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.
Along comes The Staith House, a complete refurb of the old “get stabbed” pub on the North Shields fish quay, The Dolphin. It’s John Calton’s second riverside restaurant, after working in the popular Harbour Lights just over the river . He was in the final of Masterchef: The Pros, so opening his own place was kind of inevitable, though it’s the polar opposite style from fellow Masterchef-er Dave Coulson of Peace & Loaf – a cracking little pub doing good ingredients simply.
The best bit? They’re now doing an early bird menu, which I reckon is probably the best value going. Anywhere. Mon-Fri 12-3 / 5:30-7. 3 courses £10. Here’s what we had, from the changing daily menu.
You know what this is going to say, right?
I think over the past few years, we’ve scoffed nigh-on every afternoon tea in the region, and long story short, the Jesmond Dene House offering is technically “the best” afternoon tea around. It’s not my idea of perfect, mind.