“ Stowell St / Newcastle Upon Tyne / Tyne and Wear / NE1 4YB / Tel: 0191 2610882. „
I'm a big fan of dining out, and prior to having children I would dine out in my home town of Newcastle at least two times a week. Mr Lools and I still like to dine out when we get a chance and as we find ourselves ever nearer the age of 30, my group of friends tend to prefer going out for meals over a big night out on the town. Chinese is one of the popular cuisines especially for Mr Lools and I, and although we do try and sample a variety of Chinese restaurants in the city, there is only one firm favourite where we have visited over 15 times which is Landmark.
***Landmark Chinese Restaurant***
Landmark is situated centrally in Newcastle's Chinatown on Stowell Street. The restaurant is located at the top of Stowell Street on the left hand side of the one way street and next door to Aspers Casino.
Landmark describes itself as offering "fine oriental cuisine in a relaxed sophisticated atmosphere".
As you walk down Stowell Street (Chinatown) Landmark definitely stands out and this is the reason that Mr Lools and I initially decided to dine here many years ago. From the outside Landmark has large glass windows and if you look in from inside you can see the modern bar area and some of the dining area. Compared with the other Chinese restaurants on the street Landmark looks modern and luxurious with its visible dark wood furniture and flat screen TV's and personally I feel it looks sleek and very clean, whereas some of the other restaurants have slightly tatty appearance from the outside.
Landmark is open 7 days a week. It is open for lunch from 12pm-2pm and open on an evening from 5:30pm-10:30pm.
20 Stowell Street
Newcastle Upon Tyne
0191 261 0882
Landmark Restaurant is directly in the centre of Newcastle. If you are using public transport it is only a 5 minute walk from the Haymarket bus station. The restaurant is a minutes' walk from the St James Metro station and around 5-10 minutes from Monument Metro Station.
On Stowell Street directly next to the Landmark Restaurant are two NCP car parks. NCP The Gate and NCP Co-op. The Co-op car park is preferable as the pedestrian entrance leads out directly onto Stowell Street whereas the other leads out into the indoor The Gate entertainment complex. Car parking is expensive and you are looking at £3.90 for two hours. There are car parks nearer St James Metro station which is only a minute away and this costs in the region of £1.20 an hour.
Parking is limited in the City Centre on a match day when Newcastle United home matches are being played as the restaurant is probably only a 1 minute walk from the 52,000 capacity St James Park stadium. Before matches and after the football matches have been played driving around the stadium area is difficult and roads are often temporarily closed to allow crowds to disperse.
The restaurant takes table reservations by telephone and it is worth ringing up at least a week in advance if possible if you want to dine at a peak time on a Friday or Saturday night especially if you are dining as a larger group. We have never had an issue getting a table however you may need to be flexible on times when booking. For example we rang up for a table on Wednesday for a table for the following Saturday night at 8pm for 4 people. We could not get a table for 8pm but could for 7.30pm or 8.15pm.
On every occasion but one we have made a booking. On the occasion we did not book it was a Sunday night (around 7pm) and the restaurant was relatively quiet. As this is a popular venue I would say to avoid disappointment to definitely book in advance. I have noticed at peak times when we have been waiting in the bar area to be seated that if people have come in without a reservation they have been offered a table but told to wait at least an hour. The bar area is comfortable however the food tastes so delicious this would make the wait too difficult for me!
I did notice a lady complaining on one visit that her party of 20 was not seated at the same table. Instead they were sat in two round tables of 20. After some eavesdropping and she kept stating she expected to be sat at a round table of 20 I heard the restaurant manager say that if this is this was a problem they could sit them on a long table of 20 (at the very back of the restaurant) but they tend to sit people on round tables as it makes dining from the banquet type menus easier for guests therefore if you do want to be sat on the same table in a large group you will need to state this.
***Dining and Service***
I have visited the restaurant on a large number of occasions now and on every occasion I have not been disappointed both dining as a couple or as a group of 10.
