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What We’ve Been Up To Autumn 2013

It has been a quiet & confused few months on the blog, but behind the scenes, we’ve been go go go. Apart from living off sweet potato wedges and hummus, we’ve been to a ton of “blogger” type things. Here’s your amuse bouche.

Gingerbread House Challenge

gingerbread house lisa vincent

As detailed here. Well, we definitely didn’t win but it was the taking part that counts. A great event for a fantastic cause – dip into your pockets and share a fiver, or enter for next year. We’re set on winning in 2014 with the basic strategy of using actual home-baked gingerbread this time, and, not constructing it the day before the competition. Check out the amazing winner by Lisa Vincent above. The glass is gelatine *mind-blown*.

The Cherry Tree Jesmond

the cherry tree jesmond mackerel

Many years ago, a special birthday meal was called for, so I delved into TripAdvisor Newcastle, and picked the #1 restaurant because, hey. that’s the best one, right? It was The Cherry Tree, in Jesmond, so not really Newcastle, and not really the best. It was OK. But out of it, this blog was born…

Happily, things have improved. Speaking to the lovely restaurant manager, the restaurant seems a lot more focussed and generally clued up. Check out the well-presented mackerel above and similarly, a humongous portion of pork belly went down well. It’s a shame, as usually this would have been best of the rest in Jesmond, though it comes at an unfortunate time when Peace & Loaf has opened just a few minutes away, and seems to be serving some good stuff. Still, do they have a live band?

YO! Sushi Mega Katsu Curry Event

flickr yo sushi mega katsu

Receive invite to YO! (just can’t use that ridiculous exclamation point) Sushi. Wonder if it’s worth going to, so, set lowest expectations. Be surprised! The actual sushi has gotten any better since a previous visit – our £4.20 worth of salmon tastes of…nothing really, though things pick up with an octopus dish which comes as lovely little deep-fried balls of guilt sprinkled with bonito flakes.

The main event is a 3x regular portion size “super mega katsu curry” which sounds daft, but was actually spot on. It’s not fine food, but it is filling, morish, and you cannot complain at the value of it for £7. Can imagine it would be great with the xmas shopping crowd, or pre-heavy night out, but me, well Fenwicks food hall next door has started doing some delicious pies, pastries and breads…

Take note, chain restaurants of the world: good service like that from the canny team here can go some way to making up for your lack of gastronomic freedom.

The Br…oad Chare…idge Tavern

the bridge tavern crispy lambs belly

Been very eager to visit here, given that they poached a chef from The Broad Chare, and initial impressions seemed like they poached a lot of the recipes too. It, almost disappointingly, is everything you’d expect. Think Broad Chare if it wasn’t run by the 21 team, and you’re on the right track. Great food and drinks selection, popular with the hipsters, a proper reliable social pint experience, and more wallet-friendly than TBC.

Our meals hit the spot – all of the bar snacks, pickled veggies, beans on toast and the haggis toastie are “gastropub” delights, and the crispy lamb’s belly was especially delicious until I had that pant-crapping moment when you chomp down hard on a huge piece of bone. Fair enough, it happens, but the staff response of “I’ll let the kitchen know”? OK, thanks for that…

Afternoon Tea at Brewdog

brew dog afternoon tea newcastle

I don’t know how Brewdog has escaped being poured over on here up until now. Perhaps it’s as every night there leads to some biblical hangovers the next day? This bloggers-type event, afternoon tea “with a twist” (what is this, Professional Masterchef 2013?) was absolutely no different. Essentially matching Brewdog’s signature beers with cakes from Pet Lamb Patisserie, we dutifully dispatched with dark porter/brownies and hoppy/fruity/cupcakes, along with the decent-when-you’re-pissed meat & cheese board.

As fellow diner/drinker Lauren wasn’t that keen on the darker, 7%+ beers, I ended up finishing those too, which continued my 100% run of Brewdog hangover headaches. Dry head. Anyway, despite their faux-punk image, the beers at are all pretty great, and if you’ve missed it/not been able to get in on Grey Street – get down and have a gander. If we are going to have chains/larger pub empires, at least be as good as this! Also guys, the local farm shop pies are delicious, but £4.70 is taking the piss.

Day tripping

flickr friends of ham

It’s not somewhere we usually visit but it seemed we were spoiled when asking for recommendations of places to go in Leeds. One in particular has stood out for a while though – Friends of Ham, and with a name like that you can’t really go wrong. A great concept bar/communal food area, it was busting at the seams last Saturday aft, and all for simply plating up meat and cheese with great drinks? A great idea, wonderfully realised, and another thing the toon “needs”.

Also – a quick chocolate at Hotel Chocolat‘s brand of coffee shops, Roast & Conch. Gorgeous, silky hot chocolate drinks as you’d expect, and the lovely chocolate tinges in our bread & oil platter were joyful. It’s all chocolate, and that’s an idea I can get behind – try the chocolate balsamic (available in the regular shops), and especially the chocolate butter. Bonus – it’s just across the road from Ham.

Next Up?

New openings all owa. Hopefully, House of Tides within a month, Peace & Loaf, The Sausage Emporium, The Herb Garden. Good times! What are we missing?

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