Lunch! The Broad Chare


So how does a vegan fare at a city pub devoted to real ale and a hearty, often meaty, menu? Sharon McKee finds out…

It’s always a risk as a vegan to go to a place unannounced for lunch, especially one that prides itself on serving ‘proper’ food.

But feeling devilishly daring I agreed to meet my dining companion at the Broad Chare because neither of us had been before, it was a handy meeting place and because last time we lunched he, though a rampant meat eater, had thoughtfully chosen a vegan place that had actually disappointed us both.

Tucked away next to Live Theatre, Broad Chare is one of those places you kind of have to know about, as it’s unlikely you’ll bump into it by accident.

There’s a larger restaurant upstairs, but we were happy to sit in the snug downstairs, discreetly separated from the bar. The whole place is stripped dark wood and brickwork, and the atmosphere is friendly, cosy and, well, like a ‘proper pub’.

I do still love seeing a mouth-watering menu and while I think I would always have passed on crispy pigs’ ears, the Lindisfarne oysters and local crab sounded almost tempting enough to make me turn pescatarian.

A glance at the bar menu showed that, with perhaps a slight tweak or two, I could still enjoy the experience and stick to my vegan guns.

A quick word with the friendly waiter confirmed that yes I could have the grilled field mushrooms without the mustard butter and the cauliflower fritters without dipping them in the accompanying curry mayonnaise – but they would bring that anyway for my companion to try.

One good thing about limited options is that you order quickly; my companion took a lot longer to decide, you can have too much proper choice apparently. Eventually he went for the famed Scotch egg and a
miniature burger.

We also ordered hand-cut chips to share. Though the choice of real ales at Broad Chare is another temptation we stuck to soft drinks, both needing clear heads for heading back to work.

The food arrived and we tucked in. The perfectly grilled mushrooms were huge and more than covered the thick toasted bread. The fritters were crispy little chunks of cauliflower crunchiness and I’m assured were made even tastier by the mustard mayonnaise.

It was reported that the Scotch egg was ‘delicious’ and the mini burger ‘wonderful’. The chips we shared were fresh, crisp and soon gone. It was a shame we were both dashing back to work as this is a place where you could linger a good long while, especially if sampling a local beer or two.

Although it could prove a challenge creating something vegan out of the more substantial Daily Specials or hearty evening menu it may be one the Broad Chare chef will be presented with, as I’m sure I’ll be back. My only concern is that his type of proper food in a proper pub is enough to lead any recently converted vegan into temptation.

Broad Chare, 25 Broad Chare, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne and Wear NE1 3DQ, tel 0191 211 2144

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.