Cook House, Ouseburn
I’ve resigned myself to the fact it’s impossible to write about food in Newcastle without gaining a few pounds. We are completely spoilt for choice with the number of eateries and, even with my current blogging pace, I’m struggling to keep up with reviews. Every week there’s a new restaurant opening, and places I’ve wanted to try for months are falling down my list of places to eat. On a rare sunny afternoon in the Toon I decided to make visiting Cookhouse my priority, which is one lunchtime venue I’d overlooked for way too long.
Run by Anna Hedworth, who is involved in the fantastic Jesmond Food Market, Cookhouse is housed in an old shipping container in the Ouseburn area of the city. She posts a daily menu on Twitter and on the website to tempt in the punters, and some of the ingredients featured are even harvested from a garden at the rear. The idea of locally sourced seasonal produce is intrinsic to Anna’s philosophy it seems, and one we also try to follow as a family. There aren’t as many options available for breakfast or lunch as you’d find in a larger establishment, but Anna clearly wants to do a few things and do them right. It’s an attitude that many restaurants could learn from that run extensive menus.
I started off with a refreshing homemade Still Lemonade – the perfect drink for a warm day – and then ordered the Beer Cheese on Toast. Topped with salty capers, punchy paprika and sweet pea shoots, this was posh cheese on toast. The sourdough bread was robust enough in flavour in order to hold its own against the strong cheese. Dessert was a slice of deliciously tart Rhubarb Cake, which had an almondy crust. I expected it to be served with a dollop of cream, but the cake was moist enough not to need an ’embellishment’. It was an ideal light lunch, and Ouseburn businesses have clearly cottoned onto this too, judging by the folk eating here. At £9 for food and drink, it was great value for money.
Most of the food is prepared in advance, with everything so lovingly assembled even I wished for a fancy camera to do the plates justice. This place is a blogger’s dream come true. The food may be simple, but it’s also tasty. There’s a vegan option (I believe from what I’ve seen) each day, as well as plenty to keep the meat-eaters happy too.
The interior is very chic, the sort of place I’d imagine Nigella et al having their latest cookbook photographed in. It almost felt like eating lunch in your friend’s kitchen, which was comforting. It will be lovely in the colder months when the wood stove lit with its ‘home away from home’ feel.
The idiom ‘hidden gem’ gets bandied about far too frequently, but Cookhouse is worthy of the moniker. In the most unassuming location you can enjoy a simple, cheap and tasty lunch. A must-visit in Newcastle. As soon as I got home I regretted not having a second slice of the Rhubarb and Almond Cake. I know better next time.
Thanks for reading,
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