One of the mains - a lovely Penne Salmone...


Roma Washington

18 Front Street, Concord, NE37 2BA

WHEN the restaurants, cafes and pubs closed in March, we feared it meant months without the chance to enjoy a good restaurant-prepared meal.

Yet there was no need for panic. Within days many had reorganised themselves to offer takeaway services so people can still their favourites at home during these strange times.

One restaurant which had been on our list to visit before the lockdown was Roma Washington in Concord.

Roma’s patch at the top of Front Street in Concord…

It opened its doors in January following the success of its well-established Sunderland branch and offered both dine-in and takeaway services – so we decided to give it a go to brighten up our lockdown life.

Open from 5-10pm Monday to Thursday, 4.30-10pm Friday and noon-10pm Saturday and Sunday, Roma Washington offers a packed menu of Italian staples, with something for everyone.

Ordering is easy via the website or app and the restaurant offers both delivery and collection.

Keen to recreate the restaurant experience as much as possible, we followed our usual Italian fodder rules – starters plus a garlic bread followed by a pasta dish – and because we were reviewing, we ordered a third main, just to give us something extra to try.

Roma also offers a free bottle of wine on all orders of £35, with a choice of red, white or rose.

Ordering couldn’t be easier – we simply browsed the website and made our choices and were given a 35-minute waiting time as we’d decided to collect.

Collection was simple and stress-free thanks to a dedicated pick-up table inside the restaurant complete with complementary hand sanitiser and anti-bacterial wipes for customers.

Unable to decide on what garlic bread to try, we opted for half and half with cheese and tomato. Both sides were a hit, although for me the tomato was the best thanks to the really nice sauce.

Our tomato and cheese garlic bread, perfect for the indecisive…

For starters we decided to share garlic mushrooms (£3.95) and Gamberoni (£6.95)

The menu said the mushrooms came with toast but perhaps this is in the restaurant only as we didn’t receive any – however, it was a very large portion of mushrooms in a delicious creamy garlic sauce – definitely a winner.

The generous portion of garlic mushrooms…

The Gamberoni is cooked in white wine and comes with a choice of garlic or garlic, tomato and chilli sauce. We went for the garlic, and it was nice but not quite what we’d expected.

It was liquid heavy, more like a broth with several large prawns in. The prawns were lovely and meaty and we enjoyed dipping the garlic bread into the juice.

For mains we opted for a Carbonara with spaghetti (£6.45) a Pasta Salmon (£6.95) and Ravioli Lobster (£9.95).

You can’t go wrong with a Carbonara…

The Pasta Salmon was definitely our favourite. A simple but delicious dish of penne, salmon and tomato sauce, it was very nice – possibly thanks to that lovely rich tomato sauce again.

The Ravioli featured five big pieces of homemade pasta, along with a mix of tiger and baby prawns in a gorgeous lobster, cream and garlic sauce. It probably wouldn’t be large enough as a main on its own, so we were pleased we’d got it alongside the other dishes.

The large Lobster Ravioli parcels hit the spot…

I also enjoyed the Carbonara, made with bacon, cream, black pepper and parmesan sauce. I personally prefer it with egg in the sauce so wouldn’t necessarily choose it again, but it was still very creamy and tasty.

As one of Washington’s newest restaurants, it’s great to be able to support Roma during the lockdown and I’d say give it a go if you want to enjoy an Italian feast at home.

*This article originally appeared in Issue 3 of Washington Way magazine. Prices correct as of April 2020.