I have been making regular trips to Newcastle city centre for around five years now, all part of my post transplant management at the wonderful Freeman Hospital. After an early start in clinic I’m usually done by lunchtime and have the luxury of an afternoon to trip round my regular haunts before jumping on the train home.
After much research and deliberation (my life is so hard sometimes, not) I thought it was time I put together a blog post sharing some of the venues that have made a visiting Yorkshire gal so welcome. Here are my three ‘must visit’ food and drink venues in the economic centre of the north east of England.
Olive and Bean was one of my earliest discoveries in Newcastle and is usually my first point of call after a morning in the clinic. Situated on one edge of Grainger Market, this cafe and its excellent team of staff seem to have grown into a confident and well estabilished part of the local food scene. Olive and Bean provide a fantastic selection of savoury choices with lots of options for the most avid meat eater or committed vegan. You won’t be dissapointed by their tasting planks and salads; I’m a particular fan of the harissa flavoured houmous and toasted pitta breads. In addition, their incredible counter of homemade cakes can satisfy the strongest of sweet cravings. The staff are welcoming and the atmosphere is always friendly – the large wooden table in the centre of the cafe providing a focal point for people to sit, eat and read the newspapers provided.
- Mmm…glug. Grainger Arcade, Grainger Market
There are an increasing number of street food stands, cafes and delicatessens establishing themselves in the lively Grainger market. One of my favourites, Mmm…glug has a distinctive mediterranean feel, though they make a concerted effort to stock local and British food producers. Amongst others, you will find ancient grain flour, locally made and unusual preserves, a huge range of herbs and spices and their more recent addition of craft ales and beer. I could happily spend hours searching in this treasure trove of a store; the knowledge that I need to carry any purchases home on the train the only thing that reins me in. To complement this wide range, Mmm…glug staff make a real effort to develop relationships with their regular customers and are extremely knowledgeable about the provenance and use of their products.
This is a much more recent discovery for me, found after a shout out on Facebook for new places to try. Situated near the university, Quilliams is a quirky little cafe spread across two floors. The tiny cinema space in the basement doubles up as cafe seating during the day and I was delighted to be offered a spot on the beanbags around a large floor table. As the name suggests, the menu boasts a selection of around eighty different kinds of tea, including a good choice of caffeine-light herbal and white teas. My hazelnut and chocolate scone seemed freshly baked (so often scones aren’t) and tasted as delicious as it sounds alongside my cup of ‘Silver Moonlight’ tea. I really could have spent all afternoon in there, drinking tea and lounging on the beanbags. The relatively young team of staff provided helpful service with a smile despite the cafe being packed to the rafters in the middle of a week day. I hope to return and test out the breakfast menu very soon.
Other places to try in Grainger Market
Lindsays to Go or Pizza by the Slice if you’re after food in a hurry. For a spot of people watching stop by Curious Leaves for a cup of specialist tea and a chance to watch the world go by. For great quality coffee beans and tea leaves at home then you need to be at the historic Pumphreys Coffee.