What’s your idea of a perfect Sunday lunch? Mine involves perfectly pink roast beef, crisp roast potatoes, a hearty portion of fresh veg, humongous Yorkshire puds and of course, lashings of homemade gravy, us Northern girls love gravy! I’ve tried lots of Sunday lunches throughout NewcastleGateshead and there are some fab ones to choose from but I now have a new favourite after sampling the delights of the recently launched Bottle Shop Bar & Kitchen.
The Bottle Shop opened a couple of months ago on Waterloo Square close to Dance City. The location was previously home to Electric East, a Vietnamese and Thai restaurant that I was sad to see close but its successor is great new addition to Newcastle’s food and drink scene.
Craft beer is clearly a passion for the bar’s owners, it proudly boasts 12 draft lines and more than 40 different bottled beers from around the world, many of which I’ve not seen before in the North East. The fridges are also well stocked with local favourites including beers from Wylam Brewery (you can read more about them in my A-Z of North East Food and Drink).
Food has been given equal importance though and with Matthew Stephenson heading up the kitchen (formerly of Pan Haggerty, Lola Jeans and Slaley Hall), diners with discerning tastes will not be disappointed! Matthew has created a mouth-watering menu filled with hearty dishes that go perfectly with the beers on offer. Before training as a chef Matthew was a butcher so as you’d expect, there’s plenty of top quality, locally sourced meat on the menu and boy does he know a thing or two about roast dinners!
Before we tucked in to our generous mains, we whet our appetite with some starters. James went for a Jerusalem artichoke soup with crispy kale, nasturtium and truffle oil (he’s like a snuffling hog at the mere mention of truffle)! Whereas I opted for some halloumi and wild mushroom spring rolls from the bar snacks menu.
We were both very impressed with our choices, the soup was really thick and comforting and tasted very luxurious with that crunchy topping and drizzle of truffle oil, not your average pub grub that’s for sure! My spring rolls were hot and crispy and absolutely stuffed with all kinds of weird and wonderful mushrooms although as a cheese fiend I would have happily scrimped on those for a touch more of the halloumi, still, at £3 I certainly had no complaints!
As our mains emerged from the kitchen, our grins widened and soon after, so did our waistlines! The roasts were every bit as good as we’d hoped! James went for pork and I chose beef, both meats were perfectly cooked and served as one generous slice with all the usual trimmings plus a few unexpected surprises like honey roast parsnips and roasted beetroot.
We were offered all the usual condiments to by the friendly staff but it was the mention of ‘apple ketchup’ that caught our attention the most. This turned out to be a homemade apple puree made to the chef’s secret recipie that was unlike any shop bought apple sauce we’ve ever tasted, it was so incredibly moorish! We were also served a giant jug of gravy without having to ask, top marks for that!
We washed down our scrumptious Sunday lunches with some IPA (well, it would have been ruse not to!) James chose a Californian IPA but I kept it local with a bottle from Box Social Brewing which is produced just down the road in Newburn.
We could have happily stayed all afternoon, sampling the array of ales on offer, in fact I would urge Bottle Shop to invest a few comfy sofas to encourage customers to do just that as the mis-matched wooden furniture wasn’t the most comfortable. (Update: Turns out, some lovely Chesterfield sofas and armchairs have been introduced since my visit, nice one Bottle Shop!)
Sadly though we had to leave but we look forward to returning soon. James had spotted the match day offer of a beer and pork sarnie for a fiver and as it’s only a short walk from St James’ Park I’m sure it won’t be long before he’s taking advantage of that. Personally I’m looking forward to seeing how the Bottle Shop takes advantage of its great outdoor space in the summer, fingers crossed for a beer festival and BBQ!
What’s your idea of the perfect Sunday lunch?