Dean Bailey samples brunch at St Vincent, Newcastle
When Terry Laybourne closed Caffe Vivo on Newcastle’s Quayside in October, we felt the city lost something very special, our go-to for great Italian food and wine exactly the way we liked it.
But Laybourne wanted to freshen things up, and the wine bar/coffee house/neighbourhood restaurant which has taken Vivo’s place epitomises the modern food scene. Relax with wine at the bar, pop in before the theatre, and while away the evening with friends in a cosy booth. Spend the evening travelling across Europe via wine and small plates, taking in the best of the seasons with organic, bio-dynamic, natural and classic wines from small vineyards in Italy, France and beyond.
Dinner is casual, unpretentious and paired to the season. Graze and share at the bar or eat in a booth. Whatever your seating arrangement, the doughnuts should be enjoyed at every opportunity!
On our last visit, we broke a wintry walk on the Quayside with the warmth of brunch with European flair. Buttermilk waffles with crisp bacon, perfectly poached eggs and maple syrup is made for cold mornings in Newcastle. So too are clouds of scrambled eggs on a hunk of sourdough with delicately smoked salmon and a healthy dollop of crème fraîche.
This isn’t a smash and grab midweek breakfast somewhere nondescript on the high street, this is the best of Saturday brunch while the rest of the world rushes by. Buttery croissants with espresso are a fine pick- me-up to start the day, while the Portuguese custard tart is a triumph, lingering long in the memory late into the afternoon, when we were delighted to return and find it on the dessert menu.
As a spot to linger on a Saturday morning, taking stock of the week as the world still rapidly turns, St Vincent is perfect. The masterstroke here is that it works equally as well late into the evening too, its buzzing city wine bar feel matched by small plates of expertly executed seasonal dishes.
Making way for St Vincent is exactly why Laybourne’s 21 Group remains at the top of the city’s food scene. We thought we needed Caffe Vivo, what we actually needed was St Vincent.
Our brunch, pastries and coffees for two came in at just under £30, while the evening menu ranges from plates of less than £5 to £10. See you Vivo, hello St Vincent.
St Vincent, Broad Chare, Newcastle, NE1 3DQ, tel 0191 232 1331, www.saintvincentncl.co.uk