Oh, January, how we hate you. Cold, wet, miserable and OH, what’s that? Newcastle Restaurant Week?
Scratch everything we said before, January is now awesome.
One of two weeks of the year (the other is usually September/October time) that those abiding near our city centre can benefit from discounted dinners and lunches across no less than 88 eateries within the NE1 postcode confine.
With offers typically at £10-£15pp (some venues may vary depending on dining time!), it’s a welcome addition to an otherwise dreary month, and kicks off on Monday 18th January until Sunday 24th January.
But with so much choice, how on Earth can you make a decision on where to go? Well, as an award-winning food blogger (you may have read my work over at Scran on the Tyne), I was asked to give you a little guide to the best spots to hit this Restaurant Week.
So without further ado, and in no particular order, my top 3 Restaurant Week picks…
The Earl of Pitt Street
Formerly a pub called The Greyhound, the quirkily-decorated and much-hyped Earl of Pitt Street is a stone’s throw away from St. James’ Park, with on-street parking outside. The owners come from restaurant stock, with the amazing Barn Asia and Electric East already under their belt and the latest venture is a feast for all the senses.
The new venture is pub food gone to heaven and the pub itself couldn’t be further away from the old days as a firm meet-up boozer. But what’s on offer during Restaurant Week?
Well, two courses for £15, which is an absolute steal, and a menu boasting delicious starters like Korean spiced tiger prawns, sweet corn and lemongrass dip to start, or the Shaanxi style lamb, lettuce cups and fried garlic.
For mains, you’re talking Pulled pork and leek crumble with roast onion and cheddar mash (which sounds like my idea of heaven!) and Chilli and sea salt crusted sea bass, with cumin lentil Dahl and raita, amongst many others. This has got to be one of the most extensive and varied menus on offer.
Veggies aren’t left out with a mere goat’s cheese tart, they can indulge in Chick pea and lentil patties, with tomato and chilli salsa, and chunky chips, or a Creamy Brie and sun-blushed tomato tagliatelle. And remember, you’re only paying £15 for two courses.
My past visit to The Earl was filled with fantastic food and (surprisingly) well-priced but great wine, so with a cheeky discount and a menu full of culinary delights, I can’t think of a better January antidote! For more information, you can read my review here.
Fuego, Fenwick Food Hall
The beautiful Fenwick food hall boasts a few fantastic eateries, including the Saltwater Fish Co. and Ko Sai, but my top pick for a reasonably-priced lunch with friends or an early tea is Fuego.
This Mediterranean-inspired restaurant and wine bar is the brainchild of 21 Group’s Terry Laybourne and Fenwick’s executive chef Kelly Richardson.
Typically, their menu boasts delectable tapas dishes, charcuterie and hand-stretched pizzas and the Restaurant Week offering will allow diners to enjoy a pizza and dessert, or three tapas dishes, for only £10 per person. For the seafood lover, we recommend the ‘Marino’ pizza, piled with tiger prawns, calamari, chilli, black olives and capers (typically £11 itself!) – A taste of the sea on a slice!
For dessert, you could opt for the traditional Tiramisu (usually £5), or Panna Cotta, my favourite, with luxurious vanilla cream and raspberry balsamic.
If you’re thinking tapas, why not plump for three of my favourites – the Spicy Meatballs with harissa and tomato sauce, Lamb cutlets with salsa verde (served pink!) and the Salt cod brandade with Sardinian crisp bread. When considering these dishes range from £5-£7.50 each, the Restaurant Week deal is even sweeter!
Discover more about Fuego here.
The Bottle Shop Bar & Kitchen
This place has taken the spot once home to Electric East and is a craft-beer haven meets innovative kitchen. Their bar is stocked with ales from exciting, independent breweries, alongside decent wines and the usual stuff. Needless to say, with a name like The Bottle Shop, this place is all about the beers.
I recently headed there for a fantastic 5-course tasting menu and can confirm, the food is fantastic. But it was always going to be, with Matthew Stephenson at the helm of the kitchen who has built his career at the likes of Pan Haggerty, Slaley Hall and Lola Jeans. The menu is designed by him and you can tell, because it’s packed with sophisticated plates that make the best use of local produce, as well as some reimagined old favourites. Rumour has it they also do a cracking Sunday roast, too.
For Restaurant Week, the venue is offering 3 small plates, served with matching tasting beers for only £10 per person. Yep, ten pounds. Crazily good value.
And for that, you can expect a smorgasbord of deliciousness, including Beef Shin and Root Veg stew with carrot and swede mash, Mussels with pancetta, sage and red wine baby onions and the Chargrilled Lamb skewers with pickled cabbage, chilli dip and mini naan bread.
For veggies, there’s the Vegetarian Arancini with classic Napoli sauce or Sweet Potato or the Smoked Cheese Spring Rolls with chilli jam (to be honest, this sounds wonderful whether you’re a veggie or not!).
Bear in mind you’re getting three small plates alongside accompanying matched beers for only a tenner – and I think you can agree this has got to be one of the best offers over the whole week!
Naturally, I could go on and on about the amazing offers, but I’ve got to start making my own bookings, so why not head to the Get Into Newcastle page and discover the offers for yourself. Booking details are explained on each venue’s page and offers vary. And I guess, the only thing left to tell you is to ENJOY IT. I’d love to hear your verdicts, drop me a tweet to @NE_Scran or head to the Scran on the Tyne Facebook page and share your thoughts!