One of my favourite places to eat – and recommend – is Blackfriars in Newcastle. As well as a seasonal menu focused on local produce, it also accommodates dietary requirements such as my own. Its sister restaurant in Whitley Bay shares a similar outlook on catering for vegans and is one I’ve wanted to try for a while. On a recent trip out to the coast with my sister (which you can read about here) we decided to pop in to Hinnies for a leisurely lunch, Dinky in tow.
It was a relief to find that the little one was thought of in the restaurant, as it can be difficult trying to entertain children while dining out. A pack containing crayons and activities were left on the table for us, as well as a menu. As she is also vegan it isn’t always easy to find a dish for her amongst what tends to be meat-focused options, but Hinnies had a couple of choices that could also be adapted. The Vegetable Soldiers and Hummus Dip was a good idea for a little fusspot like her, although she often just steals food from my plate anyway!
Hinnies offers a 2 courses for £12 or 3 for £15 on a Saturday which seemed like a bargain to us. Helpfully the vegan options are labelled as such and it was good to find there was a dish for each course available to me.
Afternoon teas are now available at Hinnies – although not in December and no vegan or gluten free version yet – with Geordie classics like a Singin’ Hinnie, Ham & Pease Pudding Stottie and Brown Ale, I know plenty of people who will want to try out this very English institution. At just £16 per person with tea/coffee and a complimentary drink on arrival it is also good value for money.
My sister (a non-veggie) isn’t the most adventurous of eaters but found it difficult to choose from the selection. She eventually opted for the Wild Mushrooms & Poached Egg for starters, Chicken Breast for main and Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert.
Her egg was cooked to perfection and she found very little to grumble about throughout the meal.
Dessert was her favourite, however, and I have to admit I was quite envious. I do miss a good pud and this looked decadent.
My soup entree was velvety smooth and the addition of the almond crumb was a smoky contrast to the sweet nutty flavour of the cauliflower.
The Chickpea Curry was packed full of fragrant flavour and was a great way to warm up after a brisk walk to St. Mary’s Lighthouse. I felt one piece of flatbread would have sufficed with the amount of curry, or perhaps a little more rice instead.
The vegan dessert of Chocolate Fondue sounded heavenly until I noticed the word ‘coconut’ in the description. I’m not the biggest fan of anything that reminds me of a Bounty and find it overpoweringly sweet. When used with restraint in savoury dishes it can add a mellow creaminess to a Thai curry, for example. In sweet dishes I feel that there’s no other flavour, and this was unfortunately the case in this dip.
If you don’t share my aversion to coconut then you’ll probably adore the rich sauce. The tart Raspberry Sorbet was a nice palate cleanse after the heat of the curry so I polished that off instead.
Service was great, especially with the little one, and we felt the menu offered excellent value for money. It would be good to see a vegan breakfast/brunch option available as that is something many people feel is missing in the area. Maybe the team can chat to Hooba and get some of the excellent meat-free sausages made locally on the menu soon!
Thanks for reading,