Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Great Value in a Cosy Italian; DEANO'S TRATTORIAMiddle Chare, Chester-le-Street, County Durham, DH3 3QD Phone: 0191 388 0052 Open: Monday to Saturday Noon-2pm and 5.30pm-10pm; Sunday Noon-8pm BY BARBARA HODGSON

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Great Value in a Cosy Italian; DEANO'S TRATTORIAMiddle Chare, Chester-le-Street, County Durham, DH3 3QD Phone: 0191 388 0052 Open: Monday to Saturday Noon-2pm and 5.30pm-10pm; Sunday Noon-8pm BY BARBARA HODGSON

Article excerpt

WHAT'S IT LIKE? Having made a last-minute decision to eat out, the question next was where to go? Not feeling the least bit adventurous and just wanting no-fuss comfort food on a bleak evening, our fallback option was an Italian and we thought we'd see what we could spot in Chester-le-Street.

Having parked just off the main street, we immediately stumbled upon Deano's in Middle Chare. Directly opposite the car park (which is free after 6pm by

Inside, we found it empty - hardly surprising at the start of a week in January - save for two members of staff and a customer who left after collecting a takeaway. But it looked cosy and inviting and at least it meant we had a choice of tables.

And, with music playing, we didn't feel the need to whisper - as I often do for some reason if somewhere is too quiet.

It's a small restaurant (with good disabled access) though we noticed another dining area off the main space and creating its cosy look is subdued lighting; glowing red candle holders on every table and fairy lights around the window: perhaps left over from Christmas and New Year which we heard had been very busy.

It turns out that Deano's is a familyrun Italian, with sister restaurants in Whickham and Lanchester, and it boasts authentic Italian food made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients so all sounded good on the menus.

The waitress handed us two, including a great-value specials menu, while the other went to bring us our drinks: a glass of house red for me while my guest, who'd wanted a pint of lager, had to settle for a bottle of Peroni having been told there was only that and bottled Stella available and no draught.

WHAT WE HAD FOR STARTERS I imagine most people would choose the evening specials menu and with a selection of three courses for just PS8.95 it seemed silly not to. My guest certainly didn't hesitate and ordered potato skins, which came with a choice of garlic or BBQ dip.

They aren't something you can go far wrong with and Deano's didn't: they came properly crispy, in a generous portion.

I'd been tempted by the specials menu's pan-fried mushrooms in red wine, chilli and tomato, which sounded more imaginative than the garlic and white wine option, but in the end I gave way to the extensive main menu which is itself reasonably priced.

I fancied bruschetta and, again, was spoiled for choice as there's also a "Deano's option" which adds Mortadella, salami and feta.

I took so long deciding that another two customers came in and placed their orders before I did. In the end I chose the standard PS3.95 bruschetta and the substantial portion of chopped juicy tomatoes with olives, onions, garlic and basil tasted beautifully fresh. It came with a little side salad and lots of olive oil too, which I like although it could have been to blame for the fact the accompanying bread beneath was soft and nothing like the toast it should be. …

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