Caffe Capriccio Durham Italian Review



Caffe Capriccio Durham

caffe capriccio durham frontWe have walked past Caffe Capriccio on many many occasions, in favour of other cafes, as it always appeared incredibly small, with only a few tables inside, and a few outside, but ooooohhhhh how I wish we’d visited sooner, it was fab!

We visited at about 10am on a Sunday morning. There were more tables than expected on the inside, although still not very many to choose from, due to the quirky shape of the building. We decided on a window seat so we could watch the world go by. On one side of the doorway we had the choice of a breakfast bar style table, and on the other side of the doorway, there was a slightly squished two-seater table. We opted for the squished two-seater, but when we sat down, we didn’t even notice the lack of space, as the ambience of the Caffe Capriccio far outweighed any other thoughts. We were served by a pleasant and friendly lady behind the counter, and in the background was the sound of Italian singing, no not the radio, it was a gentleman going to and forth from the kitchen with the happiest sounding singing voice. The happy-Italian-singing lasted for the whole of our visit, with the exception of the odd conversation in between, and it was like a breath of fresh air to go into a place where people are naturally happy at what they are doing, not because of good training, not because every customer demands a high quality service with a smile nowadays, but because some people appear naturally happy, happy with themselves, happy with the world, and happy with their work.  On this occasion we only ordered 2 coffees, and two caramel slices, but without a shadow of a doubt, we will definitely be returning, on a lunch time next time around. When we left, we were waved goodbye by both the lady and gentleman.

Before entering, we had the impression that it was going to be a tiny place inside, and it would feel more like a coffee take-away shop, rather than a café, but how wrong we were. The size is part of it’s charm, it is perfectly formed, with happy-characters, and we left with a smile, with every intention of returning.


Durham Food and Drink Rating
First Impression : 8  Service : 8  Food : N/A  Value : 8

cafe capriccio score eight

Caffe Capriccio,
26 Elvet Bridge,
Durham
DH1 3AA

Scores on the Doors

Hits: 6336

Filini Durham Radisson Blu Italian Restaurant Review



Filini Durham

Firstly, it’s often been said that Filini at the Radisson Blu is one of the best restaurants in Durham City. For that reason, I’d booked it for a Valentine’s Day meal. I wanted it to be right so that we could have a nice romantic meal out.

filini durham restaurant

The Radisson Hotel is quite an imposing structure by the river, opposite where the old Durham Ice Rink used to be. The new Millennium Bridge joins The Radisson to the Gala Complex, with its bars and theatre. We’d been delivered to the rear entrance by our taxi and went straight to the little bar and had a cheeky cocktail whilst waiting for our table time to come around. There was a wedding party having photos taken in the hotel but there was also quite a lot of people milling around, including a bunch of lads who suddenly appeared in sports kit and shorts, so it was a strange old mixture.

Our table at Filini Durham was at 7:30pm, so we wandered through. The entrance to the restaurant is just off the hotel reception area, but isn’t that prominently signposted. Quite surprisingly, there was no-one working front-of-house to greet us and show us to our table, we had to actively go to attract a member of staff’s attention. This was right down at the far end of the restaurant, where the point of sale stuff was. Our table had a name tag on it. Were they expecting us to wander in and just find our own table? I don’t know, but that is what it seemed like to me. The restaurant space is a large one, with the tables arranged in no particular order, and although a contemporary light jazz tape played background ‘muzak’, the place had little atmosphere. Some tables had candles, ours didn’t, again a little inconsistent. We ordered a bottle of pink prosecco (£25).

The Filini Durham menu was a little different from the one posted on their website. We’d had a sneaky look to pre-select what we’d like to eat, but a lot of the options were no longer there, so we had to choose again. Our two selections for starters were Italian Sausage (£6.50) and Crispy Oxtail (£8.50). The sausage came with onions and gravy. It was slightly spicy and not bad. The oxtail was presented in four cubes, which weren’t really crispy, except on the outside. They tasted a little strange. In the meantime, the wine had arrived, but it was just put on the edge of the table in a cooler. No-one asked if we wanted it opening. It was in a screw top bottle as well, maybe something else we were expected to do ourselves?

filini durham main course
For the main course, Mrs DFD had chosen Sea Bass (£17.95). I’d gone for a Sirloin Steak (£26.95). The Sea Bass was slightly pink but had a nice light texture. It was served on a bed of peas and carrots. The steak was cooked nicely to my medium/well done instruction, but was served on a wooden board with handle, which wouldn’t stay still on the table whilst I was trying to cut the meat. Very annoying! Both meals came with vegetable accompaniment. The baby carrots were served in a little glass jar and the roast potatoes and parmesan fries were also provided as a side, but both were completely lacking any form of presentation whatsoever. Not good really.

