Jumping on the bandwagon of end of year awards, here’s our take on it. We’ve ate a lot in 2011, and these are just the one’s that have stuck in the mind the most for being tasty and delicious, if not the most expensive or technically amazing dishes. Let your turkey leftovers settle today and perhaps pay any of these guys a visit in the coming year.

Favourite Restaurant of the Year 2011

THE FEATHERS INN

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Very hesitant to call it a restaurant, being a “gastropub” and all, but if we have to describe our favourite eating times of the year, there’s always two words that come out time and time again, “THE FEATHERS”. We haven’t had a bad bite yet, from our first visit fofr a birthday treat, through the Seven Bridges Popup Restaurant coolness, to the street food at EAT. The team won another ton of awards this year including UK Pub of the Year, and we have to agree. Can’t wait to get back for NYE!

Best Starter

SCALLOPS & BLACK PUDDING AT SIX

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Stunning surprise from our first visit to the Baltic’s upstairs restaurant. A sweet and savoury hefty portion of a classic combination of flavours done with a deft touch. Instantly securing a return visit from us, and a wondering why they don’t feature in The Good Food Guide 2012?

Honourable mentions: Malmaison Frito Misto, The Feathers Inn black pudding, Food Social Onion Bhaji

Best Main

BEEF FILLET, BONE MARROW, SWISS CHARD & BARBAJUAN AT JESMOND DENE HOUSE

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Poor photography captures a stunning piece of Tim Oliver Galloway beef as the meat part of the tasting menu at Jesmond Dene House early this year. Melt in your mouth beef, care and attention with the vegetables and a superb barbajuan – everything you could possibly ask for from a meat dish, and a superb matched red wine. This was really the icing on the cake of a superb seven course delight.

Honourable mentions: Black Door Brasserie Braised Oxtail, Raval Meat Platter, Caffe Vivo Lamb Rump, Malmaison Lobster Spaghetti

Best Dessert

STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING @ PAN HAGGERTY

A poor effort in desserts from us this year (as you can tell by lack of photograph) – we’re usually too full of lovely mains and bread to manage the third course. The ones we did have though, were mostly good – and the best was my all-time sticky toffee pudding at Pan Haggerty. Piping hot, sweet and sticky, exactly as it should be. We’ll be back soon for Restaurant Week 2012!

Honourable mentions: The Feathers Inn Apple Crumble, 21 at Home Rhubarb Crumble, Malmaison Poached Pear

Best Snack/Single Item

NEW ZEALAND GOURMET PIE COMPANY MINTED LAMB PIE

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We spend most of our time grazing, so tons of entries here – a very close call, but if we had to pick one thing to eat now, it would be from the new on the scene pie company – and a personal favourite, the minted lamb. Meaty, satisfying, filling, and above all, really, really tasty – a definite winner. No personal photo of one, far too busy eating them for that…

Honourable mentions: The Broad Chare hand raised pork pie, The Broad Chare scotch egg, Blagdon farm sausage rolls, Chilli & Fennel Corn Again, Sachin’s Onion Bhaji, Doddington Dairy double ginger ice cream, Lottie McPhees Vanilla cupcake

Best Drink

FENTIMANS JOHN HOLLOWS GINGER BEER

Another surprise find this year – we’ve been devouring Fentiman’s regular range for ages, but the discovery of this alcoholic ginger beer literally took our breath away. Always surprisingly good, refreshing, moreish, thirst quenching – a stunning drink we wish we could find in more places. If you have even a passing interest in ginger beers, you’ve got to try this.

Honorouable mentions: The *TeaShed Baby It’s Cold Outside tea, Davenports Hot Chocolate, Victory Tea Number One Blend, Fentimans Dandelion & Burdock

…Worst of 2011

FLAVOURS INDIAN BUFFET

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We made the critical error of visiting this buffet because it was cheap. Cheap flood rarely pays off, and we were disappointed (even at £8 for two people) with the poor excuse for Indian food on display here. Many people on our comments page echo our views that the quality of food here is unappetising and simply unacceptable. Head along to The Scrumpy Willow & Singing Kettle nearby instead!

Honourable mention: Lau’s Chinese Buffet

Thanks for taking the time to visit us, have a wonderful festive period, and look forward to eating in 2012!

Us at Newcastle Eats x

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