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Ideal after a hard day.

Byline: By Jennifer Bradbury

Emilio's Restaurant, Durham Road, Low Fell. Tel: (0191) 4200477

When we came upon this place at about 6pm on a Saturday night, there were just a party of children and a handful of couples dining.

But judging by the number of staff on duty, the place must get really busy later on, as you'd expect for an eaterie in this part of town.

Personally, we weren't bothered that the place wasn't buzzing. We'd had a hard day of Christmas shopping and simply wanted somewhere to eat.

The decor is modern with warm red walls and the lighting is subdued, making for a very intimate atmosphere, despite the fact that the dining room is on the large side.

We were shown to our seats by our waiter who then handed us several menus to take a look at. On top of this there's also the specials board, and a wide choice of wine, so you're guaranteed to be spoilt for choice.

After looking at the menus, it was a group decision to go for the Evening Special Menu (5.30pm-7pm) which is great value, offering three courses for just pounds 7.95.

The 10-year-old, who was also with us, went for one of the offerings on the kids' menu, half a pizza (salami) in his case, plus chips. For pounds 4.95, this also included a soft drink and ice cream.

For starters, two went for the potato skins, one for the soup and one for the pate.

The soup, home-made, was flavoured with tomatoes, peppers and chillies. Thick (but not too thick), this was delicious, and contained quite a kick, thanks to the chillies.

The two who went for the potato skins were genuinely gob-smacked when their plates arrived, they were piled high with skins.

Accompanied by some garlic mayonnaise, these skins were a meal on their own. But, despite knowing they had a second course to come, the two who had chosen the skins managed to clean their plates.

Last, but not least, the pate was also voted a winner.

And on to the next course.

For this you could choose from Napoli, Bolognese or Capri pizza and Spaghetti Napoli or Bolognese.

Two opted for the Spaghetti Napoli, I went for the Spaghetti Bolognese, and the fourth member of our party chose the Pizza Bolognese.

Again the portions were enormous and, despite the fact that all tasted delicious, not one of us managed to finish off our main meals. Perhaps we should have gone for a kids' meal, because the little one in our party managed to clean his plate without breaking into a sweat.

Finally, it was time for coffee and ice-cream. I've got to admit there was no way I could conquer any more food by this time, but two of our party went for vanilla ice cream before their coffees.

With two garlic breads, a couple of cokes and three beers, the bill came to pounds 47.70.

A nice touch was that as we were dining one of the staff approached us to ask if we'd mind having our picture taken.

She explained that the pictures were then pinned on a board for people to look at.

By the time we left, not one of us could have eaten another morsel.

We had a great night and a great meal but a word of caution - make sure you've built up an appetite.

At a glance:

Atmosphere: Relaxed

Service: Very good

Toilets: Clean and modern

Smoking: Yes

Parking: Nearby on street parking
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Copyright 2003 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Dec 12, 2003
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