Breakfast@Quay Ingredient, Newcastle

Quay Ingredient is a small, independently run coffee house tucked underneath the Tyne Bridge near the picturesque Quayside area of Newcastle. We’ve heard it is one of the best places in Newcastle for breakfast – so we are here to find out if it is.

One of the regional specialities is the Craster kipper and this seems like a good time to have one. My enormous kipper comes with two beautifully poached eggs, each lightly dusted with black pepper and with plenty of toast. Rock goes for another speciality of the North-East, the stottie. Her breakfast stottie is buttered and filled with bacon, to which she adds ketchup. She loves it.  We both have an excellent coffee – they use Gama Espresso from Matthew Algie.

P1010975a

The place is packed but the service is friendly and efficient. The food is all high quality and freshly cooked. What a great start to the day!

 

 

 

Dinner@The Red House, Newcastle

And now for something completely different….Forget fine dining, forget amuse- bouches, forget anything that even looks like a salad – this is dinner at The Red House, Newcastle and they are specialists in a pie and a pint! We are heading there with our fabulous friends Gino, Cosmo and LN for dinner after already enjoying a glass or two of prosecco.

There are a wide range of ales and pies on offer. The Red House has a beer menu that includes several local beers on tap and around 40 more bottled varieties from around the world. Between the five of us, we try almost all of the beers on tap. The pie selection is almost as wide ranging and are supplied by award winning The Amble Butcher.

Each diner chooses a pie, a type of mash, a style of peas and a choice of liquor (personally I call it gravy). The following pies are selected: beef, mushroom & red wine; minted lamb; chicken, chorizo & sweet potato; steak; and spinach, goats cheese, sweet potato & onion chutney. Some of us have creamy mash, others have confit garlic mash or dijon mustard and honey mash. There are minted peas, mushy peas and Gino is extra adventurous by having the pease pudding. Everyone chooses either the red wine liquor or the meat liquor – though there is also a vegetarian parsley liquor on offer.

The pies are superb – beautiful pastry and the fillings are both interesting and tasty. We carry on sampling the beer and we are having a great night with our lovely friends.

The Red House is very good at what it does….completely unpretentious, simple comfort food for beer drinkers. If you are in Newcastle and you like beer, pies and a lively atmosphere then this is the place to be.

Lunch@Violets, Newcastle

The road trip has reached Newcastle and it’s lunchtime. As we walk round the city centre there are hundreds of places to eat but they seem to be filled with people who are simply drinking and not eating! Violets is unusual in being an unlicensed establishment in Newcastle. Even more unusual for us to choose to eat there – given my affinity with beer and wine. But, we go in because the food being served looks so inviting.

Non-alcoholic drinks can be boring but not here. I have a fabulous pink grapefruit juice while Rock has the botanically brewed Fentimans Curiosity Cola. Violets is a small cafe but it offers a great variety of freshly cooked dishes. Rock and I share a substantial bowl of tagliatelle carbonara with garlic bread. The pasta is beautiful and mixed plenty of good quality pancetta, real mushrooms and a delightfully creamy sauce.

P1010946a

Rock moves on to a fine lemon & raspberry drizzle cake, while I enjoy the rhubarb pannacotta. Pieces and shavings of rhubarb, plus honeycomb that carries an impressively strong honey flavour, all sit on the set pannacotta. Remarkable!

P1010953a

Not the sort of experience we had expected to find in Newcastle…but we love it. Great, friendly service too!

Postcript: Violets tell me they do have a license which they use for serving Prosecco with their afternoon teas.  Violets was named as one of the Top 30 places in the UK to visit for a classic afternoon tea!