|Pulled Pork Bun|
Sited just opposite the coach station, Lane 7 has been open a few months now. I popped in for a beer not long after opening to have a squint at it and thought it all looked rather good. A "boutique bowling" alley, the restaurant serves up a menu of Americana in an All Star Lanes sort of way, while the short drinks list offers some very worthwhile choices. I can't for the life of me remember what, if anything, was here before, but it has been done out very nicely, with reclaimed filament lighting and turquoise blue leather banquet seating echoing the spirit of this particular age. Sat next to the bowling lanes, I found the perpetual thwack of ball on skittle strangely soothing. We were in no mood to bowl, but we were very much in the mood for fried things and meat.
Regarding the food, the blurb is that head chef Chris Finnigan trained at that Blanc chap's Le Manoir, and has headed up a few rossette-endorsed kitchens since. How would that translate into the down-and-dirty type stuff being knocked out here? Fairly well, is the short, if equivocal, answer.
|Whitebait, Roast Garlic and Chilli Mayo|
My pulled pork bun (see top of post) was solid, but not quite spot-on. Plus points for the bun itself - perfect amount of give and just a touch of sweetness - and the excellent pickles. The meat itself had decent flavour, but was slightly dry. It could've done with being moistened and lifted by a splash of cider vinegar, with maybe some crackling for texture.
Kasia's "Huge Pole" (fnarr fnarr!) hot dog was similarly decent. Again, great bun and a good flavousome and densely textured sausage that reminded me of the kind of thing we've had in Poland, which is no small praise I tell you.
|Mac and Cheese|
|Charred Hispi Cabbage|
The spot had been more or less hit, if not entirely smashed. Prices are carefully calibrated to come in just south of the point where you say "hang on a minute...". That Mac and Cheese, plus side of fries, was a tenner. Whitebait were £4, and the "Things on Bread" come in at £9.50, with fries, which felt ok-ish for my pulled pork but less so for the hot-dog. There seemed to be a hell of a lot of staff; service oscillated between being attentive and friendly to us being more or less ignored. I tried to call for the bill a couple of times, but apparently there was some cutlery that just had to be polished, right then. Bowling prices seem a bit steep at £7.50 per person per game at peak times, and charging £12 per hour for a game of table tennis feels full on urine-extractatory.
All that said, I'll still come back here in the near future and feel quite impressed by what they've done. It's a very nice place to sit and have a drink, the food is somewhere between ok and very good and there are fun things to do. The pricing may be a bit steep, but I suppose if it means they stay open and thrive, fair enough. On a Sunday night an impressive amount of Newcastle's population was in here. And when I think about how much I spent on sub-par refreshments the previous evening, perhaps the better value is to be found in whitebait, bowling and (moderate quantities of) good beer.
Lane 7, 80-90 St James Boulevard, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4BN
0191 261 6161