Thursday, 3 October 2013

Celebratory Meal at Jesmond Dene House

I'll set the scene... candlelight, waiters dressed in black & white, orange and black trinkets dotted along shelves ... all creating just the right atmosphere of warm & cosy yet still artsy-fartsy. 

It's the perfect setting for a romantic celebratory meal.   

The menu was full of delicious choices made from local produce all with fancy sounding titles. 

Local lobster, crab and hand dived scallops plus beef fillet with a full farmers name associated with it served alongside that recent craze of a bit of bone marrow.


No sooner had we ordered when a cute little foodie freebie arrived at the table. An espresso cup of the most delicious gazpacho I've ever had was brought out as a pre-starter. I don't normally get very excited about soup, but this little cup of cold tomato liquid had so many levels of flavours I couldn't help but want more. 

Scallops with cauliflower

The starters arrived with foam & frills but full of flavour as well. The scallops were cooked 'just right' with dabs of interesting sauce and sprigs of local veg.

Lobster with Ravioli

The main dishes were incredibly stylish with swishes of colourful sauce dried on the plate and even more foam. I'm still not sure whether I was meant to utilise the sauce in some way or just admire it? 

Yes, it was a beautiful plate of food but it was not lacking in substance, although I have to admit I enjoyed my ravioli more than the actual hunk of lobster provided.

Blueberry Jelly with cream

We then received a little unexpected pallet cleanser (or was it an amuse bouche?) which was tasty and served in a shot glass as well. It does make for a perfect portion size.

Caramelised Apple with Hazelnut sponge

Strawberry Bakewell Tart

Our desserts were rather picturesque making us wonder whether they'll be less tasty, fashion over function in a taste bud sense?

They were almost little colourful scenes with flavour bomb combinations splodged on the canvas. A candied nut paired with a mint leaf, sat near a smoosh of caramel all coming together in each bite to make a beautiful dessert which all the senses enjoyed. 

Celebrations are meant to be memorable occasions and that is exactly what this meal was, now it's
time to hit the gym.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Good Food at The Green

I've had a couple of meals at this Heworth pub and I've felt the urge to photograph most of them.

Is this a sign of having been won over by presentation before a morsel has even passed my lips?

I may have been woo'ed the first time by the fancy presentation but the fact I keep coming back means there is delicious substance to this gorgeous looking food.
Gnocchi with blue cheese sauce, rocket, wild mushrooms and walnuts

The Green's menu offers just enough variety to choose from without being too perplexing (a comment aimed at certain members of my family who are flummoxed by too much choice).

It also has the added bonus of a changing selection of real ales and local brews which gives it an automatic thumbs up in my book.

Not to mention there is always a short but sweet list of delicious desserts to choose from which appeals to my sweet tooth.

Cherry Bakewell Tart with Pistacchio Icecream
A recent conversation we had in The Green, inspired by the presentation of our meal, got me thinking...

Does overly posh presentation of food put people off?
Crab Fettuccine with chilli and lemon

Realistically, if your food looks less like home cooking and more like a fancy art exhibition will you enjoy it any differently?

I find presentation irrelevant to my enjoyment of food but admittedly I am more likely to photograph the good looking dish over the less attractive one. 

Fish and chips with mushy peas

However, I would quite happily trade fashion for function if it means a bigger portion (is that mini chip fryer basket an attempt at portion control?) but of course this is only relevant if the food actually tastes good. 

Summary: Don't judge a book by its cover when it comes to food, good food tastes good and sometimes looks the part as well.

So, if you happen to be in the area and fancy some decent good-looking grub then remember The Green gets a big old thumbs up from this happy-snapping gal.