Rosie McGlade takes one of her more demanding mates to Louis in Jesmond, for one of the best meals in Newcastle 

To Louis, Jesmond, with The Brunette; she of high expectations and a life so full we’re onto the cheese by the time I’ve caught up (I only saw her a few weeks ago), and the only person I know going to Turkey next week to a Kate Moss-rated sanctuary, where you have ‘treatments’, yoga, and discuss your morning coffee enema over a glass of water. 

It’s unlikely she’ll consume the calories in a whole week that we’re about to put away tonight (my son tells me I actually look pregnant when I get home). I had my surprise 40th here – one of the nicest nights of my life – and Louis makes for a great special occasion venue.

They’re investing a fortune in the best available ingredients and a magical-touch chef, Lee, while the waitresses are up with the nicest in town; friendly, helpful, professional, fun. If I’m brutally honest, The Brunette, an interior designer, makes a good point about refining the decor if they’re going to stay tuned to this market – it’s nice, and our little booth very comfy and cosy, so they could maybe do with a wow or two here, something bold, chic and a bit sexy. She asks them to dim the lights and lower the music, and the atmosphere develops immediately. And the food really is super. For starters, we share Lindisfarne oysters (£12 for six), twice-baked Collingwood cheese and spinach souffle with wild garlic and tomato confit (£6), and foie gras (£12).

The Brunette takes her reviewing responsibilities seriously. “The poached egg’s wrong with this foie gras,” she says, “and the toast’s too thick. Apart from that, it’s gorgeous.” I disagree about the toast; it’s been sauteed with black pudding, and forms the most heavenly combination with the meat. It is sensational, it really is. Also extremely good, is the souffle, and they’re both of them things you just wouldn’t really do at home, so that makes it special.

There’s a surprise melon sorbet palate cleanser, then the main course – belly pork (£16) beautifully cooked, and sea bass (£20), fresh, white, delicate and lovely, and a variety of prettily presented purees and interesting vegetables. Side plates (£2 each) comprise thick chips, perfectly homemade, and lightly grilled asparagus.

Onto the cheese plate, which The Brunette says is the finest and best-selected she’s had in the North East, and she fancies herself an international diner. There’s a warm melting raclette, an Isle of Mull cheddar, a punchy Durham camembert, and several other local delicacies. Easily enough for two at £12. Even Lee’s special chutney gets her approval. The dessert assiette, a little bit of everything, is again beautifully presented and very well made.

There are things I’ve eaten tonight I’ll remember for ages, which is the sign of an exceptional meal. And it’s been good value for money; even the wine, a 2010 Vega del Rayo Rioja, is a nicely balanced treat and not bad at all at £21.95.

There’s a cheaper early evening menu, with two courses for £16.95 and three for £18.95, which sounds excellent value, but overall theirs is a tough market these days. One thing for sure, this is a great time to go, where you’ll have the nicest service, fantastic portions and the highest attention to detail.

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.