Since I have friends scattered around the north-east, my birthday involved taking a trip up t’north. I once again visited Newcastle and decided to reserve a table at a restaurant I’d had great things about; Peace & Loaf.
Peace & Loaf is the creative influence of non-other than Dave Coulson, finalist of 2010’s Masterchef: The Professionals. Opened in August 2013, Dave decided to create a restaurant in his hometown, allowing diners the fine-dining experience, without the hefty price-tag.
The interior is one I shan’t forget with quirky paintings, graffiti and yet still with a comforting, modern decor that felt straight at home once seated.
Upon receiving the menu, it was a list I was excited to see, with many dishes that peaked my interest, ingredients I’ve never tried before and all created with a British twist, served with locally sourced produce.
There were two menus to choose from; the summer a la carte menu or the set menu. Both menus were decently priced with the set menu great value for £20 for two courses or £23 for three. It was also great to hear that there weren’t any restrictions for the table as some restaurants demand the entire table order from the same menu and as there were 7 of us, it gave us freedom to choose. Since it was my birthday dinner, I picked dishes from the a la carte menu.
To our delight, the table received freshly baked bread which was still warm and soft from the oven. It was definitely some of the better bread I’ve had in restaurants.
Again to our amazement the food kept arriving with amuse bouche served. Each bite of the different types of amuse bouche, was delightful with my favourite being the beans on toast interpretation which had parmesan generously scattered on top bringing back childhood memories.
As one of our diners was vegetarian, the restaurant even managed to create specific vegetarian amuse bouche which looked just as appetizing.
For starters, there were a variety of different dishes around the table including Peace & Loaf’s interpretation of a fry up including black pudding, egg and bacon and a cucumber and apple gazpacho soup with the soup poured at the table.
My friend ordered the chicken parmo from the set menu and I managed to have a cheeky bite of her dish. Golden crispy chicken balanced with earthy vegetables and scattered with parmesan shavings. It was delicious.
I decided to pick something I wouldn’t usually go for and opted to try the salmon with gin and tonic. The dish arrived beautifully presented and with the taste to match. The salmon was fresh and smoky and some of the best salmon I’ve tasted and the refreshing, citrusy notes of cucumber and lemon lifted the dish without being too sharp. The subtle hint of gin wasn’t overpowering and gave a slight tart taste that would be unknown to most.
I couldn’t have asked for a better starter.
Whilst waiting for our main course, suddenly more food appeared and this time we were brought a pork and apricot terrine with truffle shavings that had the right balance of earthy and sweet taste. It wasn’t my favourite amuse bouche but regardless was still a great little dish.
The main courses arrived and again, each dish was stunning in presentation. Nearly halfway through our meal and our taste buds were still being satisfied with glorious food that kept appearing.
The duck was cooked perfectly with the leg having a nice crispy skin and with the inside still pink and moist and beautifully seasoned. I’d never tried kohl rabi before but the vegetable was inoffensive and again balancing the flavours and textures of the dish. My only complaint was that there needed to be a little more sweetness to the dish and for me personally, there wasn’t enough dressing.
For dessert, the majority of us had food envy with two of my friends ordering the assiette of desserts for two which came with every dessert on the menu to try.
Since I was in Newcastle, I ordered the boozy sorbet which was topped with Pimm’s, prosecco and popping candy and served in a martini glass. Not for the faint-hearted as this was very alcohol-heavy. It was also a little bit of a strange experience feeling like an adult/child hybrid with popping candy with every spoonful whilst feeling light-headed.
Not the most tasty dessert, but one that was shared around the table.
Peace & Loaf gave me an evening to remember, not only was the service fantastic, attentive, charming without being intrusive but was filled with beautifully presented, food treats. I’ve never had an experience where I felt so spoilt and with so many surprises along the way and it truly was an evening to remember. The best part? It didn’t even break the bank.
If you’re in Newcastle, visit Peace & Loaf and I guarantee you’ll have a truly spectacular evening.
– Peace & Loaf, Jesmond (Newcastle)