This festive season has seen an explosion of restaurant openings in the Toon. It hasn’t all been fancy (and some not so fancy) national chains setting up thankfully, and we’ve seen some lovely independents like Barrio Comida arrive in our fair city. Although not in the centre of town, The Patricia’s location of Jesmond fulfils the criteria for it to be classed as a Newcastle eatery. Located next door to Pizzeria Santana – which is still doing a roaring trade after all these years – The Patricia couldn’t be more different to its culinary neighbour. It shares more in common with its menu of locally sourced produce head nods to Peace and Loaf, which is just down the road.Opened by chef Nick Grieves, the restaurant is named after his grandma who has supported him with the venture. When we were there another diner asked if she was a good cook and if that was what inspired him to make the switch from construction, which is his original career. Let’s just say he was cagey in his response! Nick has previously worked at The River Cafe, as well as owning The Garden House in Durham. It was said that rather than publicise the opening the decision was made to take a handful of bookings each night to allow the team to get themselves up to speed, and all credit to them for that. With all the festive craziness it would easy for a new establishment to want to cash in on the Christmas merriment, but there’s been an appreciation it can take a while to bed in.I contacted ahead of time to ask about dietary requirements as the menu didn’t offer anything noticeably vegan. I was assured the kitchen would be able to accommodate Mr. Canny, which they did. There’s a pretty extensive and impressive list of wines on offer, many of which are vegetarian and vegan-friendly on account of their bio-dynamic heritage. Mr. Canny decided upon the Australian Yangarra, which is produced using grapes from the Southern Rhone region of Europe. We suggested a V would be helpful alongside the choices, as we have in many dining establishments of late.
We decided to share a starter of Fried Artichokes, Amalfi Lemon and Aioli. Mr. Canny had to avoid the Mayo but enjoyed it nevertheless. The lightly battered lemon wasn’t as tart as I was expecting and the whole dish was surprisingly moreish.
The main course for our vegan was Roasted Vegetables with a Romesco sauce. As it was off-menu what will be available to others if they visit will be subject to the ingredients at the chefs disposal on the day.I chose the New Potato entree and enquired about the 36 Month Parmesan mentioned and whether it was suitable for vegetarians. It contained animal rennet – as I expected to qualify as such – and was offered an alternative cheese instead.
The Neal’s Yard Dairy cream cheese used as a replacement worked well against the sharp dressing on the side salad, while the generous shavings of Italian truffle and the sweetness of the onions elevated the humble spud.Mr. Canny was offered a dessert prepared especially for him using fruit they had available from Ken Holland, but he decided he’d had a sufficiency. I couldn’t resist ordering the Chocolate Mousse, which was served with Miso Caramel, hazelnuts and cherries.
The salty caramel contrasted against the richness of the mousse, as did the tart of the cherries. They were a bit too boozy for me and were the only thing I left during the course of the meal.
This French-style bistro offers relaxed fine dining in intimate surroundings. Our bill was £54 for two courses each, and included the glass of wine Mr. Canny enjoyed. With main courses from between £16 – £22 on the menu we dined from The Patricia is somewhere to visit for a special occasion. We dined out with the baby, although we doubt that will always be possible on a Friday night as the atmosphere is definitely more conducive for date night than a family meal with its twinkly candles and mood music. Thankfully for those in the restaurant at the same time as is the baby was incredibly well behaved 🙂
I doubt in a few months chats over the pass with the chef like we enjoyed will be possible as their reputation grows. We look forward to hearing and seeing more from in due course and wish the team luck as service ramps up.
Thanks for reading,