As one of the largest department stores in the country, Fenwick Newcastle has been a northeast institution for over 130 years, having been founded in 1882. A multi-million pound makeover of the store’s extensive food hall in 2015 has created one of the most diverse food markets in the country, complete with a fishmonger, butcher and selection of restaurants featuring cuisine from around the world. One such restaurant is Ko Sai. Opened in October 2015, Ko Sai is a Pan-Asian Noodle bar, serving a variety of delicious soups, stir-fry’s, curries and Thai and Vietnamese salads.
Part of 21 Hospitality Group, a collection of six restaurants located throughout Newcastle; Parichat Somsri-Kirby and group owner, restaurateur and renowned chef, Terry Laybourne, jointly own Ko Sai. On the concept behind Ko Sai, Terry comments:
“Parichat had been itching to return to her Thai roots for a number of years, so when we were approached by the Fenwick team to create a new concept for the revamp of their food hall, we felt this was the ideal opportunity. Ko Sai offers customers an authentic Asian experience, with a menu dedicated to eating cooked-on-the-spot food from street-hawkers, something that is a traditional way of life in Asia. A range of fresh ingredients, vibrant colours and exciting flavours bring the menu to life, while the open plan kitchen immerses the customer in the cooking process.”
Not content with just a varied savoury menu, Terry and Parichat have created a dessert menu to suit, a delightful combination of flavours that complement a meal at the restaurant. The basis to many of the desserts is ice cream, something which needed to be of a high quality, as Terry explained:
“With flavour playing such an important role throughout our menu, we knew from the outset that our ice cream had to be the perfect consistency, flavour and texture.”
Whilst at an oven demonstration at Jestic’s head office, a project for another of his restaurants, Terry spotted the iconic Ugolini Quick-Gel machine. Realising its potential for Ko Sai, he went on to say:
“I spotted the Ugolini Quick-Gel by chance when demoing a new pizza oven. Having enquired with the team about it and been shown how simple it is to use, I decided to trial it in one of my restaurants. No sooner had I taken it back to Newcastle and placed it in the kitchen, than all my chefs were queuing up to look at it, play with it and in most cases, sample the wonderful soft ice cream it produces. The machine offers fantastic flavour and outstanding consistency, especially for such a small machine!”
Having witnessed the benefits first hand, Terry decided to go ahead with the purchase. Working with Jestic’s Culinary Team, Terry created a bespoke recipe that met the needs of his menu, saying:
“The development process to create the ice cream was actually quite good fun. I have had a strong relationship with the Jestic team over the years and know I can rely on them to provide sound advice and support wherever I may need it. The Culinary Team has all the expert knowledge and experience of the brands they supply and as a result could understand what we needed and a way in which we could create a hit product for our dessert menu.”
Positioned in pride of place on the back counter in Ko Sai, the Quick-Gel continues to receive positive feedback from customers and staff alike, Terry concludes:
“The Ugolini machine is used in a number of desserts on our menu and has become a vital piece of equipment for us. The design is so visual, almost retro-chic some would say, making it stand out and enticing many to find out more. Customers absolutely adore the rich, creamy taste and smooth texture of the ice cream, while our staff sing the machine’s praises because of how easy to use and simple to clean it has proved to be. Without doubt I would recommend a Ugolini machine to anyone looking to offer delicious, consistent soft serve ice cream from a machine that not only looks great but is also convenient to use.”
Ko Sai is located within the Food Hall of Fenwick Newcastle. For more information on the restaurant and its Pan-Asian menu, please visit www.ko-sai.co.uk or call 0191 239 6612. For further information on 21 Hospitality Group, please visit www.21hospitality.co.uk.
For further information on the full range of appliances and services supplied by Jestic Foodservice Equipment please visit www.jestic.co.uk or call 01892 831 960.