City Tavern

Tonight I met my friend M for drinks and dinner in City Tavern, a nice little pub just off Northumberland Street. So dog friendly it has a local hound and a wall of dog pictures, it also did fantastic chips, though the halloumi portions were so generous I might not eat for the rest of the week.*

*spoiler: I will.

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Lola Jeans

Lola Jeans is a bar / restaurant tucked just off Grey Street (on Market Street) and when I heard it did a mean line in cocktails, I had to check it out. Unfortunately, I didn’t actually get round to having a cocktail – it was early evening, and I was in the mood more for wine – but it’s definitely a place with promise. Because I met my friend around 5 the place was still too quiet to gauge its atmosphere or buzz, but I liked the decor – heavy on the brocade sofas – and the staff were friendly.

Butterfly Cabinet

In my mission to eat every brunch in the North East, today I ventured to Heaton to try The Butterfly Cabinet. A funky wee place with a laid back vibe not far from that other Heaton stalwart, Sky Apple Cafe, this is mixed rather than veggie but the vegetarian is well catered for. From a plethora of choices I went for the posh French toast and it was so tasty and filling I needed a little lie down afterwards…

The Biscuit Factory

Went for a birthday brunch to The Factory Kitchen at the Biscuit Factory, in the newly revitalised Ouseburn. I have been to the gallery before, and liked it, but never eaten at any of the eateries. The Factory Kitchen is, I think, the most affordable, and I will definitely be going back: the grilled cheese sandwich was one of the best I have ever had, and my companion was equally taken with her eggs Benedict. The only downside was it was so filling that even after we took a break to walk around the art and enjoy a pop up jewellery shop (the main gallery also sells some lustworthy pieces), we were still so full that her plan to buy me a slice of cake was thwarted and we had to settle for another coffee instead…

Pizza Punks

Located midway down Dean Street, new joint on the scene Pizza Punks is certainly striking: neon signs and bare brick, graffiti-covered walls. The menu is promising, and they don’t gouge you on toppings – there is a set price for their pizzas. But my first trip was a little bit of a disappointment, if I am honest.

The vibe is cool but slightly try-hard (we were called ‘love’ a little too often by the admittedly friendly staff), and our meal was marred by being 45 minutes late – their Wi-Fi went down, apparently, so our order disappeared, which made me rather wish that they had gone with the retro vibe and used a bloody notebook. The wine list is limited, as far as I could see (though my friend chose) – glasses, carafes and half carafes of white, red and prosecco.

The food when it arrived was delicious – the pizzas well-made and generous – but despite their numerous apologies for the delay, they only reduced the bill when we actually complained, which I felt we shouldn’t have had to do, since it had been commented on multiple times.

The desserts looked amazing and there were some great options on the menu, so I will probably go back, but will maybe give them a little time to bed in first…

Marco…Polo!

My friend F’s mum was in town as part of a sightseeing trip of the North East this week, so I met her for dinner. We had a wander down to the Quayside so she could see the Tyne Bridge in all its glory, with a stop off at one of my old haunts, The Red House, for a cheeky glass of wine.

Deciding it was wiser to eat halfway up Dean Street than try to scale the whole thing with full bellies, we went to Marco Polo. A fairly traditional, unfancy Italian place with friendly service and good food – my penne arriabiata was so deliciously rich I couldn’t finish it – it hit the spot for an unpretentious dinner.

You Only Live Once

While YOLO is a terrible name for a bar, this High Bridge spot isn’t bad at all (and also does great deals on food and cocktails). L and I were in town taking advantage of the free lunch vouchers I got from Pleased to Meet You in Restaurant Month, so after a quick wander around the shops we decided to nip in for a cheeky wine…