My husband and I have made a pact. Since Newcastle has gone through a bit of a food revolution of late, we are going to try a new place for breakfast and lunch every month. We have a 6 month old so evening meals out are a rarity these days… But we do love a good breakie or lunch out so this suits us.
Being the generous woman I am, I let the Mister pick the first place we went to. He chose The Bridge Tavern, after some pretty in depth research online. Having been to some of the other places in the ‘locally sourced/gastro pub grub’ genre in Newcastle i.e. the Broad Chare, The Forth and the Town Wall (which is actually owned by the same people as the Bridge Tavern) and the like we’d never actually tried The Bridge Tavern and keen to give it a whizz having read some good reviews online.
We knew roughly where it was (under the Tyne Bridge) but ended up walking in a circle as the Newcastle Arms engraved above the door threw us off a bit (it’s former name – there’s a Bridge Tavern sign too if you look closely). When we eventually got in the door we were greeted by lots of dark oak, bookshelves and some big copper kettles in the back (they make their own beer in conjunction with Wylam brewery, each pint is bespoke and when it’s gone,it’s gone). it was a Tuesday lunchtime and pretty quiet, with a nice vibe and friendly but cool staff ready to help.
My husband had already seen the menu online and was keen to try the meat sharing plank, £11.95 so we settled on triple cooked fries £2.45, half a pint of shell on prawns £3.95 and a green salad £2.45 along with the plank. Some Jamaican ginger beers and we were good to go.
We chose a table at the back and sitting on a wide banquette was ideal as it meant when our baby got grumpy in his buggy/on our lap (still too small for the trendy wooden high chair) I could lie him down next to me – something that you only really appreciate when you’ve had a baby!
The meat plank arrived in all its glory, and we were in heaven. Pressed duck and pistachio terrine, barbequed local sausage, chicken liver pate, sourdough toast, pickles aaaaaand pigs head croquettes. The latter was a delight to behold, we both agreed. Offal and unusual cuts of meat are certainly en vogue at the moment and I must admit to being a little dubious but the party in my mouth cast all doubts aside. The terrine combined with sourdough toast and homemade pickles was a close second favourite, while the sausage was everything you’d hope for, meaty, chargrilled and with a good bite to it. I’m not much of a chicken liver pate fan but my husband tells me it was a good ‘un.
The triple cooked fries were so perfectly cooked and seasoned that they didn’t need a sauce (I know!!!) and the green salad was, well, a green salad – basic and light but as my hubby said ‘a palate cleanser.’
The only disappointment in an otherwise flawless meal was the shell on prawns. They were cold, covered in roe and tasted like they’d just been scooped out of the sea and served – salty, cold and not many other flavours going on. Perhaps perfect for a real hardcore shellfish fan but not for us. The waitress queried whether they were ok and perhaps not quite what we’d been expecting suggesting she’s had the untouched prawn issue before, perhaps a better description or menu tweak might help.
All in all we were very happy and full when we left, and had a great experience. I also had a sneak peek at their beer garden and upstairs bar and all looked very cool – we will definitely be back! But not for a little while as we need to try somewhere new first, any suggestions gratefully received!