“ Front Street, Tynemouth, NE30 4BT. Tel:0191 257 7959 „
Mr Lools and I had walked past The Arch Restaurant in Tynemouth almost every Sunday since it was opened around two years ago and promised that we would visit at some point. A few months ago we eventually did visit one Friday night as Mr Lools made a (unknown to me) reservation and surprised me with an absolutely lovely meal out.
We were so impressed with the restaurant and food that we decided to make another visit recently with our parents; this time for Sunday Lunch. We came out of the restaurant even more impressed and all agreed that this was the best Sunday Lunch that all six member of the group had eaten.
The Arch Restaurant is located on Front Street in Tynemouth, Newcastle upon Tyne. This is a short 2 minute walk from the scenic sea front in Tynemouth and surrounded by a number of shops, bars and pubs in Tynemouth. The restaurant is visible from the main street. A sleek black sign with The Arch written in black writing however is not the most eye-catching of places from the road. This is mainly because the restaurant is located upstairs therefore you have no windows to see into the restaurant from street level and the restaurant front is simple a doorway and sign with a small menu outside. From the outside the restaurant looks very sleek and modern especially in comparison to the quant shop fronts of other outlets on the main street which are more traditional.
The Arch restaurant does not have its own car park but there are a large number of pay and display car parking spaces running all of the way up Tynemouth Front Street. If you go at a less busy time of day you are likely to get parked directly outside of the restaurant. Car parking costs 50p per hour. There are neighbouring sides streets where you can park for free, however as these streets are in a residential area there are limited spaces available.
The Arch restaurant is a three minute walk away from Tynemouth Metro station if you would prefer to use public transport. There is also a bus stop a minute away from the restaurant where you can get a bus directly to/ from Newcastle City Centre.
The Arch Restaurant is open for lunch:
Tuesday to Saturday: 12:00noon - 2:30pm
On an evening the restaurant is open:
Monday to Thursday: 5:00pm - 9:30pm
Friday & Saturday: 5:00pm - 10:00pm
On an evening the Early Bird Menu is available from:
Monday to Thursday: 5.00pm - 7pm
Friday & Saturday: 5pm - 6.30pm
On a Sunday the restaurant is open for Sunday Lunch 12:00noon to 4.00pm
I would definitely recommend making a reservation for the restaurant as there are only about 20 tables and the restaurant does get busy. You may get a table on the off chance but it is very likely you will be asked to come back at a later time or turned away. It is essential on a Sunday to make a booking as the restaurant is very always full to capacity.
====The Arch Restaurant ====
As previously mentioned when you enter the Arch Restaurant you walk through a doorway at street level and the restaurant is located on the first floor of the building accessible by stairs. (There is also a lift for disabled access). The restaurant has a very light and modern feel to it as there are high ceilings and large windows in the restaurant. The décor is traditional with exposed brick and decorative chandeliers however retains a modern twist with sleek fittings, dark wood and dark leather.
The restaurant is reasonably small and in total there are around 20 tables in the restaurant area. When you enter the restaurant there is a small seating area next to the bar and then the main area where all of the tables are located. The design of the restaurant means that the tables are set away from the main kitchen area and also the toilets which is excellent as you do not have people constantly walking around past your table either carrying food or walking to and from the toilets. Although the restaurant is small you do not feel cramped and the tables have a reasonable distance between them, therefore you are not sitting listening to the conversation on the table next to you. For larger parties there are circular booths with leather seating which fit 7 or 8 guests around a circular table.
The toilets are set next to the bar area. The toilets are small but very clean and are extremely modern, with cream tiles expensive looking fittings and a range of expensive looking hand care products for customers to use. Exactly what you would expect from a more upmarket restaurant.
====Food & Drink====
The food and menu is definitely the biggest strength of The Arch Restaurant. The restaurant claims to serve imaginative British 'modern classic' food using locally sourced high quality ingredients. I would certainly say the restaurant lives up to these claims.
When Mr Lools first visited the restaurant we dined on an evening from the a la carte menu. I was not particular hungry so I only had a main course where Mr Lools had a starter in addition to his main course.
I did not sample myself but there were six options, including scallops, soup, melon, pigeon terrine and a spicy tiger prawn and noodle broth which Mr Lools chose. Mr Lools commented that the prawns were extremely fresh and good quality and the dish was spicy but not overly spicy and overpowering.
The main courses were very original and imaginative using a variety of ingredients. These were quite traditional British dishes with a modern twist. There were around ten main dishes which made use of local produce. In particular fish (there were 3 fish dishes on the main menu) which you would expect as the restaurant is located two minutes from the sea front. I ordered grilled turbot, with tomato ragout and lobster ravioli. The ingredients complimented each other well and although this was a fish dish, it tasted fresh and did not have an overly fishy taste. The fish was of great quality and contained not a single bone so there were no complaints from me. Mr Lools ordered steak which was cooked perfectly (medium rare) and the meat was a great quality and the sauce to accompany was a great flavour and consistency.
There was also a separate vegetarian menu for main courses which included five dishes. As I'm not a vegetarian I don't normally order from the vegetarian menu however was tempted to order as there was a fantastic choice and the dishes such as asparagus and leek risotto sounded very appealing.
We did not order desserts however there were five options, including a chocolate cake that the lady on the table next to us ordered. This looked delicious and the portion size looked huge.