As you enter Landmark restaurant I think the biggest surprise is just how modern and spacious it feels. The majority of Chinese restaurants in the city's Chinatown and most other Chinese restaurants that I have visited in other cities have quite a small, traditional and cramped feel but this is not the case in Landmark. The restaurant has an airy, spacious and light feel like you would expect from a modern more upmarket restaurant. The restaurant has wooden floors and furniture and the bar all are made from dark wood. Throughout the restaurant are flat screen LCD TV's although the volume is not turned on.
As you arrive in the restaurant you are greeted by a host who is always very friendly and chatty. Once you have given your reservation details you will be offered to be shown to your table or on the occasions when it is busy you may be offered to wait in the bar area when you arrive. The bar area is larger enough for at least 3 large groups to wait in so it does not feel cramped. There are a number of tables to sit at with comfortable leather chairs so if you do have to wait you can sit down. There are also bowls of prawn crackers for you to nibble on if you get hungry. The only time I personally feel this area gets crowded is on a match day and I feel if you dine in Landmark after a Newcastle match it is heaving especially in the bar area.
The longest we have waited for our table to be ready was 15 minutes which I think is acceptable (usually it is less than 5 minutes). Once your table is ready you will be shown to your table. The restaurant is split on two levels and is relatively large as it can accommodate up to 200 guests. There is a dining area next to the bar area with around 10 tables. The main area of the dining area is down around 10 stairs. The tables are a mixture of rectangular and round tables. If you dine as a couple you are most likely to dine on a small rectangular table. If you dine as a group you will be more likely to sit on a round table. Many of the round tables are within booth areas. These are round tables which have a curved leather booth chair which can sit 6 guests at. Around the booth there are shimmery white drapes which give an element of privacy. However even the tables that are not within a booth feel private and the restaurant does not feel cramped as the tables have quite a lot of distance between them. At time of booking if you want a booth table you should specify.
The choice of food on the menu is excellent. There is a banquet menu and an a la carte menu. The a la carte menu offers a variety of starters/ appetisers and a wide choice of main dishes which include chicken, prawn, beef, pork, and duck in addition to a wide choice of vegetarian dishes. Choice wise this menu is not as large as a menu you would get from a Chinese takeaway but if includes favourites including black bean sauce dishes, sweet and sour , and Cantonese sauce dishes to name a few. There are also more special dishes including lobster dishes. Appetisers from the main menu cost in the region of £5 (for a portion for one person) and main dishes around £9-£10 including rice. Although we have ordered from the a la carte menu on one occasion when I visit here with Mr Lools or as a group we tend to go for the banqueting options. There is a choice of 5 different banquets on the evening menu. These banquets range from £22 per person to £35 per person and there is also one banquet which is suitable for vegetarians. The lunch and early evening options for a banquet are cheaper and the early evening banquet (the £22 evening banquet) costs £15 per person if you dine before 7.30pm.
The range of dishes on the banquet menus is fantastic. Mr Lools and I tend to go for the mid-priced £25 Pagoda Banquet. This includes (for two people) Chicken and Sweetcorn Soup, Aromatic Crispy Duck and pancakes and three main dishes which include, Sweet and Sour chicken, stir fried beef with green pepper and hot sauce, and king prawns with Thai Style Sauce with special fried rice. If you opt for this menu for more people you get an additional main dish per person (different to the other dishes.
When the food comes it is a fantastic quality and the portion size is very generous. I'm not a fan of soup from Chinese restaurants as I usually find the quality of the meat is poor and the consistency is like dish water. In Landmark this is not the case and the soup is thick and the meat is a good quality. There is also enough soup for 3 bowls of soup per person.
