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Garden House Inn, Durham

Garden House Inn, Durham

It’s three years since Adrian Grieves launched a new career running a pub at the Garden House Inn in Durham – and he’s clearly loving every minute.   The engineering boss’s attention to detail has been applied with steely precision to his new venture.   He and son Nick, who runs the kitchen with a team of passionate young chefs, serve up fine British pub grub, local and guest hand-pulled ales – including beers such as Black Sheep and Timothy Taylor. There’s also a nice selection

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Battlesteads, Wark

Battlesteads, Wark

If provenance is the buzzword of the foodie world these days, then the buzz at Battlesteads in Wark must be deafening. For the restaurant sources its herbs, salads and most of its vegetables literally from its own backyard where over an acre of the garden has been turned over to the cultivation of fruit and veg. Food miles – zero. Meat, fish and other foodstuffs also come from as nearby as possible. This insistence on local sourcing along with a range of other environmentally-sound policie

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The Grand Hotel, Tynemouth

The Grand Hotel, Tynemouth

Tynemouth on a warm summer’s evening takes a lot of beating – and a prime position by the window of the Grand Hotel’s Victoria restaurant is an ideal spot from which to watch the waves and the world go by. Combine the sunshine, opulent surroundings and the view with a cracking meal, good service and value for money and you really are onto a winner. Life should always be like this. Sadly, it’s not. Although standards and choice for eating out in the North East have improved immeasurably in re

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The Broad Chare, Newcastle

The Broad Chare, Newcastle

Terry Laybourne does it again. It seems that every time the region’s leading restaurateur turns his hand to something new - from high-end fine dining to pop-up tapas bars - he has yet another success to celebrate. This time it’s a pub - but not just any pub. The Broad Chare on Newcastle’s Quayside, fashioned out of an old building and given a new lease of life, is the first in the city to make the prestigious Michelin Good Pub Guide. It is proving as popular for its beer and bar snacks in the crowded dow

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Customs House, South Shields

Customs House, South Shields

To Wit To Woo Valentine’s Night meal at the Customs House, South Shields This could have been corny but as so often the Customs House at South Shields got it just right. A Valentine’s Night featuring a two course meal with scenes from some of Shakespeare’s plays dramatised in the round. The nine-strong cast, including jazz singer Grace Ellen, provided an entertaining evening of scenes from: ‘As You Like It’, ‘Twelfth Night’, ‘The Taming of the Shrew’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Measure for Measure’. ‘Hamlet’ a

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Blackfriars and Gadds Town House

Blackfriars and Gadds Town House

Ever on a Sunday The Sunday Sun newspaper’s Eddy Eats has forged a career out of writing about taking Sunday lunch around the region. Nice work if you can get it. Sadly, ne4me doesn’t have the resources to fund a weekly Sunday lunch column – but we do take the occasional outing for said fare. Two places that are now filed in the ‘tried, tested and trusted’ file are Blackfriars in Newcastle city centre and Gadds Town House (pictured above, previously The Fallen Angel) in Durham. Both were chosen for the co

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Spice Empire, Sunderland

SPICE EMPIRE, SUNDERLAND Taking a trip to the Sunderland Empire and looking for a good pre-theatre meal?  Wearside’s newest restaurant Spice Empire is literally just over the road. Situated in what was previously one of Sunderland’s finest Italian restaurants Amalfi, Spice Empire has taken on a tough challenge as upstairs is the long established and ever popular Motiraj Tandoori. First impressions are positive as the airy, mirrored interior welcomes you into a spacious bar area but we were taken strai

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Cafe Lilli, Norton-on-Tees

Cafe Lilli, Norton-on-Tees

Café Lilli in the pink Funny place, Norton.Beautiful setting, period homes, idyllic duck pond – the ideal spot for a pre-dinner pint in the perfect traditional village pub. Or so you’d have thought. I don’t know Norton well enough to be authoritative on the subject, but we couldn’t find anywhere that fitted the bill. There are plenty of pubs – just not with the kind of welcome and atmosphere we were after in the three establishments we peeped round the door of – and beat a hasty retreat from. So thank goo

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Vujon, Newcastle

Vujon, Newcastle

A warm welcome – and a cut above Since last December I’ve thought of Vujon as a bit of a lifesaver.One Sunday evening in that bitterly cold month, after days of being snowed in at home, my husband and I ventured out to see Sting at the Sage.It was an inhospitable night and the streets of Newcastle were slushy and deserted, pubs were either closed or empty and the chances of getting a decent pre-gig meal – or any kind of food at all – seemed forlorn.Until we stumbled upon Vujon on Queen Street, that is, and

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Caffe Vivo, Newcastle

Caffe Vivo, Newcastle

Viva Caffe Vivo Devoted readers of our food and drink pages – there are thousands of you, aren’t there? – will know that the aim of our writers is to recommend places that we think are outstanding in one way or another, rather than simply review wherever we happen to visit. We believe life is too short to spend precious leisure hours in a run-of-the-mill restaurant spending hard-earned money on mediocre food. So, in our opinion, every place that we review here has something special about it, whether it’s

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North East tops for Indian food

