Last weekend we headed North to my hometown of Newcastle. An abundance of food and family time, the perfect combination.
The Geordie food scene has exploded in recent years and I find myself spoilt for choice whenever I head home these days. Here are some of my fave revisits and a couple of newbies from this trip.
First up, The Factory Kitchen Cafe, nestled on the top floor of the Biscuit Factory Gallery. I have a whole lot of love for this place and spent a lot of time here during my health hiatus last year. It’s my go to for a leisurely brunch or lunch date and one of the few cafes where I feel completely at ease whiling away a few hours alone whether on my laptop or reading a book. One hot, humid afternoon last Summer, I sat there reading while the room turned dark and was engulfed in a giant storm cloud. The windows were wide open and the most almighty downpour ensued. I was trapped but I couldn’t think of a nicer place to be held captive to be honest so i just ordered another cappuccino and enjoyed the heavenly sound of the rain beating down. Inside is very light and spacious and you can always find a seat, outside the herb filled terrace is a lovely place to sit if the sun is out, offering views across the city skyline. The menu is varied, tasty and super fresh and afterwards you can wander the gorgeous gallery housed in a former Victorian warehouse space. It’s definitely a hometown happy place!
From here we took a walk down through Ouseburn and over to an industrial unit in Byker where micro bakery Northern Rye specialises in hand made sourdough breads and viennoiserie. On Fridays you can collect pre ordered baked goods just in time for the weekend and I had a bag of pain au chocolate put aside with my name on it! I was keen to give Northern Rye a try after reading about the founder Robbie, a printer by trade, who had always dreamed of a career in the food industry. When he was made redundant for the second time aged 36 he decided to follow his heart, enrolled onto a baking course and sparked an obsession with bread. After graduating he baked part time from home, selling his wares at pop up sales around town and then finally last Summer took the plunge to becoming a full time baker when a unit became available in Byker Business Centre. I love to support indie business’s that are fuelled by a passion for the craft and hope that Robbie’s venture continues to be a success. Northern Rye will also be running Sourdough bread making classes this Summer, dates now available for May and June, see website for details.
When in search of a cheap and easy, low key dinner in Newcastle, Chilli Padi is a great option. An endless menu of Malaysian/Chinese/Asian offerings including curries, stir fries, rice and noodles. The portions are huge, the prices are cheap and the food is really tasty. Cash Only. Bring your own booze.
The foodie fave of which I am fondest would have to be The Patricia. What can I say? It’s everything I want a restaurant to be. Informal but professional, a cosy, intimate setting, wonderful service and amazing food. Again, you really feel the passion behind the craft at this place. Cannot fault it. The small plates are delicious, the Sunday roast is divine and the recently launched 2 course lunch menu on Fri/Sat is an absolute steal at just £15. (You can see a previous post about The Patricia here)
After an obligatory walk along the beach at Tynemouth (another hometown happy place!) you have to stop for fish and chips, it’s the law. Longsands Fish Kithen is the standout choice for this seaside staple. (Although if fish is your dish in general you absolutely have to check out Rileys Fish Shack down in the bay too! - read a previous post here)
If you find yourself at Tynemouth on the weekend, its always worth taking a wander around the market sprawling the metro station. We discovered Platform 2 craft ale bar this visit, housed in the old waiting room on the station platform. A great spot for a couple of post beach walk drinks by the open fire.