It didn’t take me long to figure out that Harrogate is full of gastronomic delights. After last night’s glorious experience at The Ivy, I could hardly believe my luck when I stumbled upon Gino D’Acampo’s self-titled restaurant, on Parliament Street.
With its relaxed ambience, comfy seats and attractive bar area, I needed no encouragement to sally on in – especially as it was raining outside. Gino’s, like The Ivy, has an outside terrace – but the weather, alas, having transformed into your typical English summer, i.e grey skies and plentiful rain, meant today was not the time to explore it.
This was, however, an opportune moment to catch up with my writing, having been to a number of crime fiction panels earlier in the day: hopefully, my James Patterson post has whetted your appetite for my future Festival posts. However, I digress; this is supposed to be a post about food.
And very nice food it was, too: Italian, as you would expect, with the menu dedicated to Gino’s father, Ciro D’Acampo, who used to tell his son “Stop dreaming and get on with it”. Sound advice, methinks. Gino prides himself on creating “Crowd-pleasing classics, inspired by my travels and what’s in season”. Furthermore, Gino’s Head Executive Chef “…hand picks our suppliers to ensure we are getting the finest meat, vegetables, herbs and fruits from here in the U.K. and Italia, full of delicious flavours”.
Music to my ears. But would the food live up to expectations? I’ll blame the weather, but I was on the hunt for carbs – and the Four Cheese Rigatoni duly obliged, its cheesy blend of perfectly al dente pasta reinforcing my long-held belief that you only need two or three well-judged ingredients to create the perfect dish. In this, the Rigatoni was ably assisted by a side of Spinach with Mascarpone, the healthy (ahem) component of my meal. It’s fair to say that I was in cheese heaven.
I’m yet to mention the wine: how remiss of me. I had chosen a glass of the Friulano, partly on the waiter’s recommendation and partly because it’s a grape I hadn’t previously encountered: it’s always good to try something different. And I liked it. Despite its fragrant nose, it was pleasantly dry to taste, meaning that it worked with the cheeses, rather than against them: anything fruitier could have clashed horribly.
Yes, I had a dessert. I hadn’t planned to, but the allure of the Affogato – home-made vanilla ice cream drowned in expresso coffee and served with amaretti biscuits – proved too strong for my already crumbling willpower. It was luscious – and the shot of expresso provided me with the boost I needed to head back to the Old Swan and engage in another panel session with some of our best-loved crime fiction authors.
P.S. I’ve just learned that Gino has five other restaurants, one located near me in Euston. I shall definitely be paying it a visit, not least to investigate ‘Organic Wine Wednesdays’.