Christmas is a distant memory, we’ve all spent the last few weeks punishing ourselves for our festive excesses with restrictive diets and crazy exercise regimes (haven’t we? haven’t we?!) and then comes along Newcastle Restaurant Week with all its naughty temptation and blows it all out of the water. Well not quite, but it’s hard to resist all of the best restaurants in Newcastle putting together special Restaurant week set menus at bargain prices. It was also the perfect excuse, to try a couple of new (ish)
First up, was a stalwart of the Newcastle restaurant scene…
21 – 2 Courses £15, 3 courses £20
The Quayside in Newcastle has become a bit of a foodie Mecca over the last few years, especially since Kenny Atkinson opened his Michelin Star restaurant House of Tides. However, the OG of fine dining in Newcastle is Terry Laybourne, so of
The Restaurant Week deal was 2 courses £15, 3 courses £20 from the set menu, which we thought was an absolute steal given the quality and portion size, especially as the incredible cheese soufflé is £10.20 on the à la Carte menu.
21 is a restaurant you take someone you want to impress, perfect place to take your date and if your date hates this place, ditch them. You just don’t need that kind of negativity in your life…you can thank me later.
Route – 2 courses £10, 3 courses £15h
Route’s sister restaurant The Staith House on North Shields Fish Quay has been a firm favorite for a few years now, so I was keen to try out this little bistro on Newcastle Quayside. Their concept is small sharing plates a bit like tapas, although they vary in size from little snacks like the pig’s head croquettes with aioli, up to what you would probably consider main course size plates. The Restaurant week menu is a bit of a departure from their usual style, with the 2/3 course thing and it did mean that the portion sizes were pretty small. So, we decided to supplement with a few bits of the main menu too, 3 natural oysters with sherry vinegar, pigs head croquettes and ox tongue with beetroot and yoghurt. To accompany the game terrine, snapper in bisque, and pork belly. You’re probably thinking eurgh tongue? Head?? Well don’t knock it till you’ve tried it! Everything that came out of the kitchen was incredible! Flavour combinations that sounded a bit odd just worked so amazingly together, I can see why Route were awarded the Michelin Bib Gourmand because every dish is created with the same quality and attention to detail as any Michelin star restaurant I’ve been to, but with chilled laid-back surroundings. The style is very hipster, bare copper pipes and brick walls with wooden tables and exposed light bulbs dangling from the ceiling. This is a cozy, modern little bistro with impeccable food.
I’ve since been back to Route for their Sunday lunch and it was also mind blowingly good. Book now, this place is super popular!
The Patricia – 2 courses £15, 3 courses £20
Technically part of NE2/Jesmond restaurant week, but let’s not split hairs eh? Jesmond, just outside of the city centre also has an abundance of amazing eateries who wanted to get in on the restaurant week hype, and who can blame them?! I’d been
The restaurant week menu offered 4 starters, 4 mains and 4 desserts simple! To start we had the chicken liver Pâté with
We finished off the meal with a classic, a very rich dark chocolate mousse with salted caramel and hazelnuts which was to die for and an Affogato; beautiful bitter espresso and a generous helping of ice cream. Over all, I loved my experience at The Patricia, it’s absolutely one for committed foodies, they were awarded a Michelin Bib Gourmand recently and their reputation is growing both locally and nationally.
Uma mi – 2 courses £10, 3 courses £15
Opened just before Christmas, this pan Asian place in Eldon Square is the sister restaurant of Nudo in China town which I’ve been going to for 10 years or more, so I was intrigued to find out what their new concept restaurant was like. I’ve got to be honest and say I’m never usually all that excited about restaurants in shopping malls, I have visions of Maccas or Pizza Hut. Not that there’s anything wrong with those kinds of places, they all serve their purpose, right? But shopping centre food just doesn’t get me going. HOWEVER, I was pleasantly surprised by Uma mi. Being Pan Asian, they don’t offer starter and main course, rather a small dish and bigger dish and everything comes when it’s ready. So, between two of us we ordered nigiri sushi (small), Dragon sushi roll (large), chicken thigh yakitori (small) and chicken teriyaki donburi (large). And because we’re gannets and can’t say no to Korean chicken we ordered a portion of that as well, as an extra. It all arrived very quickly, which for a work day lunch or a bit of hard-core shopping sustenance is exactly what you want. We really enjoyed all of the sweet, sticky glazed, tender chicken and fresh, clean sushi as a good balance. I know purists would say sushi first then you eat hot dishes, but we both enjoyed plunging our chopsticks into the different dishes, back and forth. I would absolutely recommend Uma Mi for a quick lunch (we were in and out in 40 mins), an after-work cocktail and nibbles, or a pre-theatre early bird tea. It’s probably a little too casual for dinner, but that’s just my personal preference.
All in all, Newcastle Restaurant week was fantastic. We had a good mix of formal and informal, British, French, Mediterranean and pan Asian and it was the perfect opportunity to sample new restaurants. It’s great to see so many new places opening in the toon to challenge the old guard. Plus, I’ve already been back to Route and I’m still dreaming about that cheese soufflé at 21.
Newcastle Restaurant week is twice a year in January and August, but you don’t need to wait till the summer to try them out, Valentine’s day and Mothering Sunday aren’t too far away (wink, wink!) Many of these restaurants also offer early bird set menus along-side their a la carte menus so you can get out and try loads of them without breaking the bank.