We’ve welcomed a fair few restaurants to the Toon over the last few months and there’s no shortage of burger and BBQ joints, that’s for sure. It was great to hear about a different type of eatery opening in the former home of The Sausage Emporium last week. If there’s any type of cuisine under-represented in Newcastle its from our Continental cousins. To experience Escargots and authentic Confit Duck a trip out to Hexham and Bouchon Bistrot was necessary but not any more.
The desire of Cedric and his partner Catherine – the owners of The French Quarter – was to create an establishment in the heart of the city that encapsulated the essence of the French dining experience. Opening from breakfast until late in the evening, this stylish restaurant in the old railway arches near Central Station offers a relaxed atmosphere to those who want to pop in after work for a glass of Merlot and aperitifs or to parties seeking fine dining in their exclusive mezzanine area.
I visited with a friend after work, eager to try out this ‘new kid on the block’. While not labelled as such on the menu, Cedric assured me that vegans could easily be accommodated by a number of dishes already featured.
We started off with drinks when we arrived: I ordered a French 75 while C opted for a glass of their house Red. As you’d rightly expect, there’s a large selection of fine wines available and beers on tap. My cocktail – a mix of gin, sparkling wine and lemon juice – is a classic and was most welcome after a long day in the office.
The menu was extensive and I know there’ll be plenty of scope for a return visit soon. Lovers of charcuterie and fromage will be sated by small or large planches featuring a selection of quality produce, while dishes like Beef Bourguignon and Bavette steaks will please those who are looking for more traditional fare.
We were advised that 2 or 3 plates, similar to how you would order tapas, would be suitable as an evening meal.I picked out Courgette Farcie (£6.50) and Salade de lentilles du Puy (£4.95), while C plumped for Crevette pil-pil (£7.95) and a side of Ratatouille (£4.95).The salad was enjoyable and I especially liked the addition of toasted sunflower seeds to add a nutty crunch to the dish.
Courgette Farcie is traditionally a meat dish where the vegetable is stuffed with a sausage mix. The French Quarter have paired a globe (brice) courgette with a tomato and lentil stew, spiced with cumin and paprika. C’s Ratatouille was a deconstructed version of the French classic.
We were asked for feedback and the only suggestion I could put forward was regarding the Crevette Pil-Pil. There seemed a need for a wedge of bread to mop up the juices in the bowl. While there was mention of a house bread selection on the Aperitifs section of the menu, there was no recommendation to order this to accompany certain dishes. As one of the more pricey dishes we felt it may also soften the blow of £8 for 3 (albeit decent) king prawns.
We were very impressed during our first visit to The French Quarter and have vowed it won’t be our last. The atmosphere is relaxed and informal and we were welcomed by Cedric and the team like old friends. The food here certainly ticks all the right boxes and it is great to welcome an independent to the Toon’s dining scene that offers something new and different.
Thanks for reading,