The other courses from the banquet are all a fantastic quality. The meat in particular is fresh and succulent and you get no grisly fatty bits in especially in fatty meats like the duck and pork dishes. The vegetables are also cooked well and not overcooked but not raw. I also like the balance of sauce of meat and you do not find the dish is swimming in sauce but it is not dry and even with the massive portion of rice you get enough sauce to cover this. The quantity of the banqueting meal is perfect. You get a large portion which will fill even the hungriest of guests. When we dined as a group of 10 adults (most of these being males with large appetites) there was still food left as we could not physically eat any more as a group.
You are given food in small bowls therefore can't put out a large portion of food into your plate in one go. This is why the tables are mainly rounded as the table has a turntable in the centre to put all of the dishes on. You are also given chopsticks with your meal and do have to request a fork if necessary. The staff have no problem giving these to you, although I know a lot of our friends feel embarrassed that they have to ask for a fork when they dine here.
Service wise the staff are very friendly. The waiting staff are not as bubbly and chatty as the hosts that greet you but are friendly and helpful. They bring food to the table and put the soup and rice into the dishes for the banquet. They also come over to check if you are ok for drinks. What I like about the service is even when you are busy you do not feel rushed but the service is efficient so you are not waiting ages between dishes. You may have to wait for your table but once you are seated you get full attention. Once you have ordered you find your first dish arrives within 15 minutes and then each dish arrives with no longer than a 10 minute wait. I find that although the food seems to come quickly.
The bar offers a wide selection of drinks. This includes beer and cider on draught and a wide selection of white, red and rose wines. House wine costs around £12 per bottle. Soft drinks and hot drinks are also sold and these are reasonable however I have once ordered a Bacardi and diet coke and this was around £4 so ordering spirits does add to the cost at the end of your bill.
For a Chinese meal prices at Landmark are slightly higher than the average Chinese restaurant in the City Centre but only slightly. I also feel meals are good value as you get a large portion of decent quality food. When Mr Lools and I dine here as a couple we tend to pay around £60 for a banquet meal and a bottle of wine which I consider in the reasonable category. As a group of 4 we tend to pay no more than £130 and this usually includes pre dinner drinks in addition to wine.
This is without doubt my favourite Chinese restaurant in Newcastle and probably in my top two favourite restaurants in the city. The quality and choice of food is brilliant and meals are cooked perfectly. As a dining experience Landmark also gets top marks and I have never been disappointed with my meal or aspect of the service. The service is friendly and efficient and the restaurant surroundings are light stylish and modern.
Prices are slightly more expensive than some of the other Chinese restaurants in the area but I think the price is justified by the excellent quality of food, service and the fact the restaurant offers a high quality dining experience.
Definitely a restaurant I will be visiting time and time again.
Visited the Landmark last night, third time there and I had a lovely time.
From walking in the door to walking out the service was excellent and the staff very friendly.
The décor and general feel is of elegance and style. The food we had was delicious and a cut above the other restaurants situated along Stowell Street, but the prices were the same as the others, above all great food and a service with a friendly atmosphere makes a perfect trip out.
The food was served when we wanted it, it was not rushed and we did not have to wait for ages. In regards to the above review, I have previously visited when I was In a hurry for a quick meal, I explained that we were in a rush to go to a party afterwards and the food came at a brisk pace.
I would recommend to anyone to visit, one of the best restaurants in Newcastle without doubt.
Food excellent! Decor great, good atmosphere. However service was very poor, we waited and eternity between courses. We were in a party of 10, we waited nearly an hour between courses! This is not good enough, while we waited for the food, we also had to keep chasing the waiters for our drinks. It was a real disappointment, most of our party advised that they would not be going back! When we complained I was advised by Andrew that he would expect a banquet order to take 3-4 hours - Rubbish just excuses because they were busy and could not handle it!
One of our favourite restaurants, this (I think) opened only about a year ago, but we have already been several times, and found it excellent whether going as a couple, for a family meal, or with a group of friends.
