November 1, 2018
One of the North East’s most renowned chefs, Terry Laybourne, has recently relaunched one of his restaurants on Newcastle’s Quayside.
Caffe Vivo has been transformed to St. Vincent – described on its website as a relaxed restaurant, café and wine bar that’s “inspired by the places we fell for while travelling in Italy and France”.
My colleague and I visited the new venue last month and found an elegant yet informal décor with exposed brickwork, red leather clad booths and more than a hint of chic French-inspired furnishings.
The restaurant manager tells us that St. Vincent’s focus is on old world wine with a menu of complimentary tapas style sharing dishes, inspired primarily by French and Italian cooking.
Keen to experience St. Vincent the way it has been conceived, my colleague and I ordered a glass each of the Gran Cerdo Tempranillo Gonzalo. We are told Gran Cerdo, translates as ‘grand pig’ in Spanish, and that the wine is ironically dedicated to the bank executives that denied loans to wine producers.
“One day, these greasy and sweaty corporate suits will find that the best things in life cannot be impounded,” the label on the bottle provocatively reveals.
To go with our wine, we ordered a selection of dishes from the menu – which is helpfully divided into snacks, charcuterie, cheeses, croques, vegetables, seafood and meat.
We picked six dishes in total and the highlights were the luxuriously velvety macaroni cheese adorned with slitters of earthly truffle, the rich and flavoursome duck pâté (rillettes) served with fried bread, and the delightful seafood frito misto comprising lightly battered squid, prawns and white fish. Even the unusual combination of the roasted heritage carrots with avocado and sour cream proved a hit!
Really, these six plates would have been more than enough but their quality – and the lunchtime wine – encouraged us to order dessert too.
Greedily, we ordered the chocolate marquise, tarte tatin and the Portuguese custard tart. All mirrored the high standards of our earlier fare and finished the meal off perfectly.
With so many eating options in Newcastle, Terry Laybourne has managed to create something new for the city – a venue that is both relaxed yet sophisticated and perfect for an important business lunch with clients or somewhere to pop into on your own for a glass of wine and a snack.
I’ll definitely be returning to St. Vincent to make a ‘grand pig’ of myself.