It’s back again! Yes, every foodie’s favourite event, NE1 Restaurant Week, has taken over Newcastle for the final time this year.
And to kick it off in style, I was invited along to Colonel Porter’s Emporium on Dean Street to try their extra special restaurant week menu and show off what they have to offer.
Hundreds of restaurants take part in NE1 Restaurant Week where you can grab some fantastic bargains on some of the city’s best food. But what makes Colonel Porter’s menu so special this time round?
It’s the arrival of brand new head chef, Chris Finnigan. Originally from our neck of the woods, he has his roots in French cuisine and was classically trained under top chef, Raymond Blanc.
Chris previously worked at Sedgefield’s glorious Impeccable Pig venue but has recently made his return to the Toon, celebrating with with this carefully planned menu and one of my favourites on offer this time round.
They’re also throwing in a complimentary rhum punch cocktail for each diner when you pre-book your restaurant week table!
I love this venue and visited when it first opened it’s doors on the popular Newcastle street and once I’d clocked eyes on this week’s menu, I knew something was different and that I just had to try it.
There’s a huge drinks menu with all kinds of curious and creative cocktails. But as it’s a ‘Rhum Bar’, we took advantage of their speciality, I ordered a ‘Dark and Smoky’ for me and a ‘Zombie’ for Dan.
I know zilch about rum unfortunately. But our lovely server for the evening, Taylor, helped us massively.
Mine was a lovely, spicy mix of Black Seal rum, ginger beer and lime. I love ginger beer and lime, so despite not knowing what kind of rum I liked, I took a chance and loved it.
Daniel went for something a little more brutal. Rum, absinthe, bitters, cinnamon and grapefruit – it has slightly too much of a kick for me but if you like your drinks on the strong side, this is the one for you.
Offering 2 courses for £10 or 3 for £15, the starters include;
- Twice baked Roquefort blue cheese souffle
- Chicken liver parfait
- House cured sea trout
- Slow roasted lamb belly
Despite the lamb belly sounding incredibly tempting, Roquefort is my favourite cheese. Luckily, Dan opted for the lamb so I still got my fill.
The lamb belly was delicious. Really tender and full of flavour. Unfortunately all dishes were a little difficult to photograph in the cosy lighting of Colonel Porter’s and the jazzy dinnerware. The poor imagery had nothing to do with the rhum cocktail…
If you love blue cheese, you’ll love the souffle. The taste of the Roquefort is very powerful. The souffle was really well done and was accompanied by a Waldorf salad which added another element of texture with the crunch of the walnuts.
The Main Course
I thought the main course offering had a nice mix of options for all palettes and included;
- Braised shin of beef with smoked potato puree
- Smoked haddock and leek fishcakes
- Celeriac and wild mushroom mille feuille
- Roasted chicken breast with dauphinoise potatoes
Daniel opted for the shin of beef and because I hate ordering the same thing, I chose the chicken but immediately felt the imminent food envy.
I would never normally order a chicken dish when eating out, I’m always red meat or fish.
But I was very pleasantly surprised. The chicken breast was juicy, still wearing a crispy skin. It was served with beautifully creamy dauphinoise potatoes and a delicious wild mushroom sauce which was perfect at tying the entire dish together.
Dan’s shin of beef was also absolutely delightful. It just fell apart on your fork and was drenched in a rich, but not sickly, red wine jus. Served with creamy potato puree, the smoothest mash you can find, I couldn’t stop helping myself to his plate.
Whilst the starters were lovely, the main dishes really impressed. Dan reckons it’s some of the best beef he’s ever had.
Whilst my favourite dessert was on the menu, there wasn’t anything that Dan would normally go for (i.e. deep fried and smothered in chocolate). But he’d already pushed himself out of his comfort zone this evening so he choose the Strawberry, white chocolate, prosecco and lavender trifle whilst I ordered the Lemon Tart.
There was also the option of grilled apricots served with whipped mascarpone, maple syrup and toasted hazelnuts – something unusual that I was actually tempted by. But I LOVE a lemon tart.
The trifle was laced with prosecco, you could really taste it in the strawberries! It was a surprisingly light and tasty end to the meal.
However, the lemon tart stole the show. The pastry was pure buttery shortbread goodness and the lemon filling was so tangy and sweet. Served with a side of raspberry sorbet to balance out the citrus bitterness.
If the NE1 Restaurant Week menu is the sign of things to come at Colonel Porter’s Emporium, I’m very much looking forward to seeing Chef settle into the kitchen.
Newcastle Restaurant Week is taking place from 5th until 11th August 2019 during which you can dine at some of the finest restaurants in Newcastle for as little as a tenner!
Take a look at the full list of participating restaurants on the Get Into Newcastle website and let me know where you head for your bargain this week.
Don’t forget to pre-book your table for Colonel Porter’s during restaurant week to secure your free rhum punch cocktail! You can book online or call the team on 0191 261 7600.
Lots of love, LB x