Peace and Loaf, Jesmond
There’s not long to go now for the Canny Food baby, so every night out has to count for me. I’m intrigued to see the impact his or her arrival has on my ability to get out and about to try new places in the future. I’ve heard all the jokes recently about the blog being less about haute cuisine and more about good pushchair access and easy to use highchairs! As I took Jnr out with me from a young age to eat in restaurants to acclimatise him, I’m aiming to do the same with this little one. I’ll admit though, there may not be 3 posts a week as there’s been historically.
I doubt very much places like House of Tides and Jesmond Dene House will be troubled too much by our presence over the next few months, so with this in mind I asked my friend to accompany me on a last fancy jaunt out to Peace and Loaf. The eatery announced a special offer to coincide with NE1 Restaurant Week and the menu seemed decent, so I promptly booked us in. To be honest though, their lunchtime offer of 2 courses for £10 was far better than the evening’s £20 deal, but unfortunately that was the only time we both could make it.
Having eaten at Peace and Loaf before, I knew to expect experimental cuisine that would challenge my fussiness. I had pre-warned them that I’d be sticking to the veggie options and was presented with bread and canapes the moment we parked our derrieres. It was good to see Dave Coulson, who starred on Masterchef – The Professionals, running the pass. We knew we were in for a treat.
I was served regular butter with my still-warm roll as opposed to the whipped beef dripping which usually accompanies, and I can’t say I was disappointed. I’ve never been mad keen on the idea of animal fat in such a crude form, especially when smeared across slate. The Radish canape I was served was less successful than my friend’s Fishcake with Chorizo Dust, which she attacked with gusto. There wasn’t any of that dust left when the waitress came to remove the stones they were presented on. I find radish too bitter for my palate, although I gave it a try!
Starters were a Root Vegetable Salad for me and Chicken Caesar Terrine for my friend. Both plates were beautifully presented and finished with quickly. I was concerned about the size of the offerings, but because I chose to savour the flavours rather than inhaling my food as I usually do I felt I wasn’t cheated. I’ll apologise now for the iPhone pictures as it is very difficult to take a good quality snap in ‘mood’ lighting.
The amuse bouche came in the form of super salty Goats Cheese Crisps. Historically these are usually deliciously velvety soups served in espresso cups, which have been exceptional on every occasion I’ve visited. Clearly the crisps didn’t last long in comparison! We then launched straight into the Seaweed and Roast Carrot Risotto, which was topped with puffed rice that resembled little maggots. Although the plates were warmed beforehand, the risotto had lost a lot of heat by the time it arrived at our table. I believe this was due to the size and material of the dish it was presented on. The tang of the seaweed worked well against the creaminess of the risotto, and the crispy pieces of puffed rice added a salty edge to the dish.
We were on the fence about Dessert when we realised it would bump the price up to the normal early evening price, but decided to go for it anyway. It was a special occasion after all. If I had been dining with Mr. Canny I’d have insisted he chose something different to me – for blogging purposes, of course – but L chose the Chocolate, Toffee and Sea Salt combo too and I wasn’t going to argue. Arriving as a Chocolate Pave topped with Honeycomb and Popcorn, it looked divine. I felt the toffee flavour was a little lost with the richness of the chocolate, but everything else worked a treat. It was the definite highlight of the meal.
I have to be honest and say I’ve had better evenings at Peace and Loaf, but it was still pretty good. Our waitress, we felt, hurried us through the courses. I feel this is a typical ploy during Restaurant Week to get as many people through the door. It may also seem redundant to complain about the cost when £24.95 is still a good price for food of this standard, but as they offer an early evening special Monday to Friday for the same price means those who visited expecting a bargain last week got the standard fare for the usual price, in my opinion. We’ll no doubt return again when we can get a babysitter, but I’d like to try the a la Carte for a change to get the full P&L experience, unencumbered by set menus.
Thanks for reading,