Always being a bit short on cash during January means we’re on the lookout for places to eat with special offers. Deciding, due to the pregnancy, that I was definitely sitting out Newcastle’s bi-annual Restaurant Week (see thoughts here) me and girlies decided to book up newly opened Aveika on the Quayside. Offering 50% off food for the month, it also gave us the opportunity to try out an eatery that has garnered a lot of buzz on social media. The Instagram-worthy plates of food we’d seen certainly whetted our appetites, and we booked in for a particularly soggy Monday night to chase away the post-Christmas blues.
Navigating the website ahead of our visit, I found the menu on the vague side. I wasn’t totally sure what accompanied dishes or what to expect with others. My friend had her heart set on a Bento Box, but was then told they’re only available at lunch. This threw her plans out of the window in terms of her choices! We were presented with a Cocktail List, but there was no mention of mocktails and us girlies were all driving. Our attentive waitress said they would rustle something up for us if we specified our likes and dislikes, but it all seemed rather haphazard and stuck to the Pepsi.
My starter of Mixed Vegetable Tempura (£4.50) was delicious, although I cursed myself for not ordering another dish after wolfing down the three rolls of well executed maki in super quick time. The light crispy casing round the Nori worked really well too. K’s appetiser of Shio and Kosho Squid (£7.95) – coated in a crispy Salt & Pepper ‘batter’- fell apart the moment she tried to eat it, meaning she had to resort to using a knife and fork to eat it properly.
C chose two starters from the Robatayaki Menu, which consists of food cooked on a traditional grill on skewers. She had ordered Chicken Teriyaki (£4.95), but because the waitress presumed everyone ate Salmon (£7.95) that’s what she got instead. C was gracious about it and said she’d take the Salmon rather than delay the rest of the table waiting for a replacement.
The mains arrived with some confusion too, as C’s Beef and Tamanegi from the Signature menu came without a side dish. At £14.95 this seemed steep, and I offered some of the rice which accompanied my Atsuagetofu Teriyaki (£9.95) if she needed it.
While my plate was dressed prettily, I felt it lacked flavour. The batter coated tofu was flaccid in texture, and there was no hint of Teriyaki flavouring promised on the menu anywhere. Tofu is a bland ingredient to start with, and I had to ask for some soy sauce in order to attempt to finish it. I was happy to share the rice with C by this stage as the whole dish was a cacophony of white food. Incredibly disappointing. We agreed the saving grace was we weren’t paying full price for the meal.
It wasn’t just the food that didn’t quite hit the mark for us, we felt the venue lacked ambiance too. While a Monday night in January may not be the best gauge, the restaurant area was full. I’m not one to usually talk about the ‘facilities’ in my posts, but they were particularly pungent and lacking in loo roll.
Since our visit I have read the Secret Diner’s review of Aveika, which was more positive than my own. I have also seen other people sing its praises, which has made me doubt whether we got the best the restaurant had to offer on that particular evening. It is a newly opened establishment, so possibly prone to teething problems and hiccups like incorrect orders. Maybe me and Mr. Canny need to pop back before the baby arrives to give it another shot? At 50% off it isn’t too much of a gamble, I guess 🙂
Thanks for reading,