Monday, 10 December 2012

Review: The Red House, Quayside, Newcastle

Menus that offer only one or two dishes are the current trend in new restaurant openings. London has the likes of Burger and Lobster, The Tramshed or recently opened Wishbone Chicken that specialise in one or two dishes, but even with the strongest will of the world (and mine's pretty bloody strong) lobsters or gourmet hot dogs with champagne won't exactly fit into the Newcastle restaurant scene over night. 

The Red House offers the kind of slim lined menu the North can get behind - ales and pie. 

The Red House, Newcastle
Opened in a historic old pub on the quayside the interior has been restored faithfully but with plenty of on-trend touches that take very liberal idea of 'inspiration'. Think low filament light bulbs, battered old chairs and those bloody blue rimmed falcon enamel dishes. It's a warren of rooms, tucked away down corridors and passageways, with large log fires and wood burners which are perfect if you wanted to hide from the world on a winter day. The option to hire and book tables or rooms makes it a good option for large groups and parties.

Backroom at The Red House, Newcastle

Back to their 'inspiration' for a second, I couldn't help but note the similarities between the menu at Honest Burger in Brixton (which by the way is INCREDIBLE) and that of The Red House.

Not that that is particularly important, and it's only weirdo restaurant nerds like me who would notice things like this anyway. So the premise is pretty simple, pie, mash peas and liquor and a bar stocked with ales on tap and a good variety of bottles. What's not to like?

Would it affect how you see The Red House if you realised it wasn't in fact a newly independent pub but part of one of the largest chains of bars and restaurants in the north east? To many this wouldn't even be a consideration, but definitely made me look at the place a little differently, although you also have to think that without big investment buildings like this couldn't be restored and enjoyed again.

I went for a pint of Allendale and a steak and ale pie with creamy mash, minted peas and meat gravy (£6.95) saving the very traditional parsley liquor for another day. The mash, whilst creamy, hadn't been blended into some indistinguishable baby food paste and maintained the texture of real potatoes, and made with plenty of butter. The pies, from Amble Butchers, were top quality and full of a rich and tender beef sourced from local Northumberland farms. The 'meaty gravy' was a little on the watery side, but the jus from the pie was thick and flavoursome.

Pie, mash and peas at The Red House, Newcastle
 The good pub scene in Newcastle is becoming increasingly busy (my favourites here); with more than a handful of places offering craft beers and specialist ales, so it's good to see The Red House offering something the others don't. But, dare I say it, is a pie-exclusive menu too northern for most?

The Red House is 32 Sandhill, Quayside, Newcastle, NE1 3JF. You can get them on @theredhousencl.


  1. Intrigued. They've certainly got their marketing think-hats on with the "ye olde" rustic whimsy in full effect. I saw a couple of cyclists tottering round town with Red House trailers hitched to their back wheels yesterday. They looked a bit unsteady. Don't spose you noticed a dart board in there? That would be a clincher?

    1. Last question mark is an error. I like darts, I'm not implying that you do!

    2. LOVE a good game of darts, but a pool table is real deal breaker surely?

      The market research has definitely been done well, was maybe less of the ye olde bits as they fitted in with the traditional building, but plenty of the quirky hip touches about the place that are very 'in' these days. All in all, could be a very nice place to have a drink though, with plenty of spaces to hide away in.

  2. Popped in yesterday (it's my local and I was really happy to see it open again!) The spiced mutton pie and parmesan mash were both a treat, and the meat gravy was thicker than you encountered by the looks of things. Very child-friendly too.

    Only complaint was that they turned the lights *right* down just after we got there (which was only 5pm – eating with an 11 month old). I like cosy, but if you're serving food then let people see what they're eating!

    That menu lift is a bit of a shocker too...

    1. I know! I couldn't believe it when I saw it, not sure it's passable as a coincidence...

      The pies were really nice and was pleased with the bottle selection too, its my new local as well and on the way home from work so I can see myself spending plenty of time there!

  3. which chain is it owned by? x


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