Newcastle's Cappello Lounge
Leah Hamer || July 30th
I’m not a food critic…but I eat, therefore this constitutes as enough of a reason for me to write about my latest dining experience, at Cappello Lounge, in Newcastle town centre.
Strewn with old-fashioned portraits of daisies, British country-sides, Jane Austen heroines, dapper moustached men and sepia stills of forgotten memories, bundled on top of mustard and foggy green flowered wallpaper, Cappello Lounge could easily be mistaken for an art gallery- if you ignore it’s more obvious restaurant-like qualities of course.
It has that Camden attic apartment vibe, with piles of board games and Kilner jam jars. Tasselled chandeliers illuminate the antique mirrors, shelves of liquor bottles and rustic scratches and carvings on the wooden bar. Coloured metal stools slide under long oblong tables and sunken, red leather sofas and circular, cushioned chairs slot around the lower coffee tables. There is no uniformity or restriction in the décor, the mismatched and odd-bod furniture make it a cosy and welcoming space.
Sitting by the window on a sunny Tuesday evening, Cappello is bursting with life- nearly full to capacity with couples young and old, families, and students. Each one of them have been through the same process, picking up the paisley-patterned menu and staring in concentration for what feels like hours at the endless amount of choice.
All day brunch, light bites, burgers, a specials menu, a batch of vegetarian/vegan/gluten free goods and the main attraction, tapas (at three for £9.95), are just some of the options that greet your eyes. Greedy for the veggie options, myself and my friend made a compromise- I stole half of her tapas and she stole half of my Veggie Kedgeree (£7.95) from the specials menu. And as it was Tapas Tuesday- a free glass of wine (or a soft drink) would be presented when you order any three tapas. Winner.
Ordering at the bar, the staff were chilled, happy and attentive, eager to ask lots of questions and ensure that you were getting the best possible experience. They were knowledgeable on the details of the specials, ingredients in the cocktails and everything else you could need.
As well as this, they were super speedy. Despite having a full house our food arrived within minutes, and all freshly and lovingly prepared. The tapas arrived in bowls balanced on a wooden board, with a mountain of ciabatta accompanying it. Patatas bravas with roasted garlic mayo, spinach and goats cheese croquettes with tomato tapenade and falafels with harissa hummus were our choices, and each pot glowed and overflowed with colour. The Veggie Kedgeree was made up of curried turmeric rice, spinach, halloumi and a poached egg- with the runny, lava-like yolk of my dreams.
A variety of textures- from chewy halloumi, to gooey egg, to crunchy croquettes, and flavours- with the spice of the curried rice and the tang of the potatoes and the smooth hummus, made it a meal that tasted as good as it looked, and as good as my surroundings looked. Once full, there was no lingering staff members waiting for you to leave so they could hurry up and clean up, we happily sat for the remainder of the evening, enjoying the lively atmosphere.
Cappello Lounge is a comfortable and relaxed environment, with caring staff and impeccable food at decent prices. Open all day it is perfect for pancakes in the morning, a panini in the afternoon or a Pina Colada at night.