Wickham’s newest offering, Vecina, is now open for drinks
Since opening in 2019, Wickham's dynamic little restaurant, Flotilla, has continued to create a buzz, and with the announcement of a second Good Food Guide chef hat award in October this year, seats at Flotilla are now in high demand.
Eager to build on its success, co-owner Eduardo Molina and head chef Jake Deluca went about reworking the venue next door to bring a new concept to Newcastle’s dining and drinking scene – Vecina.
The pale pink facade is what catches your eye as you enter Wickham’s Albert Street, and its warm interior glow draws you in. At first glance Vecina leans towards an industrial interior style, however once seated you begin to appreciate the softer edges created by the bar’s stunning wood panelling, warm pendant lighting, and luxe leather seating.
Drawing its name from the Spanish translation for neighbour or place, Eduardo explained how the idea for Vecina came about.
“Vecina allows us to add a new offering to what we already do so well, and for what people have become so loyal to us for – great hospitality. It allows us to add a new experience for Novocastrians, more accessible, and casual, yet equally as great.”
Taking over the Flotilla kitchen in early 2023, Jake has made a strong impression on Newcastle’s dining scene, and his pursuit for menu excellence has continued, but with a twist. Drawing inspiration from some of Spain's most iconic flavours and techniques, Jake has crafted a snacks menu that delivers fresh and surprising flavour combinations at every turn — beef tartare with gnocco fritto, egg jam, and horseradish, burrata in stewed tomato, and fried chicken with oscietra caviar to name a few.
Menu highlights are hard to distinguish – the Appellation oysters with their zesty pepperberry mignonette sure shone bright, as did the rich smooth texture of the chicken liver parfait with madeira jelly. Extra time post meal was needed to savour these flavours for as long as possible.
Choosing what not to order will be your conundrum, yet a visit to Vecina just didn’t happen if a plate of Gildas wasn’t in the mix. The bite size dish was traditionally found in northern Spain with the Gilda being the queen of what Spaniards call ‘banderillas’, a kind of hors d’oeuvre of pickles, olives and salted anchovy fillets which are precisely skewered together on a cocktail stick. Quality of ingredients is what Gildas rely heavily on, the result being a mix of salt and spice that is incredibly moreish.
Dessert is anything but typical, with options like the Negroni, a take on the classic cocktail featuring campari and blood orange sorbet. There was certainly room for dessert after our array of snacks!
Whilst the food will always be the talking point at Vecina, the drinks list is equally a hot topic. Home to Newcastle’s largest by-the-glass list, it’s refreshing to have so much choice. Scanning the menu you can see Eduardo’s passion for alternative varietals, and classic styles shine through. Although there was a long list of regions to explore, on our visit, the Hunter Valley’s light and bright Sabi Wabi Chardonnay was the drink of choice.
As the evening rolls along, it’s difficult to ignore the stream of cocktails being delivered. The exposed bar allows guests to catch all the cocktail craft, and only a little arm twisting was needed. Our selection, the Very Good Sour – a mix of Cocchi Americano, Four Pillar's Yuzu Gin, lemon, and aquafaba – was the perfect way to end our Vecina dining experience.
Opening on Wednesday, the 6th of December, Vecina adds another notch to Wickham's ever increasing foodie belt.
“We see Vecina as a place where you can pop in for a quick glass of wine, a couple for bites from the bar menu, a place where you can get lost among conversation with friends. We want Vecina to be a place for everyone, a place to feel like you are always welcome.”
A warm and welcoming place, Vecina is set to become the place to meet with friends and colleagues, to explore the world of drinks and clever bar snacks, and one that will have you returning time and time again.
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