Newcastle Cookhouse Sensation
Luxury travel indulgence does not have to mean spending a fortune! It also doesn’t mean having to hop on a long haul flight to the furthest reach of the globe. Sometimes a hint of indulgence can be found in our very own backyard!!
So it is with the Cookhouse, a homely restaurant in our very own northern city of Newcastle. Be warned, you will not stumble across this place. Visit with friends in the know, or do your research online beforehand. You would not want to miss out because you couldn’t find it!
It is tucked away behind the Hotel Du Vin in a rather less pretentious shipping container, of all things. How’s that for ingenious?
As you amble through the doors, it’s as though you’ve strayed into a larger version of your mother’s homely kitchen. Anna and Lauren, greet you with beaming smiles and fresh lemonade, as mouth-watering smells tease you.
It’s unlike anything I’ve seen before. Two containers welded together at an angle create a communal dining area, and a light, airy open plan kitchen. This is not a venue suitable for cooking for an army…more cooking for an intimate group of friends, a special event or corporate dining. There’s an outdoor patio lit by light bulbs dancing in the breeze, and a miniature, vegetable patch where Anna grows her own vegetables.
It’s just lovely! It’s infused with Anna’s warm, loving personality, from the collection of postcards she’s amassed over the years adorning the walls, to the interior decor which she crafted from her experience working as an architect.
The NewcastleCookhouse may have only been open a year, but it’s attracted a following of loyal clients who come to savour Anna’s fresh, locally sourced ingredients moulded into taste sensations. It’s an assault on the senses from the tantalising aromas, to the nick knacks proving a feast for the eyes. You can come and eat, or pop in for takeout.
For our visit, Anne created a medley of cauliflower and pomegranate (who would have thought that combination could taste so good?), new potatoes in horseradish, chicken stuffed with thyme, green salad and couscous. It all looked incredible, and paparazzi flashes were abundant as we rushed to capture the perfect picture that would convey the simple enjoyment of tucking into home cooked, comfort food. The menu is different every day but don’t worry, there is a good selection, and it’s all reasonably priced.
This may be a restaurant, but it feels more like you are popping round to your rich friend’s house (well they would have to be reasonably wealthy to have a kitchen big enough to seat twenty!) for dinner with a group of friends. I guess the clue is in the name! The Cookhouse has no licence to sell alcohol, so like a dinner party, it’s a BYO, perfect for those with fussy tastes.
Anna’s inspiration stemmed from a blog she started several years ago to catalogue her own growing list of recipes, fashioned from her passion for cookery. She gained a following, and from there started hosting cooking events around the city, before eventually decided to take the plunge, leave architecture behind, and set up business here.
So back to the food. After a suitable break, dessert, a lemon posset topped with fresh fruit arrived. Simple but pretty, many a murmur of contentment accompanied the clink of cutlery as our party blissfully indulged. I think that’s the quietest we have been all weekend!
In what seemed like a jiffy though, it was time to go. Feeling suitably satiated, we departed with warm hearts, and stuffed tummies.
If you want to try somewhere different in Newcastle, with a great welcome, a unique ambience and fabulous food, this venue is a must. It’s near a host of pubs and bars in Ouseburn, so you can start your evening here, and continue long into the night elsewhere.
Find Anna at The Cookhouse, on her foodie blog, or on Twitter @The_Grazer