Lunch review: Lola Jeans, Newcastle – La-la-la-la Lola

Dean Bailey pops into Lola Jeans, Newcastle

Lola Jeans

My well-laid plans are in tatters. After weeks of deliberating the merits of hundreds of restaurants, the one I wanted to visit is unexpectedly closed. It’s Sunday afternoon, I’m in Newcastle, and I’m bloody hungry.

I’ve passed countless restaurants, but nothing has piqued my interest. 

Just as I reach the bottom of the spiral, a flash of inspiration.

I’ve been dining – and drinking – at Lola Jeans in Tynemouth and later Newcastle for a very long time. I’ve also seen the team win many Battle of the Burger titles.

Since my last visit, the Newcastle restaurant has been refreshed. Always an interesting space with its low-key frontage beside the Theatre Royal, inside there’s a more mature look these days with black walls, blush pink seating and flashes of gold. 

The cocktail menu remains a standout. Classics sit alongside plenty of modern flair and flavour, while the whitty names – akin to the Battle-winning burgers – bring a smile. I Like It When You Call Me Big Papa-Ya – vodka, passion fruit and papaya purees, rose syrup, lime juice, foam bitters and soda – is a fruity taste of summer.

Lola Jeans’ burgers are what I’ve always loved – including the Battle of the Burger winners of 2015-19 and 2022 featuring everything from pickled onion Monster Munch to Brown Ale.

Choosing from a list of six champions isn’t easy, but my memories of Baby Got Back – a winner in 2016 – are strongest. This towering masterpiece features a double patty topped with sweet Bulleit bourbon and bacon jam, Monterey Jack cheese, Brown Ale and maple candied bacon, a touch of savoury pepperiness from a little pastrami, shoestring onions and the Lola’s sauce. It’s been seven years since my last one of these and I remember why it’s a winner.

In the simply titled Not Burgers section, there’s a short but eclectic trip around the world. The Korean chicken tacos are wonderful with a punchy sauce providing the heat while a ranch dressing tempers the experience, and a touch of sweetness from pink pickled cabbage cuts through at the end of each bite. 

Nashville chicken tenders add a further far-flung adventure to what’s become quite a big lunch.

The menu is eclectic, but it always has been. There’s no great desire to force diners down a route here. Instead, Lola Jeans pleases diners and gives them options for every visit. That’s why I keep coming back, and why it makes a great choice when you just want to eat and drink something which puts a smile on your face.


Lola Jeans, Market Street, Newcastle, NE1 6JE
tel 0191 230 1921,

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