“ 77 quaiside / Newcastle upon Tyne / 0191/2221701 „
With its ideal location situated on Newcastle's Quayside and overlooking the River Tyne, the majestic Sage music centre and the Millenium Bridge, Heartbreak Soup is a must visit restaurant for any Geordies with a food fetish.
Some how, I managed to spend two years in Newcastle before visiting but was lucky enought to spend an evening there recently.
We booked late, only about three days prior, for a Friday night and consequently could only get a table for two at either 7pm or 9pm. Heartbreak Soup is a popular venue and booking early for large parties or for tables around the 8o'clock mark is required.
We opted for the earlier time of 7pm and arrived to find the restaurant surprisingly, completely empty.
At street level the restuarant appears tiny but there is a larger room downstairs as well. The restaurant simply fit with a bar at street level and walls of a subtle orange with handed painted designs. There are plants scattered around the room with add to the slightly exotic feel of the place. It works well and has a generally homely feel, I liked it.
The staff are young and friendly, students I presume. They chatted hapily to us about their recommenations while they poured us each a glass of house red.
We perused the menus for some time. The menu is unique, containing things you are sure to never have heard of (spicy galangal, candied kumquat, mung beans, gado gado beanshoots) and flavours and ingredients I would never have had the nerve to put together in the same dish. The dishes have a distinctly Asian/Afrcian influence overall. Thus, Heartbreak Soup definitly isn't a place for the unadventerous or picky eaters.
To start I opted for the 'Crab and Kaffir Lime Leaf Wantons' seved with a hot and spicy galangal noodle broth. My partner went for the 'Salmon Crevich'. Cured slamon, with avocado, salsa, potato tuille and sweet chilli dressing.
The wantons were wonderful, light and crisp and full of flavour, presented next to a bowl of rich clear noodle broth with which to dip them. By this stage I think my partner was wishing he had been a little more adventurous, although he did enjoy the salmon! The portions were modest but for a starter a think they were adequate.
If neither of these options take your fancy perhaps you would prefer the 'Asian spiced scotch quails eggs (V), with chilli jam and mint yoghurt or the 'Buttered chilli king prawns' with cucumber noodles, saffron water and a balsamic syrup. Both of which sound wonderful to me.
For my main I selected the 'Merquez Sausage' A paella of african lamb sausages with dried shimp, proscuitto and artichoke. My partner opted for the 'Paprika Smoked Lamb' served with a sun dried tomatoe and feta mash, saffron yogurt and red wine jus.
The paella was good, a well sized portion which was full of flavour and very tasty. The only downside was that it could have done with being a little hotter in my opinion, I like my food to be piping hot when served ideally and this was warm at best.
I talked my way into a mouthful of the lamb which was also good, tender, perfectly cooked to your own taste and exceptionally well presented.
If these options don't take your fancy some of the other options on the menu include the 'star anise szechuan duck, with a green onion and mung bean pancake and braised red cabbage, or the roast fig tarte tatin with vine tomatoes, braised shallots and new potatoes wrapped in kale (V).
Sadly pudding was a letdown. We chose to share the half baked white chocolate cheesecake. It wouldn't have been my choice but I ley my partner have the final decision as he has more of a sweet tooth than I do. I am not much of a chocolate person and it was far too sweet for me, very sickly. He enjoyed it more than I although agreed that it was too heavy for a final course.
The pudding menu changes frequently and is displayed on a board in the restaurant. For this reason I haven't detailed any of the other options.
By this point the restaurant had filled up and was a buzz of life. However, because we were first there the service was a little too fast, I would have preffered to have had more of a break between the courses, as it was we were in and out in just over an hour and we were pestered by the staff a little too much for my liking.
The bill was around £50, including a bottle of red wine to share and a generous tip. This is quite expensive but then Heartbreak Soup is a place for special occasions. It is home cooked, real, well presented, original and interesting food. Therefore I think it is worth the extra pennies.
The restaurant is only open in the evenings from 6pm. There is a good selection of vegetarian options available (some detailed above) as confirmed by a veggie friend. However it isn't the kind of place to bring children as the food is much too unusual and the restarant has a distinctly adult feel about it.
I certainly give Heartbreak Soup my recommendation, although I have decided to give it four stars as it is a little overpriced and because I would have preferred more of a break between courses. I hope to return at some point and try some of the other wonderful sounding dishes.
If you interested in checking out the menu yourself have a look online at www.heartbreaksoup.com.