Does Gino’s Pear Tree serve the best pizza in town?
Award-winnini pizza? On my doorstep? As soon as i heard those words i wasted no time booking a table at Gino’s Pear Tree. I’m a sucker for a good Italian *cough* food that is, and there’s no shortage of Italian restaurants here, but it’s taken me quite some time to hear about this family run place in Loughborough.
Gino’s is slap bang in the middle of Charnwood Forest so you have to navigate through some long, winding country roads to get there, but trust me when i say, it is worth it.
The first thing you notice is that the bar is in the middle of the restaurant with seating on either side of it. There was a hive of activity when we arrived with cheery locals popping in for a drink and waiting staff moving swiftly between the restaurant and the kitchen.
At Gino’s the decor is smart and stylish without trying too hard. Splendid bright red and earthy green walls stand alongside those covered in feature wallpaper, there’s quirky chandeliers made from wine glasses and the obligatory Italian flag.
As we were shown to our table, we were hit by a light fog of charcoal from the wood fire oven. I love seeing the drama of food disappearing into the wild flames and emerging ready to eat minutes later and had the perfect view from my seat.
The restaurant is run by three brothers Riccardo, Gianni and Marco who source 60-70% of their ingredients from, Naples including mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, olive oil and flour. The rest is all sourced locally including their meat which comes from a farm in Derby.
We sat in a smaller part of the restaurant with space for only five small tables, it was intimate but not in an uncomfortable way but yes, we heard everything our chatty Canadian neighbour was saying. Considering the restaurant was full, service was spot on and our young Italian waitress cheerfully talked us through the menu.
For starters we opted to share the Caprese salad, a traditional and super simple Italian salad it came with Buffalo mozzarella, fresh tomatoes, sun-dried tomatoes and basil, drizzled with olive oil and a splash of balsamic vinegar (Modena no doubt).
The three arrancini rossi (risotto balls) were filled with a medley of mozzarella cheese, spinach and tomato flavours.
I wasted no time ordering the nduja; this award-winning pizza was voted one of the best in the UK by men’s magazine, Shortlist and we can totally see why. The tasty flatbread came with tomatoes, mozzarella, hot Nduja sausage (a Calibrian sausage infused in chilli oil to give it a nice red colour) onions and peppers and came with a delicious smoke infused crunch. My dining partner picked the silky smooth orzo pasta cooked with peas, roasted butternut squash, cherry tomatoes and crunchy pumpkin seeds.
And just as we thought things couldn’t get better…dessert came. We ordered chocolate fondant and tiramisu (two of my favourite things in life). I took a few cheeky bites of the tiramisu from my friend’s plate, but it was the delightful melting-middle chocolate fondant and sauce that got my thumbs up. It was so gooey and more-ish, i had no problem hoovering up every last crumb.
Good For: Pizza! Intimate dinner date, country and park walks through the forest. Open for lunch but spoil yourself and go for a delicious three-course dinner. Weekend are busy so book early to avoid disappointment. There’s extra seating upstairs if it gets too crowded in the main restaurant and is ideal for larger, family gatherings. Lovely terrace at the front which is buzzing during the warmer season.
Not for: Those looking for a quick, light munch.
£££: Mid-range. A bit pricey for Loughborough. Starters from £5.95. Mains cost between £9.95 – £24.99 (beef fillet). Pizzas start from £8.50 for a Marghertia and desserts from £5.95-£6.50.
8 Church Hill, Woodhouse Eaves, Loughborough. LE12 8RT. Tel: 01509 890 243. Gino’s Pear Tree