Snail Trail

It’s a really exciting time to be in the restaurant. The team is firing on all cylinders and I’ve just put the finishing touches to the latest menu. My passion for this place is still growing every day, even after six years, and I’m excited to keep our great start to the year going.

It’s been a little bit odd to write this latest menu; the weather has been amazing and we’ve got some great early spring flavours in already. We have some lovely spring veg, including plenty of wild garlic, which we’ve been out foraging, and some fantastic produce from Vanessa Dow’s allotment in Heaton.

The beginning of spring is a great time to develop dishes and I’m particularly proud of the Mediterranean lamb dish we’re serving at the moment. It’s our spin on a classic tagine with anchovies, red peppers and chickpeas.

There are still some winter flavours kicking about too, though I have to admit I’m sick of root vegetables, so I’ve tried to chuck as much bright, green produce on the menu as I can get my hands on.

A second dish I’m really excited about is a halibut, wild garlic and snail dish. I’d love to be able to use some locally produced snails for it and if anyone reading this is farming snails in the North of England and wants to have a chat, give me a shout in the restaurant.

I had a good time down at Rockliffe Hall recently for its first food festival. I got to team back up with Dan Fletcher and Danny Parker and got to meet Richard Allen and Gary Duffy from Rockliffe; two sound guys who were fantastic to work alongside.

Away from Peace & Loaf, we’ve been super busy at home preparing for our wedding in Rome in May. Thomas is well on track with potty training too, which I’m sure he’ll be delighted to read about in
15 years or so.

We’ve not been out much, but I must give a shout out to Träkol at By The River Brew Co under the Tyne Bridge. The Sunday lunch we had there recently was absolutely spot on – complex flavours brought out of simple ingredients is always a treat. The vibe in there is just right too – not too fussy and very trendy.

By the time we get to my next column, we’ll be bang into summer flavours and the North East’s producers will be in full flow. I can’t wait!

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