Monday, 19 January 2015

Restaurant Review: "Brunch Gastronomique" at Hotel du Vin, Newcastle upon Tyne

Gluttony - full-on, no buggering about gluttony - is like some nearly-forgotten friend from the bad side of the tracks, prone to sidle up from time to time, regard you knowingly and mutter darkly "go on then; I dare you!" When it does catch up with you it's hard to ignore. Sadly, though reasonably, quality and quality usually vary inversely when it comes to food as so much else, so the opportunities to pig out on some properly decent stuff are rare. Which is why Sunday Brunch at Hotel du Vin had always seemed an interesting proposition. I'd heard furtive talk of a four-course scranathon; rumours abounded of a "market table" overflowing with shellfish and cold cuts, followed by a full Sunday lunch. And then pudding. In this month of restraint and denial, it seemed like a pleasingly off-kilter choice for an anniversary lunch, so under gun-metal skies we set off for Ouseburn.

Sunday, 18 January 2015

New Year, New Plot?

As I mentioned in a previous post, the low level rumblings and consternation regarding the future of our allotment site became real and pronounced just before Christmas, as The Freemen finally made clear to the current committee that their plan is to shut the site. Bah humbug. Although there hasn't been any communication (to us at least) about when this is to take effect from, and for how long the site will be closed, we've started making enquiries into the availability of plots on other sites.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Review: La Petite Creperie & Nan Bei Dumplings, Grainger Market, Newcastle upon Tyne

The foodification of The Grainger Market continues apace. Turn your back for just a few weeks and another street-foodish unit has popped up. And, praise be, they're all pretty damn good! If you were so minded you could do a tapas-style tour of the place, taking in freshly shucked oysters, pizza, Turkish mezze, seafood noodles, cupcakes, macarons... and now, crepes and dumplings. This is all a far cry from the market I knew 10 or so years ago, but it's a fine development. Over the past few weeks we tried out the aforementioned La Petite Creperie and Nan Bei Dumplings: let me now tell you about them.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Restaurant Review: Longhorns Barbecue Smokehouse, Newcastle upon Tyne

It all went a bit smoky in Newcastle in 2014. First there was Hop and Cleaver, then Bierrex, and latterly Longhorns opened, all bringing their take on American-style low-and-slow smoked meats to these parts. We thought Hop and Cleaver was a bit meh and haven't yet made it to Bierrex. However, I had a sample of Longhorn's brisket at the really quite good Craft Beer Calling festival back in October and resolved to head their way once they opened on Mosley St. Granted, I was extremely well refreshed at the time, but even in my drunken fug I could detect some serious smoke and flavour in their meat.
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