Harissa Kitchen – A New Brunch Venue in Newcastle
Like finding places offering a vegetarian and vegan Sunday lunch option that doesn’t involve risotto, an eatery serving up a decent breakfast is also hard to come by in the Toon where they haven’t resorted to the wonderfully hipster Avocado Smash on Toast as an alternative. When I heard that Harissa Kitchen were starting to serve a brunch that featured vegan sausages I was thrilled, not least because it transpired they were locally produced too.
It was a big week for Harissa’s founder, Jamie Sadler. It was announced that his Newcastle social enterprise had won two prestigious gongs at RSPH Awards. Food Nation was recognised for its innovative approach to inspiring and educating people about good food and was praised as an “outstanding organisation, improving the health and well-being of people in Newcastle and Gateshead through developing skills, knowledge and networks to direct interventions to where they are most needed.”
I originally visited Harissa Kitchen to do a review as it first opened back in July. I was impressed by the Ottolenghi-inspired Mediterranean and Middle Eastern food being produced in this wonderfully relaxed cafe-style eatery. You can read my original post here.
This daytime menu featured some of the delights we’d sampled in that first foray, such as their pillowy flatbreads and pickles. At 11am on a dreary Sunday we were after a proper fry-up, however. Offering a Full English, Full Vegan and Full Veggie, we’d taken my meat-eating sister along so we could try one of each. Mr. Canny was slightly disappointed to hear they had no mushrooms for his breakfast, but he was offered more of the other ingredients to compensate.
She enjoyed her brekkie – minus the beans – especially as she had two yolks to dip her sourdough toast into. The meat sausages were great quality and had a slight kick to them. The bacon was cooked just the way she like it, just the right side of crispy.
Not eating eggs or beans, I asked to have the vegan sausages as a substitute. The griddled salty Halloumi was lovely with the peppery rocket, and their avocado smash spiked with chopped tomatoes and lime was great on the chewy sourdough. I’m still not a convert though, given a choice of other breakfast dishes.
Dinky enjoyed trying Daddy’s ‘baked beans’, which were a mix of Haricot and chickpeas. The revelation for us were the sausages, made by Hooba Foods. Not all of their products are vegan, which is something that confused me looking at their website. ‘All the taste – none of the meat’ or ‘half the meat’ are something that the more careless shopper may not pay attention to. I know vegans who have presumed all Quorn products are suitable for them without checking the ingredients, when it is still only a few of their items that don’t contain egg and dairy.
All that really matters is the taste, and they are delicious. In fact, I’d say they are by far and away the best vegan sausages we’ve had. Made with mushrooms for a realistic meaty texture, they lack the synthetic taste that Linda McCartney’s bangers have. I look forward to trying out more of Hooba’s goods, including their burgers.
With a vegan-friendly Hot Chocolate for Mr. Canny and a Pomegranate Tea for me – served with a delicious little Biscotti on the side – we were quite happy to leave until I discovered there was a Chocolate Brownie to be had.
Thankfully it was agreed we’d split it three ways after those full plates of grub! Made with dates and flavoured with orange zest, coconut and rosewater, it was one of the best vegan brownies we’ve had. The beautiful presentation didn’t hurt either 🙂
There was a delay in service for another table because the croissants were being baked fresh to order, which the staff apologised for. How many places do that, for heaven’s sake? Harissa Kitchen is the sort of neighbourhood cafe I wish we had where we live. Open Wednesday to Sunday, their menu is available to eat in or take away. We’re huge fans, as you can probably tell by all the gushing, and judging by the reviews since my review we aren’t the only ones. If you fancy a leisurely brunch or relaxed evening meal, you’ll not go wrong at all here.
Thanks for reading,
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