Review: Horticulture

Eating Out in Newcastle

It’s just been announced that Pilgrim Street in Newcastle is about to have a facelift, which will include modernisation of the street and the introduction of new housing, offices and businesses. But there’s one business that has already seen the potential in the area.

Horticulture, one of Newcastle’s most trendy bar and restaurants, opened its doors in summer 2019 and has already made its mark as one of the most specialised cocktail bars in the city. Boasting a drinks menu that features over 50 percolators, there’s something for everyone.

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Cocktails on Horticulture’s first floor

The venue itself was previously Paradiso restaurant on Market Lane, and is made up of 3 separate floors. The owner, Mike Hesketh, has poured his heart and soul into the vision for Horticulture, and has crafted a beautiful setting. A mixture of modern street art, 70’s disco balls and outdoor/indoor vibes with greenery flourishing around the building, it’s unlike any other venue in the city.

Not to mention, their restaurant offers an incredibly unique menu. Featuring a wide selection of small plates, basically like tapas but not Spanish, they focus on organic, environmentally friendly and locally sourced ingredients. Chef Peter Breckon proudly presents seasonal dishes that have been lovingly and creatively crafted, described by Horticulture themselves as “modern British cuisine with international flavours”.

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Barbeque tiger prawns at Horticulture

To make sure we sampled as much of the food as possible, my partner and I chose the ‘Earth, Land and Sea’ option, which was a collection of set dishes at £20 per person. We also ordered the scallops and halloumi fries from the main menu as they sounded too good to pass on.

As each dish was served it was obvious we’d made a great choice! The sweet potato curry and chicken thigh tangine were our favourite’s from the sharing menu and the scallops and halloumi fries were absolutely incredible. The assortment of flavours that packed every individual dish were amazing and clearly very articulately put together. The only downside was that our table was a bit small for the amount of food that we’d ordered! I did ask to swap the dessert on the set menu from strawberries and yoghurt to the chocolate creameux with black cherry gel, which the staff were more than accommodating about. Having a big sweet tooth, I think it may have been my favourite part of the meal.

Delicious small dishes at Horticulture

We ended the night with a couple of cocktails on the first floor bar and soaked up the surroundings. Having such an extensive drinks list it can be hard to choose which to go for, so we’ll definitely be back sooner rather than later. But next time we might have to visit for brunch too!

To view Horticulture’s full menu and make a booking, visit: http://www.horticultureuk.co.uk

Review: Zucchini Pasta Bar

Eating Out in Newcastle

In the heart of Newcastle is the iconic Swan House roundabout. A well known structure in the cities landscape. But what’s on that roundabout has changed numerous times since it was built in 1967. If you’ve been there recently, you’ll have noticed a small restaurant nestled underneath Metro Radio’s headquarters called Zucchini.

Zucchini Pasta Bar is exactly what its name describes. They pride themselves on serving “hand rolled fresh egg pasta to the beautiful people of Newcastle”. Their pasta is lovingly created every day using free-range eggs from Northumberland and they are the first dedicated pasta bar bringing an authentic Italian experience to the region.

Zucchini’s ciabatta garlic bread with pizza sauce

The restaurant is designed with a simple interior and relaxed atmosphere. It’s also placed in the ideal location to people watch through the floor to ceiling windows. As soon as we stepped through the door we were greeted by friendly staff and given our choice of tables. Luckily we arrived just before the lunchtime rush so we picked our favourite spot.

Having visited before, we already knew how great Zucchini’s ciabatta garlic bread is, so this was a no brainier. But we both chose pasta dishes for our mains that we hadn’t tried before, and we were both very glad that we did!

I opted for the taglierini with smoked salmon, leek & crayfish tails and, I have to say, this is the best dish I tried here so far. The tangy sauce was absolutely delicious and the fish worked wonderfully with the taglierini pasta (which I would describe as a skinny tagliatelle). My partner chose the fettuccine spicy sausage and loved the subtle spiciness of the meat and crispy sourdough crumbs dusted on top of the pasta. I couldn’t finish my dish as the portions are very generous, but if I had a larger stomach I certainly would have!

