“ 200 Heaton Road / Heaton / Newcastle upon Tyne / Tel: 0191 265 1000 „
Belle and Herbs ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Just a few miles from Newcastle City Center, just off the Coast Road, one will find the bohemian café Belle and Herbs. This tiny café which has recently been refurbished is consistently packed at the weekends due to its fantastic food and vibrant atmosphere. Food ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The food at Belle and Herbs is simply fantastic and the menu is nothing short of enormous, it always takes me ages to choose because it all looks so good!!! There is a huge breakfast menu which is available all day incorporating just about everything imaginable: there are a number of variations on the traditional English fry up in addition to pancakes, waffles, veggie breakfasts, omelets, eggs benedicts, home made muesli with fresh fruit and yoghurt, American breakfasts, Bagels, French toast, pick and mix breakfasts .. the list is endless, the portions enormous and the quality exceptional. In fact, Belle and Herbs won the best breakfast category for the Observer Food Awards in 2007. The lunch menu is made up primarily of a colossal list of sandwiches including club sandwiches and toasted paninis all of which are priced at around £5. The staff always offer a choice of brown, granary or white bread which is always proper previously un-sliced door stop bread of excellent quality. The sandwiches are served with crisps and home made coleslaw and the paninis with a small pasta salad. There are dozens of sandwich choices including classics such as brie, bacon and cranberry, BLT and tuna mayo as well as more obscure combinations such as pastrami with caramelized red onions, English mustard and gherkins. Belle and Herbs most famous sandwich The Scooby Snack is one only for the extra hungry (dont eat for a week) and daring. This huge beast of a sandwich includes four thick slices of bread, chicken, pepperoni, ham, bacon, red onions, sausage, gruyere, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, salad, mayo, BBQ sauce and gherkins. Its a challenge and a half to say the least. In addition, to the extensive sandwich menu Belle and Herbs offer main some additional main meals such as burgers, home made quiches, salads and soups. I am a particular fan of their soups, priced at £6.50 for a huge steaming bowlful and served with thick chunks of fresh bread. Usually there are two choices, a vegetarian and no-vegetarian option. Last time I went to Belle and herbs I had the haddock chowder which is one of the best soups Ive ever had. Huge chunks of fish and potato and packed full of sweet-corn just bursting with flavour. Ive also had the broccoli and blue cheese and the tomato and chorizo both of which were wonderful. Vegetarians are well catered for at Belle and Herbs, there is lots of choice and they will substitute bacon for fakey bacon on their breakfast menus and as I mentioned there is always one vegetarian soup option. In addition to the main menu Belle and Herbs sell an excellent selection of cakes, all homemade and on display to tempt the customers. Drinks ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Belle and Herbs offer a wide range of reasonably priced coffees and teas in addition to an extensive selection of soft drinks. The 100% fruit smoothies are definitely worth a try. The tart berry smoothie is particularly good, its packed full of raspberries, cranberries, cherries and redcurrants and is a beautiful dark red/purple colour. Belle and Herbs trademark smoothie, a combination of apple, melon, orange and strawberry is also fantastic. The extra special hot chocolate pilled high with cream and topped with chocolate and marshmellows is also a naughty Winter treat. Belle and Herbs do not sell any alcohol. Prices ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Belle and Herbs is slightly pricier than your average café but as its twice as nice and the portions are enormous its more than worth it. I estimate that we pay around £15 for lunch for the two of us when we go to Belle and Herbs depending on what we order. I personally feel that this is exceptional value given the quality. Staff ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ The staff are friendly and young and generally very trendy. I presume that on the whole they are students. Sometimes the service can be a little slow but this is just the nature of the place. Belle and Herbs has a very relaxed, laid back atmosphere here and this is simply part of the parcel of the place. The Interior and Atmosphere ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Belle and Herbs have just refurbished and the new layout makes the café look much larger although theres still only around 10 tables and it can be a squeeze! The café is a very bohemian and funky place that attracts a wide range of people. A lot of students and young professionals frequent the café in addition to families and Belle and Herbs are more than welcoming when it comes to children. The café contains a somewhat odd mix of random old furniture and tables including some huge sofas which is always our favorite place to sit. The slightly mix match combination gives Belle and Herbs a cozy, homely feel about it. There is always interesting art on the walls available to purchase which changes sporadically and a good selection of reading material stacked up by the windows. There is a small unisex toilet at the back (be aware that as this place is quite tiny, this is really all thats needed). Location and Opening Hours ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Belle and Herbs is open from 9am until around 6pm Monday-Saturday and 10-4pm on Sundays. Sadly, they dont regularly open evenings although last Summer they had a period of opening later and allowing people to bring their own drinks. Following this theme the café sometimes hosts FREE murder or poetry nights in the evenings. Ive never been but now I know about this I will keep an eye open for the next one. Belle and Herbs is located in the area of Heaton around 4 miles away from Newcastle City Center, just of the Coast Road (A1058). The Café is located on Heaton Road, around a ten minute walk from the Heatons main shopping street, Chillingham Road. The best way to get to the Cafe would definitely be to drive. There is limited parking on the road outside the café but if you cant park here youll easily get a spot on one of the nearby streets and you wont have to pay a penny. Summary ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Belle and Herbs is probably the best café I have ever been too, its just a fantastic place that everyone in Heaton loves. The only problem with Belle and Herbs is that fact that it is tiny and consequently its likely that youll have to queue for a table at the weekends, particularly between 11-2pm when everyone fancies a huge Belle and Herbs brunch. Despite this Belle and Herbs get an easy five stars from me. Highly recommended. For more info see: http://www.myspace.com/belleandherbs Hundreds of photo's of the excellent food served at Belle and Herbs can also be seen at http://blog.ilovebelleandherbs.co.uk/
Try their Christmas sandwich, which is all the best bits of a Christmas dinner (turkey, bacon, stuffing, cranberry), between two slices of bread.