Brunch review: Start the day right at Smoke & Sear

Dean Bailey heads to Heaton for Saturday brunch at Smoke & Sear

If you drop a pin anywhere on a map of Heaton these days, you’re going to find somewhere good to eat within 10-20 paces.

A thriving Newcastle suburb of good food with a big student population, breakfast and brunch are a big deal here, and to stand out in a busy market you’re either going to have to be gimmicky or great. While I’ve never been one for a gimmick, I love finding somewhere great for a late-morning treat on a sunny Saturday. Having worked my way up Heaton Road in the last few months, I’m yet to be disappointed.

Having found success with their food truck, Rachael Taylor and Tom Batham’s Smoke & Sear continues to offer unfussy, brilliant food cooked mainly with fire and smoke. They deliver a compact menu of high-quality, mainly hyper-local, produce in their small but bright and energetic café with a few tables outside on the pavement when the sun shines.

The menu highlights local flavour throughout the day, with the Block & Bottle butcher’s and craft beer shop – just a couple of doors down – supplying bacon and sausages which are smoked in-house. The latter is the highlight of the breakfast, while special mention must also go to the hash browns – served with the breakfast and as a handy, plate-clearing side suggestion for the steak and eggs. Fluffy inside and crisp outside with a perfect, uniform golden colour, you must treat yourself to these.

Adding to the great produce, it’s always good to see a thick slice of Northern Rye sourdough – baked in Byker – topped with lashings of butter.

Best described as your big meal of the day, the flat iron steak with two fried free-range eggs is a delight. The steak is beautifully seared to deliver the deep flavour only properly achieved by cooking over flames. Paired with eggs, a roasted red pepper sauce, and the house’s own green sauce, this is a dish to revive the soul from the week which has gone before.

Coffee meanwhile – from the ever-popular Tynemouth Coffee just along the Coast Road – is excellent too and served iced on hot summer days.

As with all our favourite places to drop into on a Saturday morning in Heaton, the service is on point. Friendly and quick, it is as assured as the cooking and worth a special mention.

This Heaton café is all smoke and no mirrors – offering confident cooking without any fuss or gimmicks. Standing out in a hotbed of great food isn’t easy, but Smoke & Sear certainly does.

Brunch for two, plus coffees, was roughly £35.

Smoke & Sear, 182 Heaton Road, Newcastle, NE6 5HP, tel 0191 276 3081,

Sign up to our news
You can change your mind at any time by clicking the unsubscribe link in the footer of any email you receive from us.