I love a night out in Newcastle but I have to be honest and say that The Gate had fallen off my radar in recent years. When James and I first met (many moons ago) we would often go to the city centre leisure complex for a drink in Bar Beyond and I have fond memories of us trying our luck in Aspers casino, but the last time we ventured in to The Gate was perhaps almost a decade ago!
We were recently lured back thanks to an invitation to check out the Superscreen at Cineworld. Rocket Man had just been released and I was desperate to see it so we eagerly accepted. When the lovely folk at The Gate realised how long it had been since our last visit they persuaded us to arrive early and experience one of the many dining options in The Gate too…
The Gate has an abundance of much-loved chain restaurants to choose from including Nandos, Pizza Hut and TGI Fridays, there’s even a Wetherspoons in there (the 18-year-old me lived on their burger and a pint deal)!
We decided to skip the familiar names though in favour of the rather intriguing Za Za Bazaar. This ‘world banquet’ buffet restaurant isn’t the kind of place we’d usually choose to dine in as our preconceptions of all you can eat buffets aren’t great, but I’m so glad we gave it a go because it massively exceeded expectations and I would definitely go back!
One of the things that I loved most about Za Za Bazaar is that so much of the food is cooked fresh to order at live cooking stations dotted around the restaurant. Not only does this mean fresh, tasty food cooked just the way you like but there’s less waste too.
The dining options are divided up by country of origin with vibrant signage letting you know what’s on offer and where. The humongous amount of choice includes Italian, Tex-Mex, Chinese, Indian, Thai and British cuisine. There’s also a large salad bar which I saw getting refreshed several times throughout our visit.
James started his feast with freshly made sushi while I couldn’t resist the crispy duck and pancakes. We also shared a plate of Chinese appetizers including prawn toast and dim sum. Everything was absolutely delicious! Neither of us could get over the choice and how tasty everything was.
For main course I almost switched from Chinese to Indian when I saw naan bread being expertly prepared and cooked in a clay oven at the Tandoori cooking station, they smelt so good! Temptation was everywhere, the pasta dishes looked divine too but in the end we both settled on a stir fry.
At the wok station you can choose everything that goes in to your dish, from the type of noodles to the amount of spice, it meant James and I could tailor our meals to our individual tastes. He likes his stir fry to be really spicy, me, not so much. He loves prawns, I prefer chicken. The cooking technique and the aromas that filled the air reminded us of eating at street food stalls in Thailand.
At Za Za Bazaar the set prices are based on a two-hour sitting, after we’d enjoyed our mains we still had plenty of time before our film was shown. So, despite the promise I made to myself to not be greedy I couldn’t resist ‘a look’ at the desert section of the restaurant.
This is where temptation got the better of me and before I knew it I was filling up my plate with fresh patisserie and swirling marshmallows under the chocolate fountain! James went for a creme brulee, the custard was burnt with a blow torch by the desert chef just before it was served. If you have a sweet tooth this part of the experience is heaven.
My overall impression of Za Za Bazaar was that it is absolutely fantastic value for money, there’s an incredible amount of choice and everything was really tasty. I will definitely be returning when my brother, niece and nephew next come to visit as it’s a great place to introduce kids to different types of cuisine. They’ll also love having free rein on that dessert section which definitely had Willy Wonka vibes about it with floor to ceiling clear tubes filled with jelly beans and smarties and a self-serve ice-cream machine.
Za Za Bazaar Prices:
Lunch (Until 5pm)* Mon -Fri: £9.99/ Sat : £10.99
Dinner (After 5pm) Mon -Thur- £13.99 / Fri & Sat £15.99
Sunday Carvery – £12.99 All Day
Child Prices – 0-4 yrs old FREE / 5-11 yrs old Half Price / 12+ Full Price
After our meal we headed upstairs in The Gate to Cineworld, admiring the impressive decor along the way.
It’s one of the biggest cinemas in the area, with sixteen cutting-edge screens including the North East’s first ever ScreenX and Superscreen plus 4DX. James and I usually opt for small independent cinemas so this was quite an unusual experience for us and we were hugely impressed.
I’ll probably make myself sound really old here but multiplex cinemas haven’t half changed in recent years! I would love to experience ScreenX which offers a 270 degree view or 4DX with its high-tech motion seats and special effects which include wind, fog, lightening and scents. Rocketman wasn’t being shown on those screens though, instead we took our seats in the Superscreen which featured a breath-taking wall-to-wall screen with 4k laser projection and Dolby Atmos sound.
The sound really did blow us away, especially as Rocketman is a musical. During some scenes I felt as though I had been transported in to the middle of the audience at an Elton John concert.
It was a sublimely comfortable experience too, we had tons of legroom and the leather seats felt very luxurious.
We both agreed that for big blockbusters or films with special effects we would definitely head back to Cineworld at The Gate.
Thanks for reading, if you enjoyed this review I’d love you to leave me a comment below!
*This post was a paid collaboration with The Gate but as ever all the views expressed are honest, independent and based on my personal experience.