When you have charming little places like Cafe Bistro Buee closing on The Side and being replaced with nasty dirge like “Tasty QFC” – it’s encouraging to see someone making a go of it on the Quayside. A flagship street for Newcastle should be filled with brilliant places to eat, and not just a stag/hen party thoroughfare.
Luckily, bucking the trend is the recently opened Redhouse (NE1 3JF), billing itself as a “meat pie and ale only” sort of establishment, sitting amusingly in the previous home of vegetarian food on the Quayside, Bob Trollops, which was looking very tired before it closed. Celebrating British Pie week this week (is there anything that doesn’t have a “week” these days?), we had a stroll along the river, with pies on our mind all the way from the Ouseburn…
Love: the pies. We’ve been through most of them: steak, beef mince, spiced mutton – they tick all the good pie boxes. You get no soggy bottoms, and rich tasty fillings with plenty of meat – these are gonna be satisfying hungry bellies ‘til the end of time. The pies actually come from the accurately named The Amble butcher – so expect consistency, and a certain safety knowing the meat is from local farms, not a stable, and cooked by a good ol’ butcher.
Love: the quality drinks selection. The usual suspects – Wylam, Allendale, Mordue are here, but a selection of great beers & ales is backed up by breweries from further afield. It’s the kind of place where you can do a lucky dip at the bar and always get a winner.
Love: special nights. Wednesdays offer two pies for a tenner and you can’t really say fairer than that. Monday gives you a pie & pint for £7.99. It’s a great way to get people through the door, and once you’ve had one, it’s a reliable “can’t be arsed to cook” tea. Doubling up on pies for a few extra quid is always tempting, as is the Man vs. Food style platter – watch this space for our victory attempt…
Like: the pub itself isn’t gonna win any awards for interior design originality, but is a mutli-roomed affair in a very old building. There’s a cellar-like cubby hole of a room playing host to live bands, a warm fire to lounge out at, and at the window seats, one of the best views of the Tyne in the city.
Like: pie accompaniments. Doggedly sticking to “just pie”, you complement your pastry filled case with a choice of mashes, peas, and gravy. Herby mash, and minted petit pois stand out, though we’re yet to give the traditional parsley liquor a go. The meat-based gravy packs just about enough punch but we’d like a bit more of it, and though the specials (mint & lamb, etc.) offer some variety, with such a niche menu – we’d be amazed if in a year’s time they are still doing “just pie”. Pie-themed desserts offered by the Pet Lamb girls are always canny.
Bonus point: the chilli infused vinegar. Whack it on your plate to enhance everything.
Hate: drinks prices. When you can go to The Broad Chare and get a cheaper round, you know something is wrong. Hope to see this improve as business picks up. As with sister venue Lady Grey’s – if you want prices, you have to ask.
So almost true love for the Redhouse. You know you’ll be satisfied with something miles better than a nearby microwaved Wetherspoons pub meal, and cheaper than a premium Broad Chare plate, so it has a canny niche of it’s own on the Quayside. Ideal also for an early start to a night out, or a post drinks snack better than a horse fat kebab or steak bake. We just can’t see people hanging around all night when a pint is always pushing £4 which is a shame.
Food hygiene rating: TWO (/5)