Review: Fratelli’s, Ponteland

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PONTELAND is not somewhere I know well. Situated just after Newcastle Airport on the A696 it is not somewhere I have cause to visit often.

My teenage son had a 5.30pm finish in Newcastle so I decided to pick him up and head on to Fratelli’s.

Prominently positioned above a Sainsbury’s on the main road into Ponteland, Fratelli’s is hard to miss.

Opened four years ago, the restaurant is tastefully decorated, with tiled flooring, beige walls and subdued lighting. A large bar dominates the main eating area.

There are several menus from which to choose – including a happy hour menu available from noon until 6.30pm, and a lunch menu from 11.30am until 4pm (two courses £10.95).

We chose off the main dinner menu, which has recently been updated. There are a good selection of pizzas and pasta dishes, but there are also a few more unusual dishes that make things a bit more interesting.

Starters are from £4.50, though I chose the carpaccio di manzo at £6.95 – generous slices of fillet steak served with rocket salad, lemon and parmesan shavings. This was delicious, beautifully presented and the squeezed lemon accentuating the flavour of the medium/rare steak.

My son was swayed by the antipasto sardo (£8.95). The large portion consisted of Sardinian sausage, cured ham, a wonderfully spicy soft pecorino cheese, a hard, mature pecorino cheese, olives, artichokes, mixed peppers and sundried tomatoes. This was all served on a base of Sardinian crisp bread.

Such was the size of the starter, I doubted my lad would be able to tackle his main course, but this too was dutifully demolished.

He’d gone for the saccotini (£10.95), a dish of pasta parcels filled with gorgonzola and walnuts served with cherry tomatoes and sage butter. The portion was once again generous.

I’d opted for the calzone, with home-made chunky chips. The calzone classico (£9.95) came packed with tomato, mozzarella, ham and mushrooms. It was tasty and very filling.

The dessert menu looked too tempting to leave untouched – so we didn’t. My son had the chocolate bread and butter pudding while I had a vanilla crème brulee (both at £4.95).

My dessert was perfect – the topping brittle and tasty, while the vanilla underneath was full of flavour and had just the right consistency.

We’d been on soft drinks all night, but there was a very large selection of wines, which started at £14.50 for a bottle of house wine, or £3.65 a glass. There was also a more exclusive section of more expensive wines available.

I should also mention the service, which was impeccable – friendly, informative and fast.

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