We did choose to have desserts, which were presented a little bit better: Chocolate ice cream (me) and Pannacotta (her), which were very nice but a little pricey at £5.75 and £5.95 respectively. The ice cream was garnished with mint, with strawberries and grapes. The Pannacotta had a nice firm consistency, although a little too firm for Mrs DFD. Finally, two cups of americano coffee to finish. These were good and strong.
filini durham desserts

Overall, we were quite disappointed by the experience of Filini. There was nothing to make you feel special as a customer, I could only describe it as like a restaurant with café style service. I’m not criticising the waitresses who were pleasant and always accommodating, but it didn’t feel right and the quality of the food was very average for what was being charged. The bill came to £103 altogether for the two of us, so not cheap. I don’t mind paying good money for good food, but felt short changed at the end of this.


Durham Food and Drink Rating
First Impression : 6, Service : 7, Food : 6, Value : 5

six

Filini Durham Restaurant,
Franklin Lane,
Durham
DH1 5TL
Tel: 0191 372 7200

Scores on the Doors

Hits: 4952

Sambuca Durham Review



Sambuca Durham

sambuca durhamSambuca opened its first restaurant in Jesmond, Newcastle nearly 30 years ago. Sambuca now have a chain of Italian Restaurants throughout the North East, with branches at Ashington, Heaton Park, North Shields, Forest Hall, South Shields, Sunderland, Whitley Bay, Tyne Tunnel, Blyth, Hartlepool and this one in Durham. It’s right next to the Travelodge just off Gilesgate Roundabout, so just 10 mins walk from where we live.

We pride ourselves on providing good service, and good quality food and drink at affordable prices, despite the economical recession we’ve managed to maintain our rock bottom, very modest prices…

Every hour at Sambuca Durham is happy hour! We advise you book in advance to avoid disappointment, however walk-ins are always welcome.

We arrived early on a Friday evening and the place was already bouncing. As usual, we hadn’t booked, but were shown to a table straight away and the waiter took our drinks order. Mrs DFD selected a bottle of pink fizz and off we went! We tend to share more these days when we’re out together, so it was a Garlic Bread with Cheese and Tomato to get us in the Italian Mood. The breads at Sambuca are nice and thin and not stodgy like the deep pan stuff you get elsewhere. It was sizzling hot too, and we singed our fingers a bit getting it on our plates. Considering it was very busy, it only took about 10 mins for the food to arrive. Impressive! Waiters are buzzing around in here, and you can see what’s happening in the kitchen. On most nights they play music when it’s someone’s birthday and the waiters join in with the dancing and frivolities.

For the Main course we chose Basilico pizza, and a side of Buffalo Mozzarella salad. The pizza was really tasty and fresh, once again a thin crust, so not too filling for the two of us (on a weight loss regime). The pink fizz was disappearing very rapidly too, so it wasn’t too long before another bottle of that was needed as well.

Various specials are dotted around the walls on blackboards and we selected our sweets from there : Sticky Toffee Pudding and Orange Sorbet. I should point out these are actually two separate items, not a single one, although it sounds quite a good combination. The toffee pud was nice and light. We were a bit disappointed with the sorbet though in that the frozen orange skin wasn’t full, but we were having too good a time to complain really.

When we left, there was a queue of about 20 people at the bar, waiting for a seat. It’s a popular place Sambuca. Overall, the place has a nice rustic feel, and even though it can get noisy, it’s a warm, friendly noise. The service is excellent and quick, you aren’t left sitting for hours waiting for your food. I know our bill came to 60 quid, but at least £35 of that was Prosecco, the food part was only about £25 between the two of us.


Durham Food and Drink Rating
First Impression : 8, Service : 9, Food : 8, Value : 8

eight

Total cost (for two) : £60.00 (including two bottles of rosé Prosecco).

Sambuca Durham,
Chivita
7 Station Lane
Durham
DH1 1LJ

Tel: 0191 384 1010
Email: info@sambucarestaurants.co.uk

Opening times:
Monday – Saturday: 12:00pm – 10:00pm
Sunday: 12:00pm – 9:00pm

Scores on the Doors

Hits: 6938