cupcake decorating copthorne

Cupcake Decorating at The Copthorne Hotel

So, all the #NEBloggers have been cooing over a recent series of events with digital marketing agency Joe Blogs Network, who organise brand-themed events for bloggers to promote as part of their PR machine. Having missed comical tie-ins like “Retro Bingo” and “Coffee with Currys” (somehow making a tenuous link between Currys electrical goods and making espresso martinis), I went kinda against my better judgement to their latest shindig – a cupcake decorating class with afternoon tea at the Copthorne Hotel (NE1 3RT). Needless to say, I’m incredibly cynical about the relationship between bloggers and brands, and some of the truly shite content that is a result of that. (more…)

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longhorns bbq newcastle review

Longhorns BBQ, Newcastle Review

I first encountered Longhorns Barbecue Smokehouse (to give its full name!) at the Boiler Shop Steamer, where they were putting out huge pulled pork and brisket sandwiches for a fiver (ah, when the Boiler Shop wasn’t about undervalued tokens and entry prices…) and was hugely impressed. This was back when there wasn’t a “smokehouse” or “real deal BBQ joint” opening every week in Newcastle.

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angeethi curry

Spice & Sommelier Evening at Angeethi, Gateshead

Angeethi in Gateshead/Low Fell (NE9 5HY) is one of those restaurants that I always hear high praise about, but always forget to visit, despite living just around the corner. That changed when I was recently invited to a one-off “Spice & Sommelier” evening, aiming to to prove that wine and curry can live together in harmony. Eight courses, eight wines – sounds like my kind of night…

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pleased to meet you martini lunch

Martini Lunch at Pleased to Meet You

Perhaps known more for their extensive selection of some 40+ gins and a hefty list of well-made cocktails, Pleased to Meet You (NE1 1EW) has never been high on my radar for their food offering. Expected: typical Ladhar Leisure bar bait – high on style and maybe not so much on substance. I feel that their venues in town are firmly drinks first, food second.

The recently launched “Martini Lunch” –  is a bit of a twist on afternoon tea I guess, offers six or twelve picky bits from a “grazing board” bar snack menu, and two cocktails for £25. Given that two martinis will normally set you back around fifteen quid, it’s good value if you can find a tenner’s value from the food. (more…)

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the running fox felton pie and sandwich

Afternoon Tea at The Running Fox, Felton

It seems like a while since there’s been yet another afternoon tea post on here – to be honest, I thought I’d found afternoon tea perfection at The Cleveland Tontine and the search could end there. But everyone who has ever bought a cake stand seems to be putting on afternoon tea now – I’ve even seen it at a few pubs in town which, by the way IS JUST WRONG.

Anyway, there’s been a lot of chatter recently about somewhere quality in Northumberland doing good with all things pastry. I hadn’t heard of it myself, but The Running Fox in Felton (NE65 9EA) is a bakery/hyperlocal cafe which, having been open for four years, are doing pretty well for themselves right now. I’m usually sceptical of the smaller, lesser known café – more infamous for the morning visit from the Brakes/3663 van, so thought maybe this was another case of Twitter people riding the hype train.

But colour me impressed, it’s fab. (more…)

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earl of pitt street cheese

The Earl of Pitt Street, Newcastle

A lot of people over on Twitter had been asking about the newly opened Earl of Pitt Street, so I thought I’d share some photos of some scran I’ve had there so far, as aside from a Facebook page, there’s not been much fanfare.

A new venture from the ever-popular Mark Lagun of Electric East (among others), “The Earl” is pitching itself as a gastropub at the former site of The Greyhound (70, Pitt Street). That was a pub where I’m told, there was often sawdust on the ground “to soak up the blood”. Lovely! It’s the last remaining pub at the old brewery site though, so respect to Mark for keeping it a pub, as that area holds a lot of history to a lot of people.

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tyneside bar cafe hot dog

Tyneside Bar Café Review, Newcastle

Honestly, I’ve always loved the Tyneside Cinema. It’s one of Newcastle’s under-appreciated landmarks. Open since 1937,  you just can’t put it in the same breath as the Odeon, Cineworld, and the other shite cinema chains that populate every city centre.

If the Tyneside Cinema – grand, classic, and charming in equal measure is the picture house equivalent of The Shawshank Redemption, then consider whichever faceless cinema it is in the Gate, Gigli. The Tyneside endeavours to evoke memories of cinema of old – the non-CGI, actual curtain drawing before every film; Britain’s last remaining full-time newsreels; the fact it was designed and built by Ridley Scott’s uncle. Yes, it’s a quid more than your Cineworld, but it’s an experience in itself, and it’ll make you think twice about going back to a retail park to sit among sweaty popcorn-throwing gypos for your next cinema visit. It’s the best cinema in town, and probably the best in the North East.

ANYWAY. The TC has always had a number of food options for pre-movie snacks, and now there’s a new one – the slightly awkwardly named Tyneside Bar Café. They’ve employed a serious head chef – Tom Adlam, an alumnus of Café 21, so obviously this is where they are taking their food most seriously. Is it any good though?

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the botanist scotch egg

The Botanist, Newcastle Review

Ah, it seems like only yesterday the Newcastle lost their collective minds at the opening of chain favourites, Jamie’s Italian and Carluccios in town. We’re truly a bunch of magpies, as even though those particular hype trains seem to have passed, it’s now onto the latest new and shiny thing this season, The Botanist (NE1 5AU).

Those PR girls over at OPR must be doing a bloody good job because it has been heralded with considerable fanfare since it opened, quickly propelling it to “talk of the toon” status. Having been to and loved, sister venue The Alchemist in Manchester, I thought, great, we’re in for another quality cocktail bar with well made cocktails to match. Which can only be a good thing. Right? (more…)

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autumn 2014 featured

Autumn 2014

So…Christmas 2014 has been and gone. It’s been a good one, but I’m definitely already looking forward to properly getting cracking in 2015 and getting “back on the wagon” – in both actually writing on here, and trying out a meat-free and alcohol-free January given that the festive bloat is at 7lbs and rising…oh boy.

The past few months have been only mildly interesting with a few new openings in Newcastle – some good and some bad – as well as a couple of great new events. There hasn’t been any Michelin star goodness to report on, or even any meal which I would say was brilliant, but here’s the last three months in my eating, in pics and a handful of easily digestible words. (more…)

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perfect banana bread

Recipe: Perfect Banana Bread

We’ve been on a bit of a health kick this week, buying only fruit and veg from the Grainger Market in an effort to cut down on the norm of pasta/bread every single day. The veg bit went well, but as for the fruit, well the bananas, despite a smoothie here and there, always outstay their fruit bowl brethren – and end up in one of my favourite easy bakes.

There’s always a few hanging around, this takes less than ten minutes to prepare, and I’ve made it so many times, this is absolutely a perfect  version for me.

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