Spotlight on Zucchini Pasta Bar

Spotlight on Zucchini Pasta Bar

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Who are Zucchini Pasta Bar?

Zucchini Pasta Bar has become one of the North East’s premier dining experiences. The restaurant sits on the Swan House Roundabout and is attached to the 55 Degrees North building in Newcastle City Centre. It serves traditional, handmade pasta dishes to die for.

Zucchini opened on the 2nd June, 2017, meaning they’ve recently celebrated their 3rd birthday while in lockdown.

We talked to Alan Barker, owner of Zucchini, to find out more about the pasta heaven he’s created.

Why did you decide to open Zucchini Pasta Bar?

I had been working as a chef since leaving school after A levels. To me it seemed like the next step after being a head chef, which I was for 3 years.

I opened Zucchini Pasta Bar with pretty much all of my savings at the age of 27. I had tons of advice from family, friends and my old head chef. I also took a lot of inspiration from traditional Italian pastas and places I’ve enjoyed eating in down in London, in Newcastle and abroad.

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What makes Zucchini unique?

Our fresh pasta. We make and roll our pasta every day and serve it super-fast. The taste and texture is a step up from the dried pasta everyone knows and loves. Our pasta bar in Newcastle city centre is a relaxed and informal dining experience at a truly great price point. The one thing everyone comments on is how fresh our plates of pasta are. Luckily for us, there’s just nothing else like it in the North East.

What happened to Zucchini when the pandemic arrived?

As soon as lockdown was announced, we decided to close the doors for the wellbeing of our staff and families. The first few weeks were strange; it took a while to get my head around the situation and realise there was nothing I could do. However, it was a great time to stop and assess what we have achieved so far and what makes us unique, so we are able to come back even stronger, better and fresher.

How did you adapt Zucchini during lockdown?

We introduced a new take out menu. Normally we exclusively offer fresh pasta, along with some delicious sides. This is due to the fresh pasta being very time consuming to prepare. The new take out menu included burgers, chicken wings, BBQ ribs, fresh lasagne, Sicilian pizza, Sunday lunches and a lot more. Craig (the head chef) and I, had to change the way we did everything, including changing or adapting a lot of the suppliers we worked with. We kept our customers up to date on social media and went straight into contactless payment, time slots for collection and contactless delivery. Working with Deliveroo at this time has been crucial and their contactless delivery along with their ordering system has really helped us out.

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How has the response been from customers and staff?

I would personally like to thank all our staff and customers for their dedication and for still ordering from us through these crazy times. The support has been amazing.

Looking ahead, what do you think the future holds for Zucchini Pasta Bar?

Collection will always be available. Our dishes are perfect for in and out collections as the pasta cooks fast and many items might appear on the main menu in the future that were on offer whilst the restaurant was closed.

In the future I’d love to open more Zucchini Pasta Bars in other cities in the UK. This will take time, but that’s the end goal. I’ve learnt how important it is to try different things and not to get stuck doing things exactly the same year after year. The dream in the future is to have a pasta lab, where we can test things out such as new seasonings, sauces and techniques. So, I guess I’ve learnt everything can be improved on.We just ask our amazing regulars to pop back in for pasta when they feel safe to do so. We’ll be here making fresh pasta every day.

Sounds good to us!

Find out more about Zucchini Pasta Bar On Shop On The Tyne, including opening hours, delivery, collection and where to follow them on social media.