The Novel Novocastrian
The Random Ramblings of a Temporary Resident
By Tara Brady
How “Where do you want to go for dinner?” has become a whole new experience since we’ve moved to Newcastle.
By the end of September, the husband and I will have been married for four years (hooray!) One of the patterns we fell into fairly early on in our relationship was to succumb to a regular attack of the “midweek lazies”. You all know what I’m talking about: you come home and, despite a fully stocked fridge providing a myriad fine dining possibilities (like stir fry or spaggy bol), neither of you seems capable of even coming up with an idea for dinner, let alone the energy to cook it, so you decide to go out instead. Back in the UK there is a lane around the corner that has a particularly fine Turkish BBQ, so when the “midweek lazies” are upon us, we inevitably find ourselves there, and the question of “Where do you want to go for dinner?” is essentially redundant. Well, here in Newcastle it has become infinitely more complicated.
The first task is agreeing on what type of cuisine we’re after: pub grub? Fine French dining? fried chicken and beer? Spanish tapas? seafood with a sea view? The possibilities seem endless. So you’d think the restaurateurs of Newcastle would do us a favour by having one or two obvious frontrunners conveniently located within a ten minute walk and in a price range that’s just right…but no, instead there are more than half a dozen I can think of just off the top of my head and that’s only the ones in the East End…I haven’t even gotten to Darby Street.
So here, in no particular order, are my top 5 on the East Side
- Cafe Zeytoon (43 Bolton St): for when you’re craving middle-eastern food but want something a bit more refined than a kebab. The atmosphere in this cafe at night is great with dark tablecloths embroidered with gold, reflecting the candles and lanterns. I can personally recommend any of the lamb dishes; the meat is so tender it falls right off the bone!
- Bocados Spanish Kitchen (27 King St): this place serves excellent tapas at a reasonable price and with a great wine menu too. We regularly wind up here without having planned ahead and so wind up in the smaller bar area which is actually quite cozy.
- The Grain Store (64 – 66 Scott St): if you’re looking for pub food done to a high standard as well as an impressive list of beers to wash it all down with, then look no further than The Grain Store. The fact that you can play old-school board games while you wait for your food to arrive is an added bonus.
- Bistro Sandbar (1 Moroney Ave): this little bistro is a great spot for a romantic dinner for two overlooking the beach. The seafood here is fabulous!
- Casa de Loco (10 Pacific St): any restaurant/bar that advertises itself with the words: we love to eat/we love to drink has got to be worth a visit and this tequila bar/Mexican restaurant most definitely is. The food is much closer to authentic Mexican than the usual Tex-Mex stuff you find and the ambience here is always upbeat with really friendly bartenders and waiting staff. I’ve recently become obsessed with their Taco Tuesdays: each Tuesday has a different theme with a special taco on offer and accompanying music from their extensive vinyl collection. Make sure you save room for their Tres Leche Cake which is just amazing.
Happy eating Newcastle!