Every January it’s the same… colleagues and friends start to utter the dreaded ‘D’ word and even though I know I should probably join them on their calorie counting missions to drop a few pounds, it’s just too down right difficult! OK, I’ll admit to having pretty low will power when it comes to turning down food but here in the North East there are just so many amazing places to eat. As well as the ever increasing list of marvellous bars and restaurants, there’s also the return of NE1’s Newcastle Restaurant Week from the 19th – 25th January, so I doubt I’ll be dropping a dress size any time soon!
While we’re on the subject of food and seeing as this will be my last post of 2014, here’s a little list of some* of the places I’ve enjoyed eating at this year, Bon Appétit!
(*The list is actually never ending but below is just a small selection of some of the places that I’ve been meaning to write about for ages, for more restaurant reviews please click HERE)
Jam Jar Jesmond
James and I visited this little gem on Osbourne Road in Jesmond back in November and with it’s soft lighting, rustic furniture and impressive menu filled with heart warming comfort food, I felt myself relax from the moment we arrived.
The head chef at Jam Jar is none other than Steven Foister, a local fella with an impressive CV. He joined Jam Jar in October but prior to that he’d been delighting diners at Terry Laybourne’s Café 21, The Cherry Tree in Jesmond and Sidney’s in Tynemouth, as well as spending time honing his skills at The Ivy in London. Not bad eh? We absolutely loved everything we ordered including pork belly (me) the burger (James) and the Jam Jar Mess (two spoons).
One of the other highlights at Jam Jar is the cocktail menu, it’s not extensive but all the options are prepared to perfection and served up in the restaurant’s signature jam jars! Whenever you decide to visit you’ll be in for a treat as there’s always something going on, from quiz and curry night on Sundays, to Wednesday Supper Club when you can get three courses for just £12.95!
Miller and Carter
This relatively new addition to Newcastle’s dining scene has been widely written about since it opened, there have been mixed reviews but if you ask me, if you love a good bit of steak, great service and good wine in a fantastic city centre location, this is the place to be!
James and I are both big fans of the beef dripping sauce at Miller and Carter, it’s the perfect accompaniment to their delicious rib eye steak! And yes, that is another sharing dessert I’m pictured with above, I’m drooling now just thinking about it!
The restaurant was packed last time we were there, giving the place a really lively atmosphere which could only really be improved by a bit of live music. Perhaps a bit of jazz? For me that would make Miller and Carter completely different to anywhere else in town.
TIP – sign up to steak club online to get a free glass of wine.
Bierrex Smoke and Tap House
When Popolo closed on Pilgrim Street, just a stones throw from my office, I was gutted, it was one of my favourite places for a post work tipple. I waited eagerly for its replacement, curiously peeking through the windows of Bierrex while the transformation was in progress. When the doors finally opened in September, I was pleasantly surprised to discover a stylish bespoke interior which gave the whole place a much more spacious feel.
Instead of a cocktail bar overflowing with bottles there is now a fuss free counter behind which you’ll find 31 taps offering a wide range of craft beers. The new kitchen features a wood fired smoker which seems to have set a trend for American BBQ food in the Toon.
So far I’ve tried the Joe Burger and Cheese and the Black Rye and Brisket, both of which were absolutely delicious, with strong but not overpowering flavours. The portion sizes are just right for me as I often feel bloated after a burger, but Bierrex is about quality not quantity!
Tyneside Bar Café
I make no secret of the fact that I absolutely LOVE Tyneside Cinema, it’s one of the jewels in Newcastle’s crown. So when I heard there was going to be a new bar cafe opening in 2014, I was beyond excited. I took my mum here for a glass of champagne on the opening weekend and it was packed to the rafters but the service was still impeccable. It was the same when James and I went back a few weeks later to check out the food menu, our waiter was a young man named Tom and he couldn’t have been nicer or more professional!
I tried a selection of cured meat, cheese and bread, as nice as it was, I did have a bit of food envy when James’ fish arrived, it smelt amazing! He said it tasted really fresh and was cooked delicately just the way he likes it. Tyneside Bar Cafe is also perfect for coffee and cakes when you need a break from shopping.
This David Kennedy restaurant is a little bit off the beaten track but well worth the journey from Geordieland, just for the sticky toffee pudding alone, seriously the BEST I’ve ever had!!
I highly recommend the Sunday lunch at Vallum Farm, the countryside views are lovely and as well as being wined and dined in the fabulous restaurant you can also stock up on delights from the community of artisans who sell their wares here. There’s a Tea Room and Ice Cream Parlour, shop, bakery, smokery, florist and kitchen garden! The on site butchers is run by the renowned Robert Grant whose customers travel from far wide to buy his produce.
Where are your favourite places to eat in NewcastleGateshead? Share your suggestions in the comments box below!
By Rachel Kershaw