*AD – Our meal was gifted for review purposes
When it comes to cocktails and dancing in Newcastle, Colonel Porters is one of my favourite venues. I’ve had so many amazing nights out there in recent years I have lost count. I even chose to have my leaving party at Colonel Porters when I left my job at Metro Radio, that was an awesome night! However… despite countless visits I had overlooked one of the best things about this quirky city centre bar… the food!
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Thankfully my eyes have now been opened to the lush menu and talented kitchen team thanks to a visit during NE1’s Newcastle Restaurant Week when dozens of the city’s restaurants offer the chance to try a three course meal for £15. That’s one of the great things about Restaurant Week, it’s the perfect opportunity to eat out at different places and discover new favourites.
Colonel Porters’ head chef Chris Finnigan had created a stunning menu of traditional dishes using seasonal local produce with modern twists. Far from your average pub grub, it was more like fine dining cuisine. This is unsurprising really given that Chris has previously worked in a two-star Michelin kitchen under revered chef Raymond Blanc!
There are lots of cosy corners and private booths dotted around Colonel Porters so even thought it was quite busy our little table for two still felt quite private. Our waitress was super friendly and immediately brought over two glasses of rum punch…
This wasn’t just a blogger perk, everyone who booked a table online during that week got a free drink! It was gorgeous too, the kind of drink that reminded me of being on holiday somewhere hot and sunny!
The food did not disappoint, we could really tell it had been prepared with impeccable attention to detail! For my starter I had a cheese souffle which came with a blue cheese sauce and Waldorf salad. I am a big fan of this dish and was delighted to see it had been cooked to perfection. The salad was the perfect accompaniment and I could have happily eaten it twice over!
James enjoyed his starter of cured trout which we were told had been cured in house then dressed with a zingy marinade of salt, sugar, dill and grapefruit zest and lime zest. It was also served with pickled cucumber, wasabi yoghurt and local samphire. The complex dish was clearly created with great skill, it was full and flavour and certainly impressed my foodie fella!
Our main courses were just as delicious; I enjoyed a hearty portion of braised shin of beef with smoked potato puree and James tucked in to a beautifully presented roasted chicken breast with dauphinoise potatoes and mushroom sauce. Both dishes were mouthwatering and made us think about how amazing the Sunday lunches must be at Colonel Porters!
Despite being rather full after those generous meaty dishes we couldn’t resist checking out the desserts. Trifle is one of my all time favourites so I had to try the the strawberry, prosecco and lavender trifle. James kept it simple with a refreshing lemon tart.
I could really taste the kick of alcohol in my dessert and not much of the lavender. If I’m honest, I think the contemporary twist on the classic dessert wasn’t really for me, I’d much rather have had it the good old fashioned way but it was still a delightful end to the meal.
James’ tart was served with raspberry sorbet which gave a nice balance to the citrus filling, the shortbread pastry was beautifully crisp, it was a definite winner!
Since Restaurant Week was such a success at Colonel Porters the team there have made a few tweaks to their menu, I’m loving the sound of the grilled peach salad and it’s great to see the lemon tart is a permanent fixture now!
If you’re looking for high-quality food and down to earth prices in a cool and quirky setting close to Newcastle’s Quayside, then you really can’t go wrong with Colonel Porters! Plus, don’t be surprised if the amazing cocktails and cool music keep you in there till the early hours!
*Our meal was gifted in return for an honest review.