to summer dish?
GD: I like anything to do with pasta. It’s simple, it’s versatile and it’s tasty. I encourage everyone to try our new summer menu. I think you’ll love it.
EF: And your ideal drinks pairing?
GD: It’s no secret that I love a classic Italian negroni, that is my ‘go-to’ drink. When I’m back home in Italy I love visiting cool bars for an aperitivo, a traditional Italian pre-dinner drink with friends. I love it.
It’s a big part of Italian culture and one I’m really pleased to share with the people of Newcastle every afternoon at my Quayside restaurant.
I invite everyone to come down between 4pm and 6pm and enjoy complimentary cicchetti (typical Italian nibbles) on me and my amazing team.
You have to try my Vino D’Acampo wine too, it’s seriously good!
EF: How are you spending your time this summer?
GD: I have a super busy schedule this summer, with some exciting plans in development. I’ll be making time to return
to Italy too. Family time is really important to me, I’ll never compromise on that.
EF: Can you give our readers three reasons to go and visit the Newcastle restaurant?
GD: Seriously, just three? Incredible, authentic Italian food, amazing drinks, and a truly fantastico waterside setting.
EF: And finally, your luxe things in life?
GD: My beautiful wife and family, my dogs and my new Quayside restaurant here at INNSiDE Newcastle.