Regular readers of our blog with know that we are strong advocates of 'date night' and agree that parents definitely benefit from spending child-free time together. I think it is important to show your children there is life beyond the family and that mum and dad are more than just parents too. I know that I am very lucky in that the children have grandparents who are always very happy to babysit so when we were given the chance to spend the evening at Hawthorns recently, we immediately said yes. After being introduced to the adjoining GIN bar in September, we had a feeling we'd be in for a treat.
Hawthorns Brasserie - An all day dining experience
Hawthorns can be found in the new Crowne Plaza Newcastle - Stephenson Quarter just a few minutes away from Newcastle Central Station. Open from early morning until 9:30pm (last orders), Hawthorns offers a variety of dining options from intimate dinners for two, to an informal business meeting or a big family gathering. I love that there are a range of flexible seating options from high tables to booths and quiet corners. The area is spacious, light, modern and comfortable and although the stunning atrium chandelier, immaculate staff and impressive wine list provided a sense of occasion, you also wouldn't feel out of place dining in your jeans. During our Friday night visit the restaurant was mostly filled with couples but there were a few groups of friends and families dining too.
The Wine List and Cocktails
We were very impressed with the wine list at Hawthorns. I do know a teeny bit about wine (well I am a member of a wine club and pretend I do) however sometimes I do find a wine list difficult to read and don't really know what to order. The layout of the menu is refreshingly easy to navigate with subheadings such as 'If you love Sauvignon Blanc, try one of these' and 'If you like full and rich wines, try this'. There are bottles for every price range and we eventually settled on a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand which was bursting with flavours but still nice and easy to drink (maybe a little too easy in fact).
You can also order any cocktail from the GIN bar to accompany your meal at Hawthorns and of course my husband had to try a signature Martini. There are over 20,000 varieties (no typo) to choose from and I think they are probably the best Martini's in Newcastle.
There are a range of menus to suit your requirements. The day menu features small plates, sharing platters and sandwiches, the tongue in cheek children's menu is filled with favourites such as local bangers and mash and creamy tomato soup but as this was a Friday night date night, we turned our attention the a la carte options.
To start - Seared North Sea Scallops
Herb crushed heritage potatoes, Jerusalem artichoke veloute
To start - Onion Bhaji Scotch Egg
Roti bread, coriander, chilli dressing
Our starters were piping hot and impeccable. Steve is a sucker for a Scotch egg and proclaimed this one to be a real winner with a nice kick to it. My scallops were generous and plump and served in a way that was perfect for the time of year.
For main - Ingram Valley Lamb Rump
Pea Puree, roasted garlic & rosemary croquette, mint sauce
For main - Turnbull's of Alnwick Gourmet Burger
225g Prime beef, Geordie Bakers bun, Cheddar Cheese, Prosciutto Ham, Gem Lettuce, Onion Jam and Twice baked skin on Chips.
After falling in love with a Turnbull's of Alnwick burger when we cooked them at home during burger week earlier this year, there is no way I could see one on the menu and not order another. Indeed it did not disappoint and I would choose this dish again in a heartbeat. It only comes second to my beloved Fat Hippo burgers with the fact that it just wasn't as juicy as my favourite burger in town. Hawthorns version was fat and meaty with the most glorious onion jam and freshly baked ' Geordie baker' bun.
Steve's lamb was a lot more photogenic than my burger (why are burgers so hard to photograph??) and presented like a beautiful piece of art. The flavours were strong and the portion generous. It's fair to say the local lamb was definitely the real star of the evening.
Lemon curd jelly, whipped vanilla mascarpone, fennel biscotti
We weren't going to order dessert but were far too tempted when we spotted our favourite Lemon Posset on the menu - it would have been rude for us not to sample Hawthorn's version. There was more than enough for two people and it was a delightful end to our meal.
The atmosphere in Hawthorns is lovely and really lends itself well to date night. The attentive professional service really stood out and along with our lovely meal (and company of course) we both commented how enjoyable the evening had been. Looking at all of this, you may think we spent a fortune but actually our bill was only £58 for two people excluding wine and cocktails which I think considering the quality and provenance of our food and the exceptional service we received was a very fair price indeed.
Hawthorns is open to residents and non-residents. You can find out more about their local suppliers, menus and make a reservation via the Hawthorns website & keep up to date with news and offers via the Hawthorns facebook page.