61 High Bridge,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
Tel: 0191-2324366 „
I like to go out for mid week food, and because I had never been here but had heard good reports about the place This seemed a good choice.
The restaurant is on a side street,right in the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne and close to the Theatre Royal, shops, bars and restaurants. It is one of those places which I think unless you knew about it you could easily miss because there are not many shops etc on the same street. There is plenty of paid on street parking close by but not on the actual road- just outside the restaurant are double yellow lnes, probably because it is a one way street and the road is very narrow.
The restaurant has an open front and when walking off the street we are straight into a large entrance area and thought the glass doors is the restaurant. I like this idea because having the extra door into the restaurant keeps it warmer. The restaurant is bigger than it does at first sight seems and extends back into a second room, although we sat in the first room, which is where the bar is situated. There are wooden tables and chairs dotted around the room withot table cloths or any other table decorations giving it a rustic but modern look, and although the room is large it still manages to feel cosy and very informal.
There are two available menus- one for lunchtime and one for evening meals. We were here in the evening and so were given the evening menu. The hot appetisers cost no more that £4.75 and include dishes such as Panis garlic bread £2.70, and minestrone soup costing £3.20. There are several cold appetisers starting at £6.95 and including seafood dishes, antipasto and a selection of Italian cold meats served with olives. There are as expected, pasta dishes,some of them a bit different to the pasta dishes I see on many other menus. There is lasagne, a vegetable lasagne at £6.95, malloreddus cun sartizzu, Sardinian coloured pasta twist with Italian sausage garlic and chilli and tomato sauce and topped with pecorino cheese, £6.85, and Pani's casereccie, which is pasta shapes, with garlic chilli tomato, diced chicken and parsley, costing £6.85.
There are also chicken dishes and a selection of speciality dishes including risotto, crepes and casseroles. The menu seems to have quite a lot of dishes containing sausages and also areally good range of vegetarian dishes.
We were out early evening and because it still felt like day time, with it still being light, both opted for the ciabattas. There are three available, one being vegetarian and all served with either French fries or salad (Chips for us!!), and allcosting £6.50. We opted for the numero cinque and numero otto. One is chicken Milanese tomatoes and salad served with mayonnaise and tomato salsa and the other was parma ham fresh mozzarella tomatoes and basil. Our meals were brought over quickly and were served on large white plates . The ciabattas were large with a good portion of chips and both were very tasty (we had half each) with nice crunchy fresh vegetables. The dips were in small white dishes and there was enough for both of us. I tend to think that a ciabatta is a sandwich and usually something for lunch but this was plenty for an evening meal
The total bill including a couple of glasses of wine and coffees was around £20, which is really good value for a city centre restaurant.
Tel: 0191 2324366
Address: 61-65 High Bridge Street
Newcastle upon Tyne
Open from 10am till 10pm Monday to Saturday with the evening menu starting to be served at 5pm.
Unless you know where it is, I would imagine that the restaurant is quite tricky to find and I think it won't have much passing trade; this aside, it's clearly a popular choice as it was busy at 6.30 on a Tuesday evening. The staff are friendly and while they do take the time to check you are happy with your food and have drinks, they don't hover over you all the time. The whole place is clean with a menu featuring a good selection of dishes which are well presented and good portions.
I would definitely go again and would recommend the place.
Thanks for reading
One of Newcastles Best Kept Secrets So Dont be Telling Everyone you Meet!!!!
Down an old cobbled back lane in Newcastle, halfway down the hill to the Tyne, in spitting distance of the famous Theatre Royal, and overlooked by Lord Grey Himself, is a tiny piece of Sardinia, in the shape of Panis Café.
It is a bit of a secret, and people who go there dont usually talk too much about it, for fear of the place being overrun. Ive been a regular there since it opened 10 years ago and if I take you there, its because youre special, and I trust you will love it as much as I do.
Panis Café is run by an Italian family, and it is THE Italian place to eat in Newcastle. They serve real Italian food, made with character and style, presented beautifully by real Italians in a place that brims with multi-lingual chatter and talk.
Walking through the doors and down the steps to the bar, where you wait to be seated, and its just like being in Italy, and you feel sunny, and cheery, almost as though you have just stepped through a space portal, and really are in sunny Italy, smelling the thick, rich scent of coffee, and pancetta and sweet tomato and basil pasta sauce. You breathe it in, and it fills your senses like nothing else on earth.
The décor here is unusual, with pale blue and turquoise swirls adowning curved, almost carved walls. Its like being underground in a beautiful sculptural cave, but well lit, light, and airy, and always full of smiling faces. There is a laid back feeling here, where it is not unusual for the party sitting at the table next to you to lean over and inquire about the dish youve just been served, making mental notes to remember to try that next time they come.
