Dean Bailey heads to Newcastle to find a restaurant that does away with distractions and lets the food do the talking
Stroll down Jesmond Road in one of Newcastle’s leafiest suburbs, and nine times out of 10 you’ll miss The Patricia.
Pleasingly un-showy and a world away from the bustle and bling of nearby Osborne Road, this tiny neighbourhood restaurant, with an open kitchen in one corner and a handful of tables easily covered by a single waiter, is a sensation.
Chef proprietor Nick Grieves, who headed to Jesmond last December having worked in London at The River Café and Simon Rogan’s Fera, whispers orders in the tiny kitchen behind us. There, the three chefs have just about enough room to swing a frying pan, and they produce a sublime dinner which, on a wet Thursday night, is enough to brighten a month of summer rain.
It’s the first week of Wimbledon, so strawberries are on our minds. They, and the vanilla-packed panna cotta they partner, come happily to mind as I write this review later. A simple but brilliant dessert which, like the rest of the menu, takes the best ingredients and shows them to
A starter of Isle of Wight tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fermented chilli and balsamic is a dish of complementary contrasts, the sweetness from the tomatoes cut by the creamy mozzarella, which is in turn lifted by the tart balsamic.Meanwhile, the chicken liver paté takes the starter top spot. Smooth, rich and finished with a glossy
lid of Madeira jelly, it is the perfect partner for a slab of toasted brioche.
A generous serving of perfectly pink roast lamb rump is a treat on a weeknight. Served with crisp hasselback potatoes, sweet young carrots, braised lettuce and peas, it too transports us to summer, even as the rain continues to come down relentlessly outside.
Meanwhile, herb-fed chicken with creamy coco de paimpol beans, fennel, finnocchiona salami and romesco sauce heralds a lengthy satisifed silence across the table as my dining partner pays it the uninterrupted attention it
This is wonderful food of the highest quality, but there is nothing fussy about The Patricia, which is named, by the way, after Grieves’ grandmother. There are no
try-too-hard quirky artworks, architectural gimicks, bright lights or slate tiles instead of plates to distract here. Instead, the simple wooden floors and tables, the burgundy paint scheme and the whispers of the chefs make you feel at home and leave the food to do the talking; and it leaves you with quite a story to tell.
The Patricia, 139 Jesmond Road, Newcastle, NE21JY, tel 0191 281 4443, www.the-patricia.com
Three courses for two, with two glasses of wine, and a gin and tonic comes to just under £100.