I’ll hold my hands up and say I’m not always right. Shocking, I know! When it comes to dining out, there are occasions I want to be proved wrong. Babucho, located on Side, was somewhere I’d heard a lot about but had never really appealed. It seemed like the place to be seen and where beautiful people ate; a restaurant where a body-con dress would be required when all you actually want to wear to feel comfortable while eating a steak is a pair of joggers! Seeing Newcastle footballers dining there on social media did little to sway this opinion either. I was invited to try out their menu in the hope these preconceptions could be dispelled, and I’m delighted to say they made me eat my words… alongside a delicious Dessert Platter!
I took my Dad along as they take pride on their selection of steaks on offer. I knew he’d be game for giving it a try after perusing the menu online. I feared Mr. Canny would struggle with a plethora of meat and seafood options, so visited while he was at work.
With its stylish interior, cream rose centrepieces on the tables and subdued ‘mood’ lighting (even on a Thursday afternoon), Dad said it was the sort of place he would take a lady friend for a romantic dinner. He had to make do with the company of his daughter and 6 month old granddaughter on this occasion, however!
We were greeted by Metin, the restaurant manager, like we were old friends. An affable chap, he had a chat with us about the options – especially for me as a vegetarian. He assured that nothing was too much trouble to adapt as everything is freshly prepared. I wasn’t even thinking about having a starter, especially as my plan was to save room for dessert, but he insisted I try out the Roast Mushroom and Goats Cheese Bruschetta (£6.50).
I felt the chef was not afraid to season the dish as it seemed heavy on the salt. That said, I tend not to use it myself so maybe it was just my palate. I was pleased with his recommendation though as the bruschetta was simple and tasty. My Dad chose Crispy Fried Skins which, at £5.25, was the cheapest of the Starter selection. You can guess what they look like so decided not to photograph them.
My main of Rigatoni Genovese (£9.25) featured more goats cheese, mushroom and pesto, so it was a good job I enjoyed it so much on my starter. I thought nothing of the bowl size at first but it was really filling. I’ll confess to stealing a few of Dad’s chunky chips to mop up the unctuous sauce though, which probably helped. Waste not, want not!
My father is not one for smiling, as you can tell. He could win the lottery tomorrow and I doubt he’d crack a Cheshire Cat grin. The above picture does not convey the glee on his face when he was presented with this hunk of meat. I included it because it makes me laugh.. no other reason!
Yes my veggie friends, you might want to stop reading now. This French-trim, 28 day hung piece of meat almost got the better of Eddie, but he soldiered on. He said he’d eat every morsel, even if it meant not eating supper. What a trooper. At £28.95 it isn’t a cheap cut of meat, and that was clear in the marbling and fat quality. Metin explained they serve it medium as standard at Babucho, which is probably more cooked than my Dad would like, but he said he understood why once he started to eat it.
With field mushrooms, grilled tomatoes, onions, a bowl of chips and a top quality peppercorn sauce, my Dad didn’t speak for 30 mins. On the rare occasion he seemed to break for breath, he said how ‘bloody lovely’ everything was. I took the opportunity to people watch and take care of Dinky while he ploughed through his meat feast. The staff were hospitable and I saw many families dining here. And there was my revelation; Babucho is a very family-orientated restaurant and that surprised me. Babucho means Daddy (in loosely translated Italian) and the founder decided to name it thus after his first son was born. Watching Metin greet other diners – especially regulars – reminded me of family-run restaurants in Rome. Sabatini on the Quayside had been like that to me and my family for many years, but has lost some of that sparkle in recent years. Babucho had won me over in a way that I really didn’t expect. Instead of being style over substance as I’d wrongly anticipated, there was a genuine warmth about the place.
My Dad was adamant he didn’t want dessert, although he ‘helped me’ by sampling each of the FOUR puddings I was served up on the Platter (£14.95). Metin reeled off some potentials to gauge what I’d like, including Panna Cotta which I’m not a fan of. I said a full-sized portion would be a struggle because of the two carb-heavy courses that had preceded it and this was all duly noted. In fact, nothing was too much trouble at any point during the meal. My particular favourite out of the selection was the warm Sticky Toffee Pudding, studded with finely chopped dates. The sauce was tooth-achingly rich, nicely contrasting against the simple vanilla ice cream which topping it.
Was having a dessert overkill after all that food? Oh yes. My feeling was that Babucho is not the place for restraint, although they have a Healthy Choices menu for those who are watching their figures. Clearly the girls in skinny jeans and tight dresses who eat there on a Saturday night don’t want a food baby like I had! These dishes were developed alongside Model Health Performance and aren’t as carb-heavy as those me and my Dad ate. Ah, summer is over now anyway 🙂
The meal was complimentary and I’ve being completely transparent on that front. Regardless, I’d have happily paid the £70 odd (with drinks and service) for what we ate because it was such good quality, tasty food. They have a Rapido menu, which offers 3 courses for £15.95, and I’ve been told their Sunday lunches are legendary. I’ve categorised it under ‘Posh Scran’, although there are definitely more purse-friendly dishes available than the ones we chose.
We hoped for the very best Babucho had to offer, and that’s exactly what we got. In fact, I’d chose to celebrate a special occasion here over other fine dining establishments in the city now I’ve tried it out. Metin is an absolute credit to the restaurant, and the service was faultless. We chatted about Mr. Canny’s veganism and assured me he would be accommodated if we returned. There are two sides to this Quayside restaurant and, while I’m sure it is a place the glamorous people hang out to eat paleo while drinking cocktails on a weekend, I think others will feel just as comfortable and welcome dining here too.
Thanks for reading,
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