We have some wonderful family restaurants in the Toon, and Pani’s is definitely a firm favourite with the Canny Food family. I have been frequenting this hidden gem, tucked away down High Bridge Street, since I was 16. The decor may have changed over the years, but the welcome from Roby and the team has thankfully remained as warm as ever.
Gavin didn’t even know of its existence (sheltered life!) so decided this needed to be rectified. It was a bit of a gamble for me with my dietary requirements as I haven’t visited since I became vegan. The menu could use some labelling for guidance as staff didn’t seem particularly sure what I could order. I was told after staff had visited the kitchen by Roby that they have some filled pasta that is suitable for vegans, which would definitely have been my choice over the vegetable pasta I opted for.
It was a tasty plate of food, to be fair, but I still find it hard to get excited about tomato sauce and pasta. I was pleased the Teen was able to enjoy his favourite – their famous Lasagna – and he followed this with Cheesecake for dessert.
To aid my vegan pals who may wish to visit, you can also have the Minestrone Soup. I used to love this when I was a student and would regularly call in through the winter months for a warming bowl. I’m told there isn’t much demand for vegan food in the cafe, but I believe it may be a ‘chicken and egg’ scenario. The more Pani’s publicise what they can offer, I think the veggies and vegans of Newcastle will be tempted in.
I have to say, I didn’t enquire whether they had an dairy alternatives available, although Roby said their house wine is labelled as SFV. There aren’t any dessert options for vegans other than sorbet, which is such a shame. Pani’s do offer gluten free, however.
There aren’t many places in Newcastle that have managed to stick around for over 20 years, and I hope the family continue for another 2 decades. The food is consistently good and reasonably priced, and the staff have always been welcoming to our family on each visit. There was probably a need for a bit of a revamp and a tweaking of the menu – which they did towards the end of last year – and I would love to see more focus on promoting the vegan options they do.
Thanks for reading,