I have certainly had one eye on the progress of Punto. The Italian restaurant at the end of my street has made big strides since opening in the latter part of 2021, trading the waxy Chianti bottles of yesteryear for a fresh, modern approach to Italian cuisine.
Punto, situated on suburban Heaton Road, offers sourdough pizzas stonebaked in a wood-fired oven and pasta freshly made on the daily by a devoted team of pastai.
From morning til moon, the restaurant operates as the best of a neighbourhood haunt, serving everything from bracing espressos and pastries on the pavement café to light lunches at the bar and evening feasts. In recent times, it has reached higher renown, voted the #1 Italian restaurant for pizza in Newcastle on Trip Advisor whilst its bright and airy interior – flooded with natural light- has noticeably been really coming into its own during the warmer weather.
Zeno, the restaurant’s operations director has even shared his expertise on these pages dispelling common Italian cooking misconceptions whilst offering home recipes and preparation tips. Suffice to say then, I have been plotting a return since sampling its seasonal winter menu over six months ago and leaving hugely impressed. Mothering Sunday proved the perfect point to do so with a dedicated Sunday Lunch menu in full swing in addition to its usual authentic Italian fayre.
On a sun-soaked afternoon, the dining area had a buoyant atmosphere and we were greeted warmly by restaurant manager Andrew who invited us to enjoy a drink at the restaurant’s impressive, circular centrepiece bar. This was a great place to reunite with family over a pair of signature Punto Arancione cocktails – tangerine, aperol and lime with a vodka kick- for mother and sister Holly, not to mention a couple of gamma ray IPA’s for father and son. Sunday, of course, remains central to the Italian working week and Punto have done this justice with a delicious Pranzo della Domenica menu (Sunday lunch to you and me) with meats sourced from other local favourite Block & Bottle. First up though was a selection of antipasti: vine ripened tomatoes sat atop a hunk of pan-fried garlic sourdough on a vinaigrette-enlivened bruschetta whilst fried calamari, white bait and oven baked king prawns formed a crown-pleasing plank of seafood well worth the additional 15 minutes cooking time. Main course meanwhile offered a choice of beef, pork or lamb each served with seasonal vegetables and ‘Yorkshire Puddingo’.
It would be the slow-roasted spring lamb with balsamic glaze for yours truly and the roast topside of beef for the girls whilst dad went completely off-piste with a double-egg Fiorentina pizza he remembered so fondly from last time.
Service was flawless throughout and Mum was even offered a complimentary glass of prosecco, bellini or rossini in toast to Mother’s Day which shows Punto is a restaurant which really understands the little touches.
A winning neighbourhood favourite deserving of its much wider acclaim.