Thursday, 4 April 2013

A Review of sorts: Grainger Market in general, Lindsey's To Go and mmm... in particular

Today's Menu
Easily one of my favourite bits of Newcastle is the Grainger Market. As a student I used to come here with my housemates and carry away as many cheapo frozen pizzas as our under-nourished hands could grasp. I think they were only about 50p each, and yes, they were as grim as hell. But: 50p! The nasty-ass freezer shop that flogged these is now gone, and among the traditional butchers and grocers are these days a liberal sprinkling of more worthy residents. There is a great mix of places to get some excellent supplies; top notch cheese at Matthews (they have our favourite ever blue; Cashel), to Pumphreys' great range of coffees; The French Oven do a fine range of breads and baked goods (including very decent macarons), and there are relative newcomers like Pet Lamb Patisserie. In amongst all this lot are hardware stores, a stall that sells collectible gaming cards, another hawking Mills and Boon, and of course the fine institution that is the fabulously and glamorously named "Cheap Tab Shop". Come ye, for herewith the stuff of life, in all its wondrous forms.

There has also, fairly recently, been the happy proliferation of a number of units selling really great food to take out, and it was to one of these I had planned to dash on today's lunch break. However I was to be foiled as the brilliant Pizza by the slice place on aisle 4 is closed until tomorrow. I stared blankly at the sign for a second, shook a disgusted fist in the general direction of the gods of scran, then desperately tried to redirect my hunger towards something other than pizza, which is hard when you've been thinking about pizza. Fear not for me dear traveller as all was very much not lost; I wandered past "Lindsey's To Go" on the way out.
Paulo de Sousa Gama mans the woks as a punter looks on, ravenously
Opposite Lindsey Brothers Fish (my pick of the three of or so fish stalls) for the last couple of years has been this fine eatery, which cooks up various selections of what you can buy in raw form from the market stall. The chef by all accounts used to be the private chef for Luis Figo (of Barcelona and Real Madrid fame, and more latterly an advocate of Just For Men); I always want to ask how one makes the journey from being the private chef of a World Player of the Year to the Grainger Market, but I never do. Too shy. Regardless, the combo of good prawns, noodles, chorizo, ginger, garlic and a spicy tomato sauce become in this man's hands an absolutely top-rate lunch for just under a fiver. The portion is generous; plenty noodles and must've been 7 or 8 tiger prawns, which were whoppers. I know, I know; I should've had something local like crab or kipper; well, tough I fancied prawns. Seeing as I've rated other meals on here, I shan't stop now; it's a 9/10, for a delicious, great value lunch, only loosing a mark for being just a tad heavy on the oil. If you work in town and like fish, get yourself here for a thoroughly restorative and tasty lunch.

Image: mmm...
While in the environs I also had a look at the new drinks offering from Simone and Ian Clarkin in their newly extended stall mmm..., which they've named glug. At the risk of foodie hagiography, it has to be said that these guys have brought a whole range of ingredients to cooks in Newcastle that just wouldn't be here otherwise, especially if you're into mexican or asian foods, or like to bake at home, and what's more they are really friendly while doing it. It always amazes me how large a range they cram onto their shelves. The new selection of wines is small but perfectly formed (Simone saying they wanted to start slowly then increase the range) with some really interesting looking bottles that will need further consideration. Apart from Fenwicks and Waitrose, the city centre hasn't had anywhere to buy interesting wine since Oddbins closed, so this is great. However, right off the bat, the range of craft beers they've got is really good, probably better than anywhere else in town by some way. I forgot to take a pic, so here's one of theirs...

Image: mmm...
Accompanying me during the typing out of this post have been "Sublime Chaos", a coffee-infused stout from Morpeth-based Anarchy Brew Co and "Lotus IPA", an offering from Ilkley Brewery. I'd never tried either of these before, but I will again as, to cut a long story short, they're both shit-hot brews.

These made this evening very pleasant
So anyway, the moral of this story is that Grainger Market is a bit brilliant. Without it the town centre really would be a bit of a shell so I hope it continues to thrive. If you like fish or beer (or cheap tabs, or whatever), you know where to go.


  1. Slice is my goto lunch destination when I head to the market - in fact, more often than not I venture into town specially on a Saturday to get my fix. Lindsays is a good fall back though and the fish and chips is good value. Been a big fan of mmmm since they had a smaller corner plot in another part of the market. All in all been loving how Grainger has improved over the last few years

    1. Agreed, agreed and agreed! I remember when mmm... first opened on the smaller site, I worried that they were a bit out of step with the rest of the market. Really glad that they've lasted and thrived.


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