The Guardian recently published a new city guide for Newcastle and it includes places actual people really go to, who aren't total wankers. I know, it's a shocker right?
The Stand Comedy Club and Bistro, featured in The Guardian city guide, is somewhere I've been meaning to write about. Not on the comedy front, I'm not sure i'm a stand up type of person but I've visited a couple of times before, once on a pleasant work lunch, the other an all together more difficult experience. I was hungover, I didn't particularly want to be out of the house but for some reason, I forget why, had decided we wanted to get lunch. Deciding on The Stand, we sat down, I ordered coffee and food. Bad move, the coffee instantly brought back the worst of my hangover, I realised I definitely couldn't eat anything, the other half had to eat two burgers and I sat with my head on the table for the entire time.
A visit this Saturday was all together more pleasing. It was more than that, it was excellent. Aside from some slightly erratic service it was all completely spot on, and incredible value. I feel like I'm gushing and being enthusiastic for once and i'm so pleased somewhere has excited me, because i've felt a bit jaded about eating out in Newcastle recently.
As we are all aware, the weather has been cold of late. So cold i've got bored with trying to heat the entire flat and moved the mattress onto the floor of the living room and holed ourselves up in a makeshift bedsit. Town on Saturday meant wet feet and cold ears, we wanted food to make us feel cosy and caressed from the insides of our freezing corpses.
After midday The Stand have a choice of two menus, lunch options including hot meals and sandwiches plus brunch, then main dinners (£12) that run until the evening, all of which is very decently priced. On a cold day, there's few things more pleasing than a complimentary side of soup with all sandwiches. Lamb meatballs with bravas sauce were expertly flavoured with north African spices and tangy, chunky tomato sauce, housed in a fluffy poppy seed bun soaked with the succulent juices and some crunchy salad. It came served with a leek and celery soup with blue cheese giving a salty, matured flavour and crunchy little parsnip curls. All for £5.50.
My braised pork with red cabbage and roast potatoes, at that moment in time, couldn't have been more perfect. The huge hunk of braised pork with wobbles of unctuous, succulent fat and tender ribbons of meat, plated up with a rich, gratifying gravy with hints of recurrent I wanted to lick off the plate, little firm roast potatoes and piles of braised, sweet red cabbage to complement the strong, meaty flavours. £6 for the pleasure.
The range of dishes on the menu crosses continents, takes inspiration from all kinds of cultures and has plenty of unexpected pairings and ingredients but none of it feels out of place. Everything about the menu, from the thai fish cakes sitting next to the ham and eggs feels entirely natural; not try-hard, but well researched, well cooked and well considered.
All in with coffees our dinner came to £15.50. This quality of menu, available all day, is a rare find in Newcastle, where most places stick to one type of cuisine (whether they're doing it well or not). I will most definitely be back and if the quality of the food is anything to go by, I might even be convinced to see some stand up next time.
The Stand Comedy Club and Bistro is at 31 High Bridge Street, NE1 1EW and are open from 11am daily.