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.
Whenever local bar snacks are mentioned, “proper” or not, it’s always The Broad Chare that gets the attention, and not a lot else. Rightly so, but we envisaged the opening of the “BC” as a kick up the arse to local pubs to step up their food game a bit. No-one in NE1 has seemed to take the bait yet, but local fish restaurant Irvins (NE30 1HJ) has just invested £100,000+ in a new bar area, focusing on…bar snacks. We were invited down to give ‘em a go.
Based in our very home town, it has taken us long enough to visit local take on pancakes with a twist, Pots and Pancakes (NE29 0BL), but now that we’ve been once, it might just become an addiction!
Open since 2005, and not far from North Shields Metro, hides the former Dragon’s Den contenders – no, they didn’t receive investment (boo!), episode is worth a watch here though. Nonetheless, some 25,000 pancakes on and doing better than ever, the girls even making an appearance at the recent Tynemouth Food Festival.
We go on a late Saturday afternoon, so thankfully not overrun with kids this time, but apparently they often are – probably a good place for a kid’s party. We go for a (massive) pot of tea, and a couple of the pancakes – choosing from a typical selection classic sugar and lemon (£1.95) and my choice (pictured), nutella and banana (£2.95). Also available are savoury offerings like goat’s cheese and spinach, and toasties. The pancakes should satisfy anyones sweet cravings, but the star of the show are the “pots”.
Despite being our hometown, North Shields isn’t exactly renowned for it’s great food unfortunately, something we hope will change with the fish quay redevelopment and restaurants such as Irvin’s, and now, David Kennedy’s new venture, River Cafe (NE30 1HF).
Appearing quite mysteriously last September without much fanfare or so much as website, we heard rumour of a set menu for £3.95 – and obviously had to check out this too good to be true offer. With fingers crossed that David Kennedy wouldn’t put his name to anything less than stellar, and that there would be no compromise in quality of food we headed along on Saturday afternoon, and thankfully, we were proven right in both cases.
The New Exchange is now CLOSED
Posh for North Shields, but…
A recent (sold-out) Groupon voucher gives us two steaks and wine for £16, not a bad deal – so we walked into NewcastleEat’s hometown to try a couple of courses from the latest in town on North Tyneside…
We visited this grade 2 listed building (NE30 1SE) on a Saturday night – it is quite pretty inside and out, and certainly a nice change from most dreary small restaurants in the North Shields/Tynemouth area. The courtyard area in particular looks like it would be nice for a summer evening drink.