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Newcastle Evening Chronicle

The restaurant is very spacious, airy and much attention has gone into the detail of the fixtures and fittings. We went mid-week and it was fairly busy, but staff were coping admirably.

Luciano’s also boasts an extensive menu, which we pondered over while enjoying our first glass of dry white Castilli.

A vast selection of vegetarian options are available, and there is also a good variety of bread and supplemental dishes to get you going.

Callum decided to try the bucce di patate deep fried potato skins served with garlic mayonnaise and BBQ dip, which you may think wasn’t a very good choice.

I always wonder how you can go wrong with potato skins, but so many places do. First of all you often now get served up ‘wedges’ as opposed to skins, and they can be drenched in oil and stodgy.

Here, though, we got the real deal. The skins were indeed just that, and they were light and crispy, but with enough softness to them to give you that melt in the mouth sensation.

I tried the ‘polpetoni’ Italian meatballs in tomato sauce with melted mozzarella. They were divine. Meatballs can frequently be full grizzle and be very chewy, but these were as lean as you could possibly want and the accompanying sauce was sublime.

In all, there are twenty starters to choose from and I have no doubt we will be sampling them all in months to come.

For mains you have the choice of pasta, pizza, risotto, chicken, meat and seafood dishes, with plenty of options in each section. The chicken selection took Callum’s eye. The Milanese – flattened bread-crumbed chicken breast with garlic and parsley butter – sounded wonderful, but he eventually went for the pollo simone. The chicken came served with leeks, button mushrooms, white wine, crème fraiche chicken stock and chervil, and Callum chose potatoes over chips and vegetables that were al dente but with a perfect touch of softness to them.

Sea bass is another one of those dishes that can be difficult to get right. Overcook it and it becomes horribly dry.

My branzino – pan-fried sea bass fillet on a bed of pea and mint mash potato with a light tarragon cream sauce – could not have been better.

The fish was delicate and moist and the herb sauce complimented the flavours wonderfully, while the pea and mint mash was an excellent and somewhat different accompaniment. It was a dish brimming with flavours and all partnered each other superbly.

I ate every mouthful and did not have room for desert, although Callum did manage some vanilla ice cream, which rounded off a great evening for us.

We live not far from Kingston Park, and Luciano’s is now firmly on our list of must-go-to restaurants. It also has a ‘lunchtime special’ menu of two courses and regular evening specials.

Luciano’s is proof that you don’t need to be in the heart of the city or some fancy building to pull it off big style.

It is a welcome, and I would say much needed, addition to the Kingston Park area.