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Dec 5, 2006 02:29 PM

Newcastle Recs

Work is sending me to Newcastle from Saturday until Thursday this week, then I'll be spending a few days in London as well. I've found plenty of recommendations for London, but haven't seen anything in Newcastle. Is there anyplace I really need to go up there, or am I down on my luck for food until I get into London? Thanks.

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  1. Just came back to San Francisco from Newcastle. I posted an inquiry before I went and got no responses. Guess it is not a chowhound hotbed. Here is what I found:

    For basic supplies and carry out food, go to big, well stocked, Marks and Spencer near the Monument metro stop. They also have a lunch counter and various eat in options.

    For Indian, I found 3 great places, all are white table cloth, mid-range prices with good, friendly service, probably need to book ahead on weekends.
    Komal, in an Indian neighborhood called Fenham, Balti style
    Kisii, at the metro station in Whitley Bay, African/Indian mix
    Valley Junction, in a rail car on a lowered lane and across the street from the Jesmond metro stop, Balti style (this owner has 2 other spots, but only got to this one)

    For Modern British, go to Royal Cafe near Grainger Market. Lovely for lunch or a sweet and coffee/tea/wine. Also, stop in at Grainger Market if you need some produce, cheese, or meat all displayed beautifully in little stalls. They also had eateries, but I did not partake at any of them.

    If you get a chance to go to the Sea, Tynemouth has a perfect fish and chips place on the main street called Mitchells.

    That is all I can reccomend, good luck and let us know what you find. I was visiting a friend there and she is starved for places.

    1. i'll throw in a few suggestions in case anyone else is looking for newcastle recs.

      Secco on Pilgrim Street does fantastic puglian food with a bit of sophistication. they do a lunch and early evening set menu, it's around 14pound for 3 courses. the guinea fowl confit is sweet and crispy and melts in the mouth. their orrechiette is the best ive had. Next door to this is Paradiso which does modern italian/med food, not bad for a quick eat.

      Black Door restaurant on Clayton Street West won the Harden's award for the UK's best new restaurant in 2005. It is french/british fare, i saw sea bream, duck confit, home made terrine with rabbit and foie gras amongst others. for lunch it is 16-25 pound depending.

      Pani's on High Bridge is a cheap italian, will cost around 25-30 for two for starters, mains, desserts and wine. the italian sausage is decent.

      comfort food company on pudding chare is traditional british food using entirely locally sourced ingredients (their suppliers are listed in the menu). this is probably my favourite place in town, examples of what ive had inclue lamb with a warm bean salad, tempura black pudding, homemade mackeral pate, decent steaks. the chips are fantasti, cooked in duck fat or something like that. the dessert puddings are probably the highlight though, rich and sweet and stodgy. best go here for lunch, 15 quid for 3 courses.

      blackfriars cafe is reputedly the oldest custom made restaurant in Britain, it was built in the 12th century for an order of monks. The food is okayish, though the wine list has been vote one of the best in britain. They have an eclectic menu, cooking british staples like fish n chips or sausage and mash with oriental or med twists, always using top notch ingredients. similar price to the above, but it is popular so you best make reservations.


      2 Replies
      1. re: missholmes

        I went to Secco for the first time on saturday and you couldn't be more right about the orrechiette - am so glad I took your recommendation, it was sublime, I can't stop thinking about it! I was really disappointed with the antipasti (we had a selection, nothing was worth finishing) and the desserts though (tasty but nothing special). Still, just for that pasta...

        1. re: missholmes

          update on secco. the first floor cafe and bar has been turned into a pizzeria of sorts, as Frederico has said, and a new ground floor bar is under construction at the moment. been back a few times with friends, had super halibut wrapped in pancetta on lentils, venison on broad beanes, and best of all, pan fried red mullet and rosemary with some sort of spicy orange glaze on a bed of barley . marvellous.

        2. I would second the recommendation for the Komal in Fenham (Stanhope Street). It has a sister restaurant in Jesmond, but Fenham has the benefit of being without licence so you can take your own booze and asha Indian sweet shop over the road for desert, I swear the food is better too.

          Secco is great, their new range of pizzas in the cafe (one floor below the restaurant) are really good and VERY reasonable at less than a fiver. In a city with a pizza price war, it's great to find a more authentic sourdough wood fired pizza so reasonably priced.

          Contrary to the poster above I've had some great deserts in Secco. The stuffed figs with walnut ice cream were amazing and the fig cake with espresso semi fredo very good.

