We had friends visiting recently and wanted to take them somewhere with impressive views of the city and decent grub. House of Tides was out for us because of our dietary requirements (see updated review here of the Michelin starred restaurant) so I suggested Six, located on the banks of the Tyne. My last visit as a vegan here had involved a good afternoon tea, but had not tried out their standard menu options since the switch.
I’m finding it easy to dine out as a vegan in Newcastle, but finding places to eat for special occasions is a lot harder. In the last week I became involved in a conversation on Facebook about the menu options on offer at another fine dining restaurant in the city; 21. This modern bistro had been on my radar for a while to review. Someone posted the vegan menu they have available. I was surprised to see more than one option for starters, mains, and desserts. Unfortunately, the general consensus was the dishes seemed uninspiring. Risotto, pasta, and salad were what we expected from sister establishment Caffe Vivo as an Italian restaurant. It raised the question once again of where vegans could be accommodated for a slap up meal on a special occasion.
Arriving at Six with our friends, we were ushered into the bar area where we ordered drinks. There was no helpful info provided about which wines were suitable for vegetarians and vegans so we had to use our trusty Barnivore app to discover a tipple. We were also given the A la Carte menu to peruse in the meantime. As a disclaimer, we booked the table on the day rather than giving a huge amount of advance notice. We were assured on the telephone while booking, however, that our dietary requirements would be accommodated.
One thing I’m always impressed by when visiting Six is the view from the toilets of the Quayside and the River Tyne. With its twinkly lights Newcastle is a beauitful city and as it was the first time our guest had visited we recommended she had a gander too. The table we were sitting at was on the Gateshead side of the building which gave slightly less impressive vista, although I was able to talk about the regeneration of my hometown during the meal.
So, onto the scran. It actually wasn’t as easy to order as there was no vegan starter option labelled. There was some back and forth about what could be adapted, and eventually the two vegans of the group were served the vegetarian choice of Purple Sprouting Broccoli (£8). Instead of the hen’s egg which would usually top the dish it was substituted for asparagus.
It seemed more like a side dish than a starter and I felt let down. There was nothing inherently wrong with the way the veg was cooked, it just wasn’t what I’d hoped for or expected. Our dining companions decided against starters as they’d said they were wanting to try out desserts instead. We figured our pudding options would be limited to sorbet, if any, and opted for two savoury courses instead.
Thankfully the main was more in keeping with the standards we were expecting and was already available on the A la Carte menu. The Roasted Courgette, Imam Byaldi (sic) and Chargrilled Potato (£16) was an interesting combination of flavours and textures, especially with the green olive salsa which accompanied. Our visitors enjoyed their mains of Souffle and Chicken Breast, both of which were well executed. I was always a fan of a canny souffle, and Six’s looked as impressive as ever. I wonder if a vegan version is possible? Maybe I’ll have to give it a whirl! By the time mains were finished we decided to settle the bill and move on to a bar to continue our catch up so we didn’t get to eyeball the selection of non-vegan sweets Six have on offer.
It was a mixed bag for us during our visit to Six and I was left feeling a little disappointed. Main course aside, we thought the vegan options were an after thought and it showed. While we didn’t give 48 hrs notice for our reservation, nowhere on the website does it say to do so. Their disclaimer is that they will do their best to accommodate. The others in our party were happy with what they ate so I was pleased with that, and service was as polished as always, but I don’t think I’d be keen to return if I can only be guaranteed one decent course and option by the restaurant. Blackfriars remains my default recommendation for those wanting fine dining in the city centre for a special occasion.
Thanks for reading,
Read about my previous visit to Six for Afternoon Tea here.