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Cafe de Vie (Newcastle)

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20 Saville Row, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8JE. Tel:0191 260 2227

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      21.07.2009 14:50
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      An excellent alternative to chain restaurants

      Cafe de Vie is a small French cafe with indoor and outdoor tables just off Northumberland Street (in Newcastle) at the end of Saville Row - just turn off at Superdrug and walk right to the end - you can't miss it!

      I've walked passed it many, many times but never took the opportunity to go in until just recently. A friend and myself had our lunch there on one Saturday shopping trip and I can confess right now: we were very impressed!

      As I said it's a French cafe: french inspired food, french interiors, french staff (well one or two are french). They serve a range of freshly prepared sandwiches, paninis and baked offerings (all of which looked amazing) and there's also a menu with a selection of salads and hot lunch options. You can also check out their specials board to see what the soup of the day is and what today's special dishes are.

      Everything was very well priced e.g. chicken salad and fries £6.95, Paninis £3.95, Croissant with ham and cheese £2.95. The drinks prices were not too bad either considering the cafe's city centre location. I had a Chorizo, Mozzarella and Sun dried tomato Panini (hot) and added a side salad and fries for an extra £2 which I thought was good. The salad was a good size, fresh and had a nice light oil dressing on it, can't complain about the fries either and there was complimentary ketchup too. Nice touch. The panini was delicious too and I ate everything on the plate so it was all very good value!

      The atmosphere inside Cafe de Vie is ideal for a casual lunch with a friend. We arrived at about 12noon and had our pick from most of the tables. There were window seats with comfy chairs and tables for 2's and 4's filling the cafe. You could say it's a bit cramped. I'd imagine that it would feel packed if it was full but not in a nasty busy McDonalds or Burgerking sort of way. There would still be plenty of room. Not much 'rif raf' in there either. It seemed that everyone was just looking for a nice quiet lunch!

      As we were digging in to our lovely lunch the cafe started to get busy but mainly just the queue / counter area as lots of people were calling in to get food to go. Which made it a bit tricky for us to dive in and order some dessert (it's not a table service cafe, you place your order at the counter and they bring your food order to the table). But we managed, as the queue did die down, and we were rewarded for our patience with some fantastic desserts! I had chocolate fudge cake while my friend had a chocolate cake cheesecake sort of thing. They were both yummy. Entirely worth the wait, price (£2.95 each) and calories (oh millions I suppose!).

      We never felt rushed or that we had to leave to make way for other customers so we could take our leisurely time to chat and just have a very pleasant time really. (For a while we could have believed we were in Paris - it was lovely!) The staff were friendly and the waitresses came and whisked away the plates and glasses as needed. I noticed that during our stay the tables were kept clear and clean - the staff were very attentive to this.

      If the sun had been shining it would have been great to sit outside and people watch but inside was just as good. I'll be keeping it in mind for the next sunny Saturday lunch time though. I'll definitely be returning!

      Tips: Arrive early lunch time to get your choice of seats, leave room for dessert, brush up on your french!

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