          Heartbreak soup on the quayside and the Baltic (mainly for its views) are also good. Other places I love include, treacle moon (quayside) and for hearty cheap bait served with spot on beer away from the crowds (unless a band are playing) try the Cluny (Lime Street, Byker).

          The service is worthy of note too, very knowledgeable and helpful but friendly, approachable and very low key.

          Other places in the area to look out for are the cakes in Café Royal on Nelson Street, it’s a little cramped but their cakes and mini quiche are super. Although closed for refurbishment at the time of writing The Tyneside Coffee Rooms and Intermezzo are worth a look if you happen to be on or around Northumberland Street. The Tyneside is situated in the independent cinema of the same name and oozes art decor. Intermezzo is/was situated on the corner next to the box office and serves really good coffee and is great for breakfast on the hop with decent porridge or pastries.

          The fish and chip shop in Tynemouth previously mentioned is indeed great (though being a pedant its name is Marshall's), don't sit in though take your dinner and sit on the ramparts of the Monastery over looking the sea.

          For tasty fishy tit-bits the Fish quay at North Shields is great and again boasts a few good chip shops though none as good as Marshall's.

          For an amazing soup head north up the coast to Craster, famous for its kippers so pick some up whilst your there. There are a number of beautiful beaches up this way and I mean beaches like you will see nowhere else on earth, vast swathes of deserted sand overlooked by majestic castles. Anyway, back to my point. The Jolly Fisherman in Craster (you can’t miss it, this is a tiny village overlooking a small harbour) serves a great crab and whisky soup. Simple, effective and deliciously warming after walking along the unspoilt coast to Dunstanborough castle and back.

          Although Newcastle might not be the gastronomic capital of Britain it is by no means the ugly backwater betrayed by some on this site (whom I suspect have never been).

          1. emico, glad you liked the orrechiette!

            another good recommendation is fenwick's food hall, some pretty good cheeses, meats and salamis to be had there, and a half-decent bakery. The Cafe Royal bakery is superb, especially good is the walnut and fennel bread loaf. Cafe Royal also does good sandwiches for lunch and things like scones and cakes to go with a cup of coffee.

            There's an Italian Deli on Newlands Road near Ilford Road metro, not sure if it is still open as the last time i was there about 6 months ago the guy was talking about selling up, but some of their stuff is amazing. wines, salamis, prosciutto, cheeses imported from italy, they make a pescatora pate that is soooooo good, consisting of tuna, anchovies, olives, potato etc they also make fresh ciabatta and foccacia daily, and give you a free espresso while you order. think it is called tavasso.

            has anyone been to in sandyford, supposed to be pretty good. also wondering about

            finally, does anyone think there'll ever be a good Japanese restaurant in Newcastle?

            1. I went to caffe zonzo ages ago (years) and it was pretty good then, but things change, they've certainly had a refit.

              I've not been to the Grainger Rooms yet, the menu certainly didn't make me go oooh. I suspect it might be the awsome location that is the selling point. I'll reserve judgement until i've been though.

              Whilst we're in that area of town. I tried the revamped bar/restaurant at the northern stage (formerly the playhouse) last week. I had a lunch of kofta and a minted salad served with pitta. It was good and excellent value at less than a fiver. The full glass frontage looking out over the university was really nice. I enjoy people watching and there was plenty to see here from every seat. It really was much better than the location of the previous restaurant on the lower level.

              I've since been for coffee on a number of occassions and really like the ambience. Beware if you're going for a meal it will get chocker block just before show time.

              God, I hope there'll be a Japanese revolution. Years ago there was a legendary place in Low Fell, but a bit before my time.

              On the subject of far eastern, Mangoes is pretty cool and I really love the dirtly little greasy spoon place behind on high friars (the road that runs between the two segments of the gate. Its VERY rough and ready, has no licence, is full of smoke but has amazing roasted meats.

              On Fenwicks food hall, they finally seem to be getting it right and going for a more select range. i worked there when I was 18 and the buyers used to make me scream with the crap they bought in, it used to be like a happy shopper. I've recently had a few bad experiences with the bread counter though - half brown, half white loaves and stotties with currants in, urgh. Though they have a good range of polish breads that are not made on the premises.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Frederico

                the place in Low Fell, that was called Fumi i think. used to serve all the visiting execs at the Nissan plant. pity there is no really authenic japanese restaurant round now, ive been spoiled living in los angeles...