Mon - Sat 12 - 2.30pm (Sun to 4pm)
Dinner: Mon - Sat 5.30 - 10pm
25 Broad Chare
0191 211 2144
***BEST GASTROPUB 2013***
Pub food embodies the best and worst of British cooking. While some are frozen in the 1980s with their scampi and chips – don’t dare invite me to review one of these – and others have been chintzed into gastropubs, which are not good enough to be called restaurants, of late there’s been a resurgence in places with traditional ales and simple, reliable fare. Real beer and real food: that’s what every pub should offer. If you find one in your area, tell me: I’ll be the secret stranger in the corner.
In my opinion the best pub food in the North East can still be found in The Broad Chare, on Newcastle’s Quayside. The genius Terry Laybourne set this up a few years ago as a joint venture with Live Theatre and I’ve been waiting for the novelty and quality to wear off. Yet every time I visit, it positively refuses to let me down.
Downstairs is a proper snug where you can do the crossword or enjoy the bar snacks. It has good beer, including The Writer’s Block, specially brewed for the pub by Wylam Brewery.
There’s no chance of food writer’s block upstairs in the dining room: no tablecloths here, this is wood, school chairs and specials chalked on a blackboard. It’s friendly, fun and it has some really good wines by the glass, including tempranillo and Chilean merlot.
They have an £11.50 daily special: such as mince and dumplings on Mondays and steak and kidney pudding on Thursdays. There’s also a wide range of specials. The bar snacks are extraordinary: I defy you to find a better Scotch egg on the planet: spicy crispy crust, and soft on the inside. The pork crackling and deep-fried monkfish cheeks could make grown men cry. The star turn is a little handraised pork pie.
This is food to be shared with friends. Take your time, order lots of little things, and spend a couple of hours putting the world to rights.
A few weeks ago a friend and I ordered virtually every snack and then I ordered the battered onions with blue cheese mayonnaise. The onions were a mixture of shoots and bulbs, enclosed in a crisp, sweet cider batter. My friend had potted shrimps which had perhaps a touch too much nutmeg, but were otherwise good.
I really enjoyed the duck hash while my colleague had haggis with neeps. For dessert I crossed the Pennines for a homemade Eccles cake, served with Mrs Kirkham’s Lancashire cheese. We also demolished a fantastic rhubarb, meringue and vanilla yoghurt dessert.
Main courses are around £14, starters about £7, and the bar snacks around £3 each.