Newest Review: ... you can sometimes be waiting about 10 minutes to get a drink. Prices are also on the higher side. For a large glass of house white you ... more
Definitely playing my tune !
Pitcher & Piano (Newcastle)
Member Name: dee778
Pitcher & Piano (Newcastle)
Advantages: Lovely location, nice views and great food
Disadvantages: Can get a bit busy sometimes
~~ The Restaurant ~~
This is a very modern building and as such has the flexibility to make the entire front wall completely out of glass, providing a beautiful and clear view of the River Tyne, the beautiful Millennium Bridge and across the river the shining Sage building and the Baltic art gallery. All in all it is a pretty impressive view and one which is just as beautiful at night, when the whole riverside and bridges are lit up by twinkling lights that reflect in the water.
Outside the restaurant has taken advantage of the location and put plenty of tables out - all of which are available for both eating and drinking, and take the customers very close to the water. Inside the area is light and airy, with a mezzanine first floor, a huge ground floor bar to the left and a slightly raised ground floor eating area to the right.
The upper floor is only opened up when the downstairs gets very busy and has a mixture of comfortable sofas and tables for eating. The view is not quite so good from the upper floor and I always prefer to sit downstairs, although it can get quite packed with drinkers at busy times.
~~ The Food ~~
The best thing about the food at the Pitcher and Piano is that there is always something for everybody and for every mood. I like the grazing menu particularly - often after the long journey from down south I don't really fancy a full meal, so we just go for a drink and a snack. This restaurant offers a large grazing menu, charging either £11.50 for three dishes, £7.50 for two dishes or around £4.00 for an individual dish. The choices include fried Halloumi, mini fish cakes, calamari, chicken wings and much more - all really tasty combinations that make eating out a very flexible affair.
For a lunch there is a good range of wraps, Panini's and soups, but I usually prefer to either choose a grazing combination or a full meal. One of my favourites is chicken, brie and potato salad, a lovely mix of the textures and tastes of pan fried chicken and creamy Cornish brie on a bed of fresh spinach and a really delicious honey and mustard dressing. I particularly love the slow roasted tomatoes on this dish, I can't get enough of them and the dish costs a very reasonable £9.50. On a Sunday my boys look forward to the full Sunday roast, but on a couple of Sundays they have been disappointed as a busy daytime trade means that the roast has run out by the evening. Poor management perhaps, or just a desire to only serve the freshest food and have nothing left over?
On my last visit I found a new addiction; our cheerful waiter wholeheartedly recommended the white chocolate and honeycomb cheesecake for £4.75. This came with a warm chocolate sauce on top which wasn't on the menu and as an ex-waitress myself made me wonder if the high recommendation came because they wanted to shift the cheesecake, and the hot chocolate sauce was disguising some dryness!
Either way, all three of us found it totally delicious or I would happily order it every time I eat at the Pitcher and Piano.
~~ Service and Atmosphere ~~
The waiting staff are invariably cheery, smiling, friendly people and this really adds to the occasion. Dishes arrive very quickly; white wine is always nicely chilled, and extra drinks are quick and easy to order.
The atmosphere of the restaurant differs wildly according to the day of the week and the hour of the day. I think it is a big drinking venue during most evenings, but we have usually moved on by then. If things are getting rowdy downstairs it is nice to be able to sit away from it all upstairs.
Even at quiet times the atmosphere is buzzing and my son always seems to meet people he knows taking their parents out for a meal too.
~~ The Toilets ~~
The ladies toilets are on the first floor and very well fitted out. There are plenty of cubicles and sinks, and they offer nice hand wash and hand cream at every sink. My one criticism is that every time I have visited they are untidy and bordering on dirty. They look as if they have a good clean every day, so the toilets themselves are nice and clean - but the room itself is uncared for, with paper towels on the floor, hand cream dribbling down the side of the dispensers and rubbish lying all around. I have found this to be the case during the day as well as the evening, and it would be nice to see a bit more care taken here.
My sons report that the male toilets are located on the ground floor and are "very good". They did not notice any untidiness - but I'm not sure I would trust them to notice this anyway!
~~ Conclusion ~~
As you may gather, the Pitcher and Piano is one of my favourite places to eat in Newcastle and ideal for an informal meal that caters for a wide variety of tastes. My last meal there with my two sons came to £53.55 for all three of us - with two courses and a couple of drinks each. Very reasonable, I thought.
It is also one of the few places that I would happily sit and eat on my own - and on my last visit I did rather enviously watch a young lady sit outside eating a three course meal on her own as she watched the riverside activities without being hassled or embarrassed in any way.
Pitcher and Piano
Newcastle, NE1 3DX
Summary: A nice location for a quick bite to eat