Saturday, 26 November 2011

The Town Wall, Pink Lane Newcastle - Review

My quest for the best burger in Newcastle has continued and I can certainly say you aren't going to find it in The Town Wall. You also won't find good service or matching furniture. This is the sort of place that exists by proxy - a lack of competition for what I have delightfully titled a 'yuppie pub', it's central location and its generous floor space.

The Town Wall, Pink Lane, Newcastle
My office is just around the corner from here, in fact I can see it out of the window, and when the window is open I get the combined smell of the kitchen efforts from here and The Forth which is just across the street from it. The Forth has been established much longer (I don't know exactly but was there 4 years ago when I first came to Newcastle) and has a hip shabby feel to it which has been worn in over the years and feels genuine. The Town Wall tries to emulate this laid back modern pub feel and with its mis matched furniture and leather booths but it is such an obviously self conscious effort to do so, like someone who buys pre distressed jeans and tells people 'i've lived in these jeans for years'.

Take for example the fake book case wallpaper, firstly it is fucking hideous, and why if the owners wanted to create that effect would they not go to the lengths of putting in actual bookshelf's - I mean if the Weatherspoons just down the road can muster up some second hand books, you'd think someone charging twice the price and trying to get its paws on the cool 30 somethings moneys would go to the same effort.

Try-hard decor aside, the staff are completely inept and incredibly rude. And this isn't from my one experience of the place, this is happened pretty much every time i've visited. A sense of smug self worth and a cooler-than-thou attitude isn't really what I want from my bartender, I just want you to pour me my bloody drink. I had to wait 20 minutes longer than the rest of my table to get my lunch whilst in the mean time they started serving the table behind us, and there wasn't even the faintest hint of an apology.
Now what was I saying about this place only getting trade because as of yet no one in the centre is trying to do it better.

And I haven't even got to the burger yet. This was 'friday work pub lunch' (courtesy of my very lovely boss - I have a great job, but I don't like to gloat) and as a break from emails, phone calls and continuous orders on a very hectic friday this lunch was very welcome and when it eventually arrived filled a hole. Aside from satisfying my basic needs, it did little for me.

The Town Wall, Burger with Cheese & Bacon, £7.85

The first thing that irritates me about this is the stupid little basket the chips come in, awkward and unnecessary and again all about an attempt at a modern aesthetic. The chips themselves are chunky, and taste freshly cooked but no where near crisp enough, with some bordering on the soggy. The burger was smothered in cheese, which actually had a lovely mature taste and had melted well, the bacon again wasn't fatty and undercooked like it all too often can be but these seemed to be optimised to disguise how awfully overcooked and dry the patty was - grey and crumbly and lacking seasoning.

A dreadfully grey burger but lots of melted cheese
The mis matched shape of the burgers was a good sign, very obviously hand made, but the untoasted, measly little buns were another let down. Perhaps I am being a tad harsh on the food, because the general atmosphere and staff of this place get on my goat so much but compared with the delicious burger at The Fat Hippo it doesn't really compare.

The one thing this place has in it's favour and is a reason I imagine it will continue to survive is its space - large tables are harder to find that you think, and perhaps why The Forth has lost some of its trade to The Town Wall. It does also have some nice ales on (being a friday afternoon and desiring not to fall asleep at my desk i opted out from drinking this time) from local breweries, and anywhere that has Gold Tankard as a regular feature is never all bad in my opinion

Even though i've slated this place, there isn't any doubt I'll probably continue to go to The Town Wall, and why? Because it's central, next to my office, has large tables and right now I can't find anywhere else.

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