George’s (Not So) Great British Kitchen, Newcastle

It’s a bittersweet moment that I have to write my first not so good review. Bitter, because it’s a venue that I have previously enjoyed and sweet, because I don’t half love a rant.

George’s Great British Kitchen is part of the newly developed Eldon Square. I’d looked forward to it’s launch some months ago and visited more or less as soon as the doors had opened. I vividly remember enjoying the Sea Bass and those glorious Stilton Fries on the side.

However, upon my return this weekend I was massively disappointed in not only the standard of food, but the lack of it too…

We rocked up for what I’d promised my friends would be scrumptious little dining experience before our bowling booking at Lane7.

The place was really busy, as you can imagine for a Saturday evening – but it’s a lovely environment. Casual, nautical decor that embraces the wonderful coast land around the North East.

As we were seated, the staff were pretty speedy about taking our order and the starters arrived within around 20 minutes. Ace.

Each couple ordered a starter to share. Dan and I went for the Cod Pakoras. A classic British fish with an Indian inspired twist. The batter was made from onion bhaji seasoning and arrived with a coriander and mint dip. The fish was flaky and it was incredibly tasty.

The second starter ordered was the Katsu Chicken Goujons. Again it was well cooked, with lashing of that sweet Japanese BBQ sauce. It was a good balance of crispy and saucy.

Happy with that, we awaited the main meals. And this is where it all went a bit downhill…

Around 40 minutes later, nothing had arrived. Eventually a member of staff came over to say they were just waiting on our sweet potato fries. It seemed like quite a menial thing to be waiting for, and with us getting incredibly close to our booking time for bowling, we were quite antsy.

Another ten minutes or so passed, and our food arrived. We’d ordered the Chicken in a Basket, the Salmon with Bubble and Squeak Mash and a White Wine and Tarragon Sauce, the Proper Dirty Double Burger and the Pulled Lamb.

Except the Pulled Lamb arrived as chicken. I explained that it wasn’t what I ordered and the confused waitress left me a portion of chips and took the chicken away explaining she’d bring the lamb straight over.

Except she didn’t. We could tell that there’d been a mistake and my main meal hadn’t even been cooked. I told the rest of my party to crack on with their meals, they’d waited long enough as it is.

Unfortunately, we didn’t think the standard of food that had arrived was that great either. We’ll start with the Proper Dirty Double Burger. Just by the name, you can get an idea of what to expect.

The menu at George’s seemed to describe a beast of a burger that included two patties topped with red Leicester and served in a brioche bun with salad, tomato, pickled gherkin, lashings of dirty mayonnaise and a George’s signature frickle (fried pickle). “A PROPER burger!” – They claim.

In my opinion, it arrived looking like something you get out of a kid’s meal deal in the local chippy. Although a meal deal doesn’t cost you £14.00.

It tasted a little better than it looked, but nothing special and we definitely didn’t consider it to be worth the price.

The Chargrilled Scottish Salmon with Bubble and Squeak Mash was just rather bland to us. So bland that it became a bit of chore to eat, so Ashleigh gave up on it half way through.

The Chicken in a Basket was probably the most interesting dish. Breadcrumbed chicken fillets served with sugar grilled smoked bacon, sweetcorn pancakes, campfire slaw, twice cooked chips and a spicy chipotle mayo dip.

The chicken was cooked well and and the sweetcorn pancakes were unusually more-ish. Sweet cake-like discs with a good crunch from the sweetcorn. The slaw and spicy mayo were both good and complimented the dish well. So, not all bad, but still no sign of order number four…

After around 15 minutes of waiting, no word from the staff and the rest of the party practically finished their meals – I’d gone in a huff.

I’d ate my portion of chips, which were standard chip shop style chips, with less grease perhaps. So, I just wasn’t in the mood for my meal. Plus, we were now late for our bowling booking.
We’d tried numerous times to catch a member of staff’s attention to let them know we no longer wanted the lamb but it felt like they were almost trying to avoid our table. Finally, someone arrived to say it would be two minutes. I explained it wasn’t necessary as I’d ate my chips and we were running late.

They were insistent that I received my meal, which further agitated me as we really needed to get our skates on. I apologised to the staff but said that I really no longer wanted it. And away they went…

A waiter then returned to clear the dishes and explain the lamb would be taken off the bill. It was appreciated but didn’t feel like enough as I was really quite disheartened. Especially after our long wait and what we thought was a poor standard of food.

When the bill did arrive however an additional £18.00 had been taken off as ‘goodwill’ along with the £18.00 for my main meal. We still ended up paying around £70.00 – so the bill should have been over £100 without the discounts. Imagining spending one hundred quid on scran that was average at best made me feel a bit uneasy.

It’s painful enough when you order something to be disappointed but to not get fed at all, that really is the pits.

Maybe the whole wrong order debacle was a one off and that’s fine, mistakes happen. Especially in a busy restaurant, I know I’ve done it in my hospitality past, but we felt that the rest of the food wasn’t quite up to scratch and the situation maybe could have been handled better.

I’m also a stubborn bugger who doesn’t take it well when people jeopardise feeding time.

Lane7 were good little eggs and managed to squeeze us in at a later time for a good game of bowling.

To pass the time they offered us a round of mini golf downstairs, which is quite a new addition to their venue. It was a hoot, but it turns out I’m absolutely dog turd at golf. Shock.

Luckily, the fun times at Lane7 took away my hunger until I crawled into bed with endless thoughts of Cheesy Chips.

I’d like to take this opportunity to shout out to Jamie for the witty title for my blog post. I’ve thanked you all the way down here just in case people got bored half way through and buggered off. At least I’d get kudos for the clever little number.

Did you have a different experience at George’s Great British Kitchen? I’d like to hear about it! Drop me a tweet at @ProperScrummy.

Lots of love, LB x


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