**Where is it?**
Located on Stowell street, in the heart of Newcastle's China Town, this is easily recognisable because it is the first restaurant you come to when driving along the one way street. Also, for anyone who knows Newcastle, it is almost directly across the road from Rosies bar ( a pub which I think has been there forever!).
As well as being instantly findable because of its location, it is also identifiable because of the full length and width windows, which, whilst large, afford a sense of privacy, draped as they are by some sort of gauze.
Once inside, there is a large, open bar area, divided into smaller more intimate areas. There are long low tables and comfy sofas at the window, booth type tables along the side of the area, and for those who want to see and be seen, tall tables where you can stand, chat and drink.
On all of the tables, there is an abundance of prawn crackers, so the eating experience starts as soon as you go in!
On this level, there are also a couple of very intimate dinind tables. these are round tables, which are covered all around with a sort of gauze curtain- perfect for that intimate dinner a deux, or for those times when your own party is enough. There are a few of these tables down the stairs in the main eating area. These are our favourite tables, and although we don't book them we always hope we will get one.
Walk down a few stairs and there is the main dining area with tables of different sizes dotted about, although all with plenty of space between them; nowhere in this restaurant do you feel as though you are about to join someone elses party. The mirrors around the edges gives it a sense of space but the muted lighting keeps it all intimate.
Each time we have been, the food has been nothing short of delicious, and plenty of it. The only gripe I have is that I wish we could go with 3 people and order and pay for a buffet for two because there would still be plenty!
There is a choice of 6 banquets, starting at £13 for the Summer palace Banquet and going up to £32 for the Emperor Banquet. Each banquet caters for between 2 up to 6 or more people, obviously varying the amounts and the dishes dependent on the number of people.
We usually opt for the Great Wall banquet at £26 a head, because all the old time favourites are included. There is the seafood and chicken and sweetcorn soup followed by the much enjoyed crispy duck, then comes King prawns in a two taster sauce (have no idea what it is but it tastes excellent). the main course includes a huge bowl of special fried rice, fillet of steak in black pepper sauce, deep fried chicken and prawns with green pepper in a chilli sauce...all this in the banquet for two people. After you have eaten your fill, they bring along a veritable feast of fruit.
As well as the banquets, for those people who like to chose their own (not me- I'd be worried mine wouldn't bew my favourite, and I like the moving banquet tables), there is a varied menu with a large selection of appetisers starting at £4 for the vegetarian rolls. There are also soups, seafood specialities, crab dishes, scallop dishes, squid dishes, poultry, meat and vegetarian dishes. In fact, I looked on the menu and there are 105 choices- way too many for me!
Prices start around £9 although the vegetarian dishes are slightly cheaper.
The toilets are spotlessly clean and include such touches as adequate lighting, smear free mirrors, and orchids in vases. There are toilets located in two areas so queuing is not an option.
Landmark, Ground Level, stowell street, Newcastle upon Tyne. NE1 4YB
Tel: 0191 2610882
**What i thought**
Having been on several occasions, in a couple, with the children, and with groups of friends, this has to be one of my favourite eateries.
The menu states that it is the "gateway to culinary excellence", and I can honestly say that I have never been able to fault the food. The last time we went was with a group of 6, and although we are big eaters, there was still food which had to be reluctantly sent back (doggy bags please), and everyone thoroughly enjoyed their meal.
The restaurant is usually busy, but without that sense of having to wait for ages should you need anything. this could have alot to do with the staff who are helpful and courteous, and available whenever your glass needs topping up. There is a lovely atmosphere with no loud music blaring over any converstaion, just a general busy buzz about the place.
We were there on saturday for a 9.30pm booking, and although we didn't leave till 1am, there were other customers there, and no feeling of having out stayed our welcome.
The restaurant is similarly accommodating for children, so, especially since it is open on a Sunday, makes a nice change when we want to eat out on a Sunday lunchtime.
Spotlessly clean, excellent food, helpful staff...yes, I will be eating here again.
Thanks for reading.