“ 11 Nelson Street / Newcastle Upon Tyne / NE1 5AN / Tel: 0191 230 5100 „
Meze Café Bar and Grill
Eldon Square Shopping Centre
Newcastle Upon Tyne
Anyone who knows me, or who happens to have read my reviews, will know that my destination of choice when the call of coffee comes mid-shop is Panis Café Bar in Newcastle a secret hideaway beyond the bustle of the shops that brews the most amazing coffee this side of Italy and which is run by a family of delightfully talented Sardinians. It is, however, a bit of a walk from the main drag, and so having a second best coffee central that is more well central to town is a good thing. Especially when its raining cats and dogs and you havent got a plastic bag never mind a brolly to protect your beautifully just done hairdo. Meze Café Bar is just this place, and if I ever find myself in need of a brew and too tired to walk to Panis, or if Im meeting mum (whos always late) or Himself, Ill plonk myself down in Mezes and pass the time of day with a cup of coffee or a pot of tea. And very nice tea it is too!
Location and Access
Meze Café Bar is to be found in the Eldon Square Shopping Centre (Sidgate) and can be accessed either from within the shopping centre, where its conveniently (for me!) near to the Post Office and both my bus stops, or from Nelson Street, where you can sit out on a sunny day at the tables provided and enjoy your tea or coffee whilst soaking up the rays. If its not raining, that is ! If you have a buggy or use a wheelchair, its probably easier to come in from the street entrance, as the café is on two levels, with the higher level being the one nearest to the shopping centre, but if you come in via the shopping centre, there is an electric stair lift which folds flat to the wall and can be folded down to provide a smooth entrance down the 7 or so steps to the lower part of the café without too much trouble at all.
The café is like a lovely warm cup of coffee, in that the walls are painted a soft mocha, the tables and chairs are rich, deep coffee coloured, and the long, padded seats that run the length of the walls are dark brown and striped through the middle with a pale but warm caramel. Its the stuff of design heaven really, with everything so calm and soft and warm, that you get the feeling nobody would mind if you stayed all day and got high on too much caffeine! There are large canvass on the wall which I love, printed in siennas and browns and mocha colours with the name of the café in bold through the middle (in case you forgot where you were ) and picture montages of film stars from years gone by. The floor is tiled neatly with brown and white ceramic tiles, and around the bar, ceiling and partitions, there are fairy lights, sparkling gently in a magical sort of way. Its all very simple and neat, but welcoming at the same time, and I like that a lot. They also have tables that dont rock when you lean on them, and that, in my book, is the mark of a successful operation!
Staff and Service
Staff are always very friendly and courteous here, and are normally very quick to come and take your order. Food and drinks are always served promptly, but there is never any hovering abound on the staffs behalf in an attempt to get you to hurry up, pay your bill and vacate your table. Its all very chilled out and laid back, which is lovely. There always seem to be enough staff available to cover the people seated, and though the turnover of customers is fairly fast paced, the café is never too busy or too full, but just full enough. I suppose that comes with the café being in a shopping mall people are usually there to shop, have a wee rest and a cuppa, and then get back to the business of buying. Tables are always cleaned and tidied very quickly, and its not often that you see cups and plates sitting for more than a few minutes before they are disappeared off to the kitchens to be cleaned. I think this helps with bringing people in, as it always looks clean and tidy, and no-one wants to sit down at a table full of other peoples leftovers. On the whole, they get full marks for both staffing and service from me.
As Ive said already, very chilled out, very calm, very welcoming and really quite relaxing. One bug bear on the day I visited to write this review (sitting with my notebook and a lovely cold glass of cola before me!) was that the music, which is normally quite backgroundish and quiet, was really loud, and I found it hard to concentrate on making notes with Texas blaring through my ear holes! But on the whole, this aside, its a great atmosphere for having a bit of a rest before the next leg of your shopping trip!
I dont always eat here, preferring, as Ive said already, the food in Panis to anywhere else, but I have eaten here, and did today, for the purposes of the review (honest!).
The baked potatoes are very good here, served with all manner of things, though the chicken and bacon mayo is my personal favourite. Today I fancied the tuna mayo, which arrived with its neat bed of fancy salad, tomato, cucumber and pepper, and the tuna was mixed with finely chopped onion, red pepper and mixed with mayo. The helpings are normally too big for my squashed up pregnant stomach, but are decent by normal tummies standards! If you are more inclined to a sandwich, there are paninis from £3.95 and quite a range of cold sandwiches too. Main meal examples to choose from are gammon and pineapple with chips and peas, mixed grill, an all day breakfast (which I looked longingly at but decided I didnt have enough Rennie with me to cope with the after effects of so much fat!). You can order chips and all manner of side dishes, or just have a salad (yum!) Because they are open on a Sunday, you can go for your Sunday lunch, which is normally three or four courses with a chicken dinner or roast beef main course. They do puddings too, as well as smoothies, which are made fresh as you order them and taste delicious!
Prices and Opening Times
I think the prices are quite reasonable, for the quality of food they serve and the speed in which they serve it. My baked potato cost me £3.55, a pot of tea £1.40 and a glass of lovely cold coke, £1.35. Main meals come in at anything from £5.55 for the gammon, to £6.75 for the mixed grill, with lots of other choices priced in-between. Smoothies are all the same price, at £2.70 and a cup of fairly decent coffee will cost you £1.20, which is slightly below average for a cup of coffee in Newcastle!
Meze is open 7 days a week
I really enjoy eating and drinking at this café bar, and although its not my first choice when it comes to dining out in Newcastle, its a great place to meet up with people as its so central, and it serves very good food at very good prices, so it works for me! I can highly recommend that if you happen to be shopping in Newcastle and need a bit of a pit stop, that this place will offer everything you need to chill out for a bit and get the engines going again!
Thank you for reading, Kate x
Meze Café Bar and Grill.
Nelson Street & Sidgate,
Newcastle upon Tyne.
The Meze Bar & Restaurant serves a variety of drinks and Turkish dishes as well as a selection of snacks and nibbles. Catering for private parties of up to 12 guests is available upon request. A takeaway service is also provided.