North East tops for Indian food

Spoilt for choice at top North East Indian restaurants By Anne Graham   Love him or hate him, it’s hard to ignore Gordon Ramsay. He’s recently embraced Indian cooking with a passion following a month-long trip to the sub-continent with Channel 4. And, although a dyed-in-the-wool carnivore, he even took to the veggie dishes he tried out there. He wouldn’t half like Vujon in Newcastle. On a freezing Sunday evening before a concert at the Sage this upmarket restaurant was one of the few places open an

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Bistro 21 has the key to the door in Durham

Bistro 21 has the key to the door in Durham

 Bistro 21 is just ab fab for food    LATEST: Bistro 21 has welcomed back a couple of old friends who have been in Australia for a year freshening up their food and hospitality skills.Robbie Bell from Gateshead is new head chef of Bistro 21 in Durham after a year working in two of Sydney’s most popular and prestigious restaurants. Girlfriend Rebecca Tofield is assistant manager. Robbie said: “I want to use my experience to refine flavours and subtly introduce some modern techniques th

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Geordie Hairy Biker Si King reveals the stories behind the hit BBC food show

Geordie Hairy Biker Si King reveals the stories behind the hit BBC food show

King of the roadTelly stars Si King and Dave Myers have become firm UK favourites with their hilarious Hairy Bikers show. In an exclusive interview, Geordie Si reveals the stories behind the hit BBC TV series By Michael Hamilton Pictures courtesy of the Hairy Bikers Geordie Si King and Lancashire lad Dave Myers have been pals for more than 20 years. They original

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Terry's all gold - Terry Laybourne, the North East's most celebrated chef, talks food

Terry's all gold - Terry Laybourne, the North East's most celebrated chef, talks food

He's the man with the Midas touch. Terry Laybourne talks about the long road to success Caption: Terry is pictured here with his operations director Nick Shottel (far left) and wife Susan Bitesize Do you have a secret food vice?Not a vice as such, but chefs tend to eat simply when they’re off-duty. I am happy with a plate of corned beef, chips and pickled onions. Where do you eat apart from your own restaurants?I tend to stay around Newcastle. I go to Pizza Express, Piccolino near Café 21 and I u

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Sachins in Newcastle - Posh spice

Sachins in Newcastle - Posh spice

Currying favour to Newcastle Sachins in Newcastle is unique. The only Punjabi restaurant in the North East and the food is as original and distinctive as it was when it opened 30 years ago. It’s not your run-of-the mill curry house featuring heavy, cloying sauces. And you won’t need five pints of lager to put out the fire. Punjabi cooking is regarded in South Asia like French cuisine is Europe – refined and a cut above. Think spices, subtle flavours, delicate taste and texture.

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Newcastle Hotel du Vin and Bistro

Newcastle Hotel du Vin and Bistro

Hotel du Vin and Bistro Newcastle has made quite an art of converting historic buildings into new, successful and exciting ventures open to the public. Think of the Baltic (a former flour mill, now cutting-edge art gallery and restaurant) and the Biscuit Factory in Shieldfield (ditto for its current function and the name tells the story of its origin). And now there’s the Hotel du Vin and Bistro, one of the latest in a small, uber-cool chain in the UK. About ten minutes’ walk

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Award-winning Feathers Inn, near Stocksfield

Award-winning Feathers Inn, near Stocksfield

Awards galore for the Feathers Inn, Stocksfield My friend Diane is not going to thank me for this, but journalistic duty requires me to tell you about the Feathers Inn in Hedley-on-the-Hill, Stocksfield.  This gem of a place is far too good to stick under the ‘gastropub’ label – it’s an absolutely top-notch restaurant within a pub. Long-standing aficionados like Diane want to keep it under their hats – not least because it’s already hard to get a table despite its off-the-beaten-path location – b

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El Coto - turning on the style with top tapas

Espana por favor – pronto! Anne Graham takes two pals on a flying visit to El Coto in Newcastle As a devotee of the southern European way of life (and a one-time resident of France), my ideal world would feature endless long lunches and evening meals grazing at a table groaning with good food and wine with appropriate geography-specific music, relaxed conversation, laughter – well, you get the picture. And nowadays you can get all that in the North East too. We may not have the sunshine but we’ve got

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Durham food and drink businesses win awards

Durham food and drink businesses win awards

Picture caption: Julia Cammiss with her award-winning Durham blue cheese More than 40 County Durham food and drink businesses have been awarded a nationally accredited food quality mark from tourism agency Visit County Durham. The restaurants, hotels, farm shops, cafés and bars have been recognised by assessors from national tourist board Visit Britain for consistently high quality service, authentic regional dishes and support for local producers. TasteDurham was set up in 2008 by Visit Coun

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ne4me's picks of 2016

ne4me's picks of 2016...

Picture: The Lake Poets RESTAURANT There are pizza places aplenty in every city in the country and Sunderland is no different, so to ...

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Thea Gilmore

Thea Gilmore...

Thea Gilmore, Sage Gateshead, 30 May 2017 Image by Idil Sukan Tel: 0191 443 4661 www.sagegatehead.com I love Thea Gilmore w...