Tag Archives: gastropub

The Broad Chare – Newcastle Upon Tyne

“If you’re ever in Newcastle you’ll do a lot worse than nip in here for tea!”

Whilst touring the North East as part of my day job I was left searching for somewhere to stay. A quick flirt into booking.com soon had me ensconced in a rather dreary, corporate box called Jurys Inn. However, it suffers from a rather sensational location overlooking the magnificent Tyne, a stones throw from their version of The Millennium Bridge. Despite being a Monday night, a quick ‘reccy’ soon had me peering into the windows of the local eateries. I knew ‘House of Tides’ was close by, but knew it would be shut. Twitter, soon had me tapping into the wonderful ‘Broad Chare’.


Its stationed yards from the aforementioned River Tyne in an old ‘warehousey’, shipping type building. Looks rather wonderful actually. I stepped in past the ‘Michelin’ approved stickers. Unlike most gastropubs of late Mr Farrow and Mr Ball have struggled to impact this particular gaff, as indeed have the deliberately mismatched fabric emporiums. This is strictly ‘vinylette’ flooring territory in standard colours. its wonderfully basic. A well stocked bar to the right beckons. A magnificent selection of cask ales soon has the eyes on stalks. A pale pint of local ‘Writers Block’ was ordered up.


I then instructed my genial host to pull back a chair and settle me in for a slap up feed on a table for one. “Certainly Sir, we should have one in an hour”. An hour! on a monday night!. I settled downstairs with some local magazines. Thankfully, some twenty minutes later, a wonderful table, upstairs by a window was dutifully prepared. I surveyed the stark, paper table mat/menu. Super, pub grubby type stuff with some interesting twists at decent prices. All was well. A specials board highlighted to some more seasonal offerings with a slightly weightier price tag. I stuck to the standard offer (as work was paying!)


Starters had me quaffing some glorious nuggets of monkfish cheeks, dredged in a spicy crumb with a homemade tartar sauce alongside. All piping hot and a bargain at £3.75.

For a main I went for the bubble and squeak with two glorious duck eggs and homemade HP sauce for just a tenner. Two big, fat, fried, squat rings of ‘taters’ and greens smothered by two fried eggs, all set on a slurry of piquant, brown sauce. It was glorious. Truly hit the spot.

To finish I went for almond rice pudding with sour cherries at £5.50. A hefty bowl of dreamy, creamy goodness with the added bonus of an almond crunch matched with the sweetness of cherry. Another storming dish.


Rarely have I enjoyed three courses together as much as this and all washed down by a decent pint in a thoroughly convivial atmosphere. Service matched the pleasure of the eating. All in for £25. Cant say fairer than that.


I was informed next day by a local that its all the brainchild of local restauranteur/chef Terry Leybourne who has a few other outfits in the town. Sounds as though Newcastle is rather fortunate. Along with Kenny Atkinson round the corner at House of Tides It seems it has its all its eating places well sorted. Ill have to get up here more often…

The Broad Chare

25 Broad Chare

Newcastle Upon Tyne


0191 211 2144


Sams Chophouse – Manchester

“Proper old school, city centre ‘gastropub’ for some proper old school lads!”

The Cooktwit was tasked with scheming a small gathering for some old work chums and “None of that fancy gastro stuff you like” cried Joe, a surprisingly trim sexagenarian (he’ll like that – Ed). So where do I go? It didn’t take long to work out that Sam’s Chophouse would meet the brief. A thoroughly decent British menu, representing its rich history of feeding Mancunians since City last won the league. (What they won the season before last? – yes, you can’t say that now – Ed). Well anyway Sam’s has been around since 1872.

Elegance (and that's just the lads)
Elegance (and that’s just the lads)

Its set up a ginnel, which itself is shrouded from the world by tram works. It takes some finding at the moment. It’s a grand place. You enter down a small staircase in to an old, wooden bar area. A seated bronze of LS Lowry doffs his hat. A pleasant welcome. A few pints of Bootleg ‘Lawless’ for the non-drivers was eagerly devoured. It was early on a Tuesday night. I had booked but didn’t really need to. The pub had a few in, but the restaurant was empty. The eating area is rather elegant. Mosaic tiles on the floor, with rich stained booths and fittings completing the old world charm. It’s very pleasant, though it was a little chilly at first.

The menu
The menu

Tom, our young, spectacled waiter soon had us settled and placed the leather-bound offer into our sticky mits. As I said the menu is littered with classic, British fayre. Joe was well impressed.
We ordered up. Kevin and Joe went for the corned beef hash (£7). It came deep fried with a poached egg and brown sauce. What a delight this was. Probably dish of the night. I wish I had ordered it. You can get a mammoth portion as a main for £13. The lads loved it. I managed a fork full of Joes and can confirm the ‘wonderfulness’. Johnny boy went for seared scallops with pulled pork scampi, salsify and apple (£9) for some reason I didn’t get a pic. I think John wolfed it before I got chance! It looked good though.

Corned beef hash and duck hearts
Corned beef hash and duck hearts

I had devilled duck hearts in paprika cream on sour dough bread (£6.50). To be fair this was pretty good too. I’ve never had duck hearts but you got plenty and their livery texture worked a treat with the creamy, spicy sauce. A real treat.

For mains, the heartier side of the brigade were swayed by the steak and kidney pudding (£14). A substantial case of suet filled to the brim with braised steak and lumps of kidney. A boat of light brown gravy turned up with an array of well turned out chips and mushy peas Im sad to say that both contenders referred to the offer being a bit on the dry side, despite the lubrication afforderd by the gravy. Kevin, not normally a chap to shirk on these matters, was visibly shaken as he was compelled to leave a good fifteen per cent of the pudding to the dishwasher. So moved was he by the dryness and the quantity. For the record I had a slug of kidney which I found to be perfectly fine.

Steak & kidney pud, burger, fish and chips
Steak & kidney pud, burger, fish and chips

I myself had the standard, but nonetheless rather creditable, fish (beer battered haddock) and chips (£13). The aforementioned chips were well turned out, but the highlight, easily was the haddock. Wonderfully crisp batter, hot translucent flesh. It came cemented to the plate with the mushy peas along with a ramekin of tartar sauce and a net of lemon. Nice touch. Thoroughly enjoyed. As good a plate of fish and chips as I’ve ever had.

Equally boring (some might say) Joe had the burger off the bar menu. It didn’t have the slurpy spectacular look of the ‘experts’ that litter the town, but it was cooked pink and Joseph himself proclaimed it the best burger he’d ever had. High praise indeed. (I have took him to Solita before now).

The Eccles cake
The Eccles cake

Joe and myself then had the Eccles cake (£6.00) and ice cream for afters. It was a bit thicker and smaller in diameter than our preconceived version. But fair play it tasted good. Much ‘mincier’ and ‘spicier’ than I remember them. Good ice cream too. A tinge of regret that I didn’t go for the Black Forest trifle.


For four it came to £134. Sam had already included the 10% service charge in that figure. We were a little surprised at this for a party of four. But happy to go with it. Young Tom had been a fine advocate for old school charm and looked after us well. He’d even laughed at Joes jokes. In summary a fine evening. Elements of superbly cooked food allied to a touch of minor disappointment. I will say this though, I’ll be back for a big portion of corned beef hash and a trifle sometime soon. Watch this space…..

Sams ChopHouse
Back Pool Fold off Cross Street
Manchester M2 1HN
0161 834 3210