Fresh pasta dishes at Zucchini Pasta Bar

The desserts looked too good to pass up though, so we couldn’t leave without a sugar fix. As tasty as the pasta was, the tiramisu was absolutely my favourite part of the meal. It’s probably the best tiramisu I’ve ever had, and it’s one of my favourite desserts so that’s saying a lot! It was a perfect combination of creamy with a hit of alcoholic flavour. Andy had the cinnamon sugared pasta snaps with Nutella & salted caramel dips, which were super sweet and completely unique.

Tiramisu at Zucchini Pasta Bar

Overall, as with our previous visits, the service was excellent and the food was hearty and incredible. It’s a firm favourite of mine in Newcastle’s foody scene and somewhere we’re lucky to have on our doorstep.

Zucchini Pasta Bar, Newcastle

To find out more or make a booking, visit: http://www.zucchinipastabar.co.uk

Review; The Little Dumpling House

Eating Out in Newcastle

It’s been a strange few months and, during lockdown, my partner and I have both been very strict about only leaving the house for necessities. Even a few weeks ago when bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen again on 4th July we opted to stay well clear. This has partly been down to fear of passing the virus onto anyone unknowingly, and partly due to nerves of once again being in a crowded and possibly dangerous space.

But yesterday we decided to venture a bit further back into ‘normality’ and decided to go for food in Newcastle city centre for the first time since March. I’d noticed a new place that had caught my eye on Instagram called The Little Dumpling House. Chinese style dumplings are one of my favourites so I was excited to give this new small restaurant a go.

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To say the least, I wasn’t disappointed! It’s based on Ridley Place so an excellent location if you’re shopping in town. As you approach it you’ll notice a sign featuring a Chinese symbol sticking out from the building.

The first thing I noted when stepping inside was how clean and simply laid out the place was, making social distancing very easy. There are only two large bench tables and some bar style seating at the window, so I can imagine on a busy day these would get taken up quickly. But all of the food is also available for takeaway, so you can have dumplings on the go. The decor is stylish but minimal with a plant wall and some Chinese lanterns in the window.

As soon as we got there we were warmly greeted from the counter by the host, who went out of his way the whole time we were there to make sure we were enjoying everything (even though he didn’t know I’d be writing a review until I asked for his photo before we left). He took his time in explaining the menu and choices of sauces and just made us feel incredibly welcome with his cheery service and great sense of humour.

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Fantastic service and a friendly face!

The menu is great for authentic Chinese food, specialising of course in traditional Chinese dumplings. We chose a selection of six chicken and mushroom dumplings, six pork and Chinese leaf dumplings, and two slow cooked pork in steamed buns. They were out of the burger buns when we arrived so we went for baos instead. All of this with a drink came to under £13, which is incredible value for money!

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The interior and food at The Little Dumpling House

The food is cooked fresh and served hot in bamboo steamers, giving the meal an even more authentic feel. There isn’t really a word I can use to sum up the food from The Little Dumpling House thats any better than – YUM! Everything we ordered was delicious and we were absolutely stuffed by the time we’d finished. You can choose which sauce you’d like at a cost of 10p each, so I went for soy sauce while my partner chose the homemade chilli oil. I’m not one for spicy food but my boyfriend assured me that if you like a bit of heat with your food then it would be a great compliment to your meal.

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It’s impossible to choose a favourite between the chicken and mushroom or pork and Chinese leaf dumplings because both fillings were so good. But we’ll definitely be trying a couple more of the options next time we go, and we absolutely can’t wait to eat here again!

Given that The Little Dumpling House only opened on 18th May 2020, it’s a brave time to have opened a new foodie venture – but I’m sure glad they did. This small restaurant/ takeaway is a fantastic new addition to Newcastle’s vast food scene and I hope it’s around for a very long time. Honestly, I can’t rave enough about this brilliant little place. Great service, lovely interior and fantastic food.

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The Little Dumpling House, Ridley Place, Newcastle

You can follow The Little Dumpling House on Instagram @ the_little_dumpling_house and also find them on Facebook, here; https://m.facebook.com/thelittledumplinghouse

They are also on Deliveroo for delivery, here; https://deliveroo.co.uk/menu/newcastle/newcastle-city-centre/the-little-dumpling-house-t-a-mannaza