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**UPDATE – Fisherman’s Lodge closed not long after and has not reopened**

Oh dear…

We are big advocates for the abandonment of Tripadvisor – in fact that’s why we started Newcastle Eats in the first place. If more people would look up some decent reviews of a place before going, rather than a quick browse on TA, we’d be happy. But sometimes you can’t ignore it – especially with classic management replies like this:

“your ingratitude…demonstrates typical bad manners of some people in this region”.

“your(sic) obviously another Egon Ronay – which seeing as he has gone is good to hear”

“we could not put (fish) on the menu for anything less than £30-£40 a dish”.

“i was told (my car) would be clamped…the manager threatened to set his german shepard(sic) on me”.

True comments or not, plentiful, and worth a read. The Fisherman’s Lodge – it’s reputation precedes it. Unfortunately, after a troubled buy-out in 2009, it looks like things are headed down the pan again – especially if a brief visit this week is anything to go by.

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Admittedly, they are having issues with oversubscribing a Living Social voucher – we see this far too often, and it’s impossible to pass the buck – it is purely the restaurants own decision. With something like 3,000+ sold, obviously they are struggling to cope at an already difficult time. We dived in anyway…

It’s never a good sign when attempting to book for the 10th+ time, the answer machine goes straight to a LS voicemail. When we finally do speak to owner/manager/dog-wielding man, he is rude, and abrupt, and doesn’t seem to want our business. Not a good start.

A quiet Wednesday afternoon is as good a time for taking tea as any – and a stroll through the Dene to get to the restaurant is lovely. The house is of course, gorgeous, and an empty restaurant offers “two courses for £15” – sounds alright: though it asks a fifteen-pound beef supplement(!?)

We are seated in the main restaurant which is looks-wise, not a world away from the main room at neighbour Jesmond Dene House Hotel. One member of staff indifferently asks “do you have a voucher?”…and plonks down a half-filled glass of champagne that is more Lambrini than Louis Roederer.

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Tea arrives, not a tebag in a cup like we have heard happening – but not loose leaf either. The tiny cake stand is a disappointing event, creaking at the joints and measly to say the least. If LS is to be used a vehicle to attract repeat visitors, then it has not succeeded. The sandwiches are, well, nothing. We’re not told what anything is, but we have egg (not good), a salmon, and a cheese. There’s finger sandwiches, then there’s these – tiny.

The scone is truly a true low point. Can’t really tell from photo but the bottom is somewhat like hard burnt toast. The “expensive clotted cream and jams” are an unusual whipped cream, and red jelly. Oh dear…

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Cakes – shame to call them that, are two unmemorable slices of (burnt) lemon loaf(?),  four burnt butter biscuits, and two OK profiteroles which are cancelled out by a very strange tasting lemon tart. Described as an “off yorkshire pudding” by the other half.

We hurry out. Such a prestigious house, setting, reputation, and romance, it’s a shame to see it, well, going to shit. A la carte may well be better, but with management and produce like this – not too keen to head back.

Seriously, perhaps some of the other foodies in the region would chip in with us for a buy-out?

Try Afternoon Tea at SIX at the Baltic for something much better.

Contact: – or call up for a laugh.

Information correct as of 30 June 2012

Champagne afternoon tea for two: £50 (paid £22 via LS).

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