The Sunday Lunch Menu is extremely impressive. Mr Lools and I were impressed at the food from the a la carte menu from our previous visit but were left even more impressed by the food served at Sunday Lunch. This is a set two or three course menu; however the menu has a number of options so you are spoilt for choice. The starters and desserts on this Sunday Lunch menu change on a weekly basis however the main courses remain consistent.
There were four choices of starters including a soup, brie and pecan salad, smoked trout and a chicken terrine. I opted for the tomato and basil soup and I was not left disappointed. The soup was served at a perfect temperature and the soup was thick and fresh tasting.
There were seven main courses to choose from. From these main dishes there were four "roast dinner options" including beef, lamb, pork and chicken all served with seasonal vegetables. There was also a puff pastry vegetarian option, a salmon dish and a gammon steak dish.
I opted for the roast beef option and was astounded by the food when it came out. There were 3 large slices of roast beef on my plate, which was completely lean and tasted of a very high quality, two perfectly crispy roast potatoes, 2 boiled potatoes. A huge fluffy Yorkshire Pudding was also on the plate, this was light and crispy and cooked perfectly. Gravy was served on the meal however the waitress brought out and additional gravy boat. Vegetables were brought to the table in two large dishes (between 6 people), and there was a large serving for everyone. The vegetables were cooked perfectly, so they still retained bite but not overcooked which I have found happens at most restaurants that serve Sunday Lunch.
There were five dessert options on the menu. Two "hot" desserts and three "cold" desserts. I opted for white chocolate and mango cheesecake. The serving was not the largest but a perfect size after eating a huge roast beef dinner and a bowl of tomato soup. The cheesecake tasted fresh and creamy but not overly rich.
As with the food from the a la carte menu the food was cooked perfectly and the ingredients were of a high quality and you did not get the feeling it had been cooked on mass. Especially as the food on both occasions was nicely presented on the plate.
The service at The Arch is fantastic. The staff are friendly, attentive and helpful without being overbearing. The restaurant is a more upmarket venue however does not have a stuffy feel to it and staff are not rude or arrogant which I have often found in many more "upmarket" restaurants.
As soon as you arrive into the restaurant area upstairs staff either offer to show you to your table and take drinks order immediately or show you to a small seating area next to the bar and take drinks orders. Drinks come very quickly once orders have been taken which is handy for those that are particularly thirsty.
When we ordered from the a la carte menu our starters came within 20 minutes of ordering and main courses came around 15 minutes after we had finished our starter. This in my opinion was just the right amount of time in order not to feel rushed but also not to feel as if we were waiting ages for the course. The restaurant is only small (around 20 tables) but there were four waitresses waiting on the tables. It did not feel as if the staff were standing over you but also the staff were not overly busy so they forgot about guests. I was also very impressed that the staff knew about the food on the menu and were knowledgeable regarding the ingredients and also what wines complimented which dishes (although unfortunately I was not drinking wine on either occasion when I visited the restaurant).
When Mr Lools and I dined here for an evening meal we dined from the a la carte menu and ordered three courses. Prices for starters ranged from £3.95 for soup to £7.95 for scallops, however most of the starters were priced in the region of £5. The main courses varied in price from £13.95 for a pork cutlet dish to £24.95 for a fillet steak dish. The vegetarian menu was slightly cheaper and main courses from this menu were priced around £9 per dish. Desserts were priced at £4 per dish and side orders to accompany the main meal £3.50 per dish.
This is relatively expensive but the restaurant uses the highest quality locally sourced ingredients and I definitely felt the meal served was of the highest quality.
Drinks are priced very reasonably and a bottle of house wine (white or red) is priced at £11.50 per bottle, and this is a decent tasting house wine. There are more expensive bottles for around £30.00 a bottle. The restaurant has a number of champagnes on it's menu including Moet & Chandon (£35.00) the most expensive bottle being Krug priced at £120.00 per bottle.
For a more affordable evening meal at The Arch there is the Early Bird menu available. A two course meal costs £11.95 per person and a three course meal from this menu costs £14.95 per person.
Sunday Lunch is excellent value for money from The Arch. Usually a two course Sunday Lunch per person costs £13.50 per person and a three course Sunday Lunch is £16.50. The restaurant have a regular special offer where you can get a three course Sunday Lunch for the price of a two course, therefore £13.50 for a high quality Sunday Lunch is excellent value in my opinion.
When I last dined here for Sunday Lunch the bill came to £78.00 for five people which included two soft drinks per person and a three course meal each. This equates to £15.60 per person; an extremely reasonably priced meal in my opinion.
For those who are quite prudent this is certainly not the cheapest of places that you could dine however in comparisons to other higher quality dining establishments in the area I feel The Arch is on par and for the quality of food you serve.
For groups of 8 or more a discretionary 10% service charge is added to the bill.
To answer the question of would I recommend The Arch is yes definitely. This is a great restaurant serving excellent quality modern British cuisine. The food tastes fantastic and the service you receive by staff is excellent. In order to avoid disappointment booking is essential as the restaurant is only small and if a larger group were to be dining at a particular time because there are only a limited number of tables you are likely to be turned away or asked to come back
Dining at the Arch is not the cheapest of options especially if you are dining from the a la carte menu but you pay for a quality meal. However the Sunday lunch menu is exceptional value for money and definitely the best Sunday Lunch I have eaten. A restaurant in a great location where I will definitely be returning to time and time again.... In fact I have table booked for Sunday Lunch here next week!
Address: The Arch Restaurant
Tel: 0191 2577959
***2011 Update*** The Arch has now changed name to The Firepit****