There seem to be a whole load of new restaurants popping up in the Toon, and I am all for it. In fact, you can check out some of my other recent restaurant reviews here. One of the latest is Côte Brasserie, a smart French restaurant on Grainger Street that’s taken over from another shut down bank.
Côte Brasserie is all about authentic French dishes with high quality ingredients – no gimmicks here. Expect to find dishes like mussels, steak tartare and the classic steak frites. The food menu is just about the right length – not too much choice but a good selection of dishes and the wine list is full of amazing sounding bottles and plenty of choice of champagne!
Inside, the restaurant is well-designed, with muted tones and floor tiles to die for. There are booths, tables and a room upstairs that I *think* you might be able to rent out. To me, it’s the perfect place for a date, so I brought along my husband to sample the delights.
We started with champagne and olives, which were served in a nice tomato sauce with pickles. Looking at the menu, there were a load of starters I wanted to try, so I was relieved to hear we were getting a selection of a few different plates. We were brought crab mayonnaise (£8.50), the charcuterie board (£7.25), calamari (£6.75) and pissaladiere (a traditional flatbread from Nice, £4.95). Spoilt, or what?
I immediately went in for the crab mayonnaise, served cold with avocado on toasted sourdough. It was delicious and the crab had a really mild, meaty taste. Nothing too fishy. The charcuterie board had ham, sausage and duck – for me, the duck was the real star of the show. But the absolute BEST starter I tried was the calamari – soft inside, crispy on the outside and the perfect level of salty. Honestly some of the best calamari I think I’ve ever had! I didn’t try the pissaladiere because it had cheese on it, but it did seem to be the one thing that wasn’t really touched compared to the other plates that were cleared!
We got to choose our own main courses and I HAD to have the beef bourginon (£16.50) – it’s one of my favourite French dishes – which came served with mash potatoes and mushrooms. Andrew had roasted duck breast (£14.95), served with gratin potato and a cherry sauce. Check out the full menu here.
First up, Andrew’s duck breast. It looked delicious, but I have it on good authority that the meat wasn’t that well cooked. It’s nice to have duck pink, but the fat has to be crispy to make it tasty to eat, but the fat here was a bit chewy. It could probably have done with crisping up a little bit longer. That aside, the sauce was tasty and the potatoes well cooked.
Now onto mine and I made a GOOD choice! The beef was well-cooked, juicy and flavoursome thanks to the bacon and mushrooms in the sauce. The mash was creamy and tasty, with chives mixed through. The little potato croquette heart was a nice touch and added a bit of crunch to the dish. I would definitely order this again and I’d definitely recommend you give it a try!
We didn’t order any sides, and in hindsight, the meal was a little bit lacking in vegetables, but I liked the look of the creamed spinach (£3.95) and should probably have ordered the green beans or peas (both £3.25) to go with it.
Again, we got to choose our own desserts and my eye was immediately drawn to the tarte au citron (£5.75). Andrew went for the chocolate fondant (£5.95), which was a very popular choice! Also on the menu was chocolate mousse (£4.95) and tarte aux pommes (£6.25).
The portions were HUGE (always a good sign in my book) and the food was yet again delicious. The lemon tart was tangy with crunchy pastry and just the right amount of creme fraiche.
Andrew’s fondant was melted in the middle, hot and served with ice cream, which sadly meant I couldn’t try it! He also took on a cappuccino, which was small and perfectly formed – not too milky to round off a filling three courses.
Would I go again?
Yes I would, and might well take my parents there for my birthday lunch! It’s not the cheapest menu in town, but you can get a limited early evening special that is great value (two courses for £13). It’s just round the corner from the Theatre Royal, so it’s definitely a good option for a pre-theatre meal.
Next on my wish list is to go there for breakfast – I’m hoping they still serve it at lunchtime so I can have mine with a mimosa!
If you’re not in Newcastle, there are Côte branches all over the country. Find your nearest one here.
Have you been to Côte Brasserie?
We were treated to a complimentary meal in return for an honest review. Here it is!
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