With these 5oC mornings lately, it seems as though the sun has finally gone down on summer 2014, and my those depressing dark early starts and finishes will soon be back. While I don’t understand people who prefer the autumn, or it’s bastardised name “fall”, there’s something to be said for autumnal food – and no, that doesn’t mean Starbucks patented “pumpkin fucking spice” in everything. It’s stews, risottos, celeriac and kale, all things gamey and fungi. That’s all to look forward to, but for now, here’s a quick snapshot of some of my summer highlights in eating.
If I had a quid for every time I’ve been asked, “where is the best afternoon tea in Newcastle”…I’d have a few quid to spend on another afternoon tea, of course. Can’t get enough!
It’s a hard life, but over the past few years, we’ve tried most of them. Here are links to some of my favourites, as well as some pics from some of the others too. Prices indicate “traditional afternoon tea per person” or thereabouts. (more…)
Update: Well that was short-lived. As of 18/9/14, head chef Glen has left The Blackbird. Shame!
The Blackbird Inn in Ponteland isn’t somewhere that would normally have been on my radar, however…it was recently bought out by some of the punters, who are obviously aiming for it to be up there as one of Ponteland’s premier eating and drinking destinations. Easy money?
We love it to death, but sometimes we all give Newcastle a bit of a hard time. It’s our city, and we all want it to be the best in the world. In terms of food, it’s not up to Manchester’s standard or whatever, but christ there are foodie blackspots that are considerably less glamorous, I mean, some places aren’t even trying to copy what goes on in London(!)
We went down to Hop and Cleaver during it’s opening last week. All things aside, it’s really great to see loads going on down the Quayside. H&C is the latest case of Newcastle going crazy over something which elsewhere has been, everyone has got tired of, and moved on from, but I guess it’s better than another vacant quayside restaurant. The marketing hype train is powerful at the Ladhar leisure group though, so as the heaving launch night proved, people just can’t get enough of this sort of stuff. Serve it on a tray, use more hyperbole on the menu than Jamie Oliver, be just “quirky” enough, win-win, right?
Supperclubs – all the rage, yeah? Skip the pricey “same-old” restaurants with their rarely-changing menus, go to someone’s house/unique special venue and eat food from relatively unknown but passionate chefs – sounds good right? They’ve gone from fresh idea to done-to-death quicker than Newcastle has gotten sick of “artisan” burgers.
Our visit to The Raby Hunt (DL2 3UD) was long overdue. For the past couple of years, it has been, and still is the region’s only Michelin star restaurant, with rave reviews from foodies all over the country.
Last week we finally got there, wahey! We had the three course lunch menu, which was good value at £28.50 and although the final bill came to nearly quadruple that, to be fair, there’s no better way to try Michelin star dining locally without spending ~£80 each (+ extras +wines) on a tasting menu. I’ll not delve too much into the intricacies of each dish, but here’s what we had on the day.
It’s been a hard month – mostly scranning Michelin style in July, given it’s my birthday month and all, but to be honest, I think I’m not alone in leaning more and more towards big plates of good food from the pub as my personal food heaven, rather than fussy over-dressed plates. Unfortunately with “gastro”pubs, though many try, label their burgers as “gourmet” and their chips as “hand cut”, they’re mostly the same – mediocre food with customary use of microwave.
Like most British people who have had a holiday anywhere in Spain since 1970, I absolutely love tapas. The concept, the sharing, the tasting, the passing round. But….it’s yet another gap in the Newcastle food landscape, as though you have your El Torero etc. none seems to be doing it amazingly well. Before seeing the excellent Dance ’til Dawn, we took a gamble at the Salsa Cafe (NE1 4AE) to see if it was any good. Six tapas for £26, and sangria just makes everything better, doesn’t it?