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…

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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…

Under the Bridge

If yesterday presented all the reasons I missed Brighton, today was a splendid reminder why I moved. I had recently reconnected online with one of my best friends from college, with whom I had lost touch when, in pre-Facebook or email times, I moved away to university. I was a little nervous about seeing him – it’s been 3 decades, after all – but from the moment he turned up at my door it felt like old times, and what started out as brunch near his swanky new flat turned into drinks then dinner and getting home 12 hours later – frankly, it might take several posts to cover it all!

First stop though was the new container yard on the Gateshead side of the river. A short walk from the town centre (or over the swing bridge from the Newcastle side), it’s a great use of previously neglected space. We decided on the Backyard Bike Shop, a cafe / shop hybrid (I think – there seemed to be something going on at the back I wasn’t paying attention to) that turns into a bar in the evening. A very generous avocado on toast (egg done exactly as I asked – always my test) went down a treat, and though I was initially suspicious of the toilets being in a separate container I was pleasantly surprised to find them plentiful, clean and in good nick.

Sated, we strolled along past the Sage to the Baltic Mill – which I will cover in a separate post – then returned to go next door for drinks.

Unfortunately it was, in Geordie parlance, hoying it down, so we couldn’t take advantage of the outdoor seating, but there was a good selection of beers on offer and a couple went down a treat.

Where did we go next? Stay tuned…