Newcastle’s only Michelin starred restaurant (as at 2017), serving a one choice tasting menu that changes frequently and demonstrated fine cuisine
Having toured Scotland for 6 days it was time to head south / home and as I was passing nearby Newcastle on the A1 it made utterly no sense not to go in to try its Michelin starred jewel in the crown for lunch – and I’m very glad I did. The 7 course menu for £50 at Michelin starred level showed good value for money at lunch and there were some rocket fuel moments. The design of the food was intricate (details at the expansion button) and it was justifiably popular but you are far better financially going for lunch if the food is your key interest as the same menu bar one snack and main course is available in the evening for an extra £20. Reportedly the menu changes often and this shows flare and creativity from the head chef (Kenny Atkinson) unafraid of trialling different ideas which is a bold move. Some great food here and it is obvious a tidy ship is run on the dining floor by an attentive team. This venue would seem to cater for romantic or friend gathering occasions equally well, day or night.
First up these were some of the tastiest canapés I have had at any restaurant – and that is a very good start! The spiced fennel pollen and carrot macaroon was spritely; the duck liver with curried cone was slightly sour but intriguing, but the caramelised onion and cream cheese gougere was utterly superb! So many of these cheese puffs have an injection of cheese only but this gave the full magma of the good stuff, was brilliantly balanced and not overpowering and gave a full golfball size of the wonderful truffled cheese. I would happily divert a journey to Newcastle based on this one alone.
The white onion soup was a bowl of creamed delight (so well judged) and this was another knock out dish. The halibut was a fresh dish but also I didn’t get much joy from as there didn’t seem to be a unique selling point on it, but clean nonetheless. The red deer dish was earthy but sweet at the same time and with no issues in the actual execution of this dish. Then the pre-dessert of gentle and warm spices that really was a clever addition and in tune with the festive cinnamon-esque season. Finally, the dark chocolate and whiskey had the perfect crunchiness to the base and velvety chcoloate you could ask for – almost genache in quality and with gentle handling of the whiskey flavour which worked superbly.
All in all, this was a great menu and with most of the supporting acts turning out to be the stars, and those smaller aspects being strong enough in themselves to make me look forward to the excuse of going back again. The head chef changes the menus regulalry and this demonstrates a great confidence in itself (as opposed to sticking to a safe bet once an accolade is attained). The only gripe with this venue being the lack of any other menu choices and the fact that it is only one snack and main course extra in the evening but for £20 in addition. So, best value for the food only is lunch but evenings are evenings and I would happily come back here for the full ensemble whenever I can based on this first visit.
Food Grade: 84%
Location (Click google logo for directions)