The tables are small, usually sitting four, but any number of people can be accommodated, and I have been at birthday or Christmas parties where there have been 20 of us, and it has seemed to be no trouble to Panis to seat us. It is wise, however, if you are in a large party, to call ahead to book, as it is a place which is always incredibly busy, and standing watching other people eat fabulous food can be a bit of a drag if youre starving and have to wait!
I go regularly to Panis and almost every time Im there I have something different so I am well versed with their menu. That said, it never gets boring. The food is just so divine I would gladly camp out there just to be able to eat there every day!
Last Saturday, my partner and I went out for lunch after a very eventful morning with banks and such. We were greeted warmly in Italian and seated immediately, despite the fact that the busy dinner time rush was only just waning, and within 3 minutes we had drinks and a daytime menu. Panis offers a daytime and an evening menu, as well as a specials board, a wine board and a sweet menu.
For our starter, we decided to share a garlic bread with cheese. This came quickly and we were glad as we were both quite hungary. The dish is made with ciabatta, quite thin and crispy, with garlic butter and mozzarella cheese. The flavours are wonderful, and there is not so much garlic as would burn your tongue, just enough to enjoy the flavour.
Our main courses arrived about 5 minutes after we had finished, which gave us a little time to rest before the next course! I decided on Casereccie al salmone, which was a wonderful concoction of pasta with smoked salmon, prawns, garlic and fresh tomato, in a tarragon and white wine sauce. It was simply amazing, with such delicate flavouring, nothing overpowering anything else so that you could taste everything you ate individually, as well as enjoying the combination of garlic and tarragon, salmon and prawns. Derek decided on Panis classic Bolognese, which I tasted, and which was lovely too. A really rich tomato and garlic base to the beef Bolognese sauce, very meaty, full of flavour, and served with penne pasta, not spaghetti (for the messier amongst us that is surely a blessing!)
When your meal is served, you are offered fresh black pepper and parmesan cheese on your meal, and I always say yes to both as I love black pepper!
It didnt take us long to demolish our meal, and while I went to the loo to freshen up, Derek ordered coffee and pudding for us both.
My coffee was a cappuccino, and gloriously rich, with a soft foamy top. I also really like the espresso, but not after a heavy meal more for when I need a coffee rush and Im in a hurry! Our puddings came, and we oohed and aahed before devouring them! I had my long time favourite, Torta Della Nonna (Grannies Tart!), which is shortcrust pastry filled with lemony flavoured cream and pine nuts and is gloriously heavenly! I had it with ice cream, and they decorate the plate with chocolate sauce in little whirls which looks lovely! Derek had Scioppino al Sorbet, which is a lemon sorbet made with fresh cream and vodka. It come in a long glass with a straw and is very alcoholic!
With our meal over and our plates cleared, we sat for at least half an hour finishing our drinks (and my coffee) and talking. There is never a sense that you must hurry up in this place, you take as much or as little time as you have to enjoy the food and the atmosphere and the talk, and no-one hovers over you or asks if you want the bill. It is so laid back its almost horizontal, and yet it manages to produce scuh amazing food every single time you go there. I have never had a bad food experience there and Ive been going for 10 years. I think that really says it all!
So now youre wondering how expenisive it is, after all, such good food, such good service must be got at a price? Well, no. Not really. Panis is really rather cheap, which kind of goes towards proving that the people who run Panis are there for the passion of the food, and not for the dollars. And that has to be good.
Let me give you a run down of our bill:
1 starter garlic bread with cheese - £2.35
2 main courses casereccie al salmon - £5.95
panis Bolognese - £4.95
2 puddings - torta della nonna - £2.95
(with ice cream 95p)
scioppino al Sorbet - £3.05
1 grande cappuchino - £1.75
1 diet coke - £1.05
1 Italian lager - £2.35
Total spend: £23.60
Now I dont think thats too bad, for the amount of food we had, the quality and the service! If you have young children, it;s important to note that Panis are very family friendly - my god daughter spent a very jolly 10 minutes on a tour of the kitchen with the head chef who doted on her! The staff are very accomodating with regards to making/adapting meals with children in mind so don't be afraid to ask!
If you are thinking of visiting Panis, please enjoy yourself, and dont tell too many people!!! Remember, it's a secret!
Panis Café can be found at 61-65 High Bridge, Newcastle.
Telephone: 0191 2324366
Visit their website at: www.paniscafe.com
Panis will always get 10/10 from me!
Thank you for reading, happy visiting! Ciao, Kate x