“ Address: 25 Broad Chare, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Quayside, NE1 3DQ „
This review is mainly based on a lunchtime visit to Broad Chare with my family in September 2012, but is also influenced by a previous visit in July of the same year.
The Broad Chare is a British restaurant on Newcastle's quayside, located next to Caffé Vivo and owned by the same people (who also own Café 21 just round the corner). It's been open for a couple of years but, as I haven't lived in Newcastle properly for the past four years, it isn't anywhere that I'd had the opportunity to visit. As Caffé Vivo is one of my favourite restaurants in the city I was very keen to try a restaurant owned by the same people, especially as it came so highly recommended by my parents. I loved it the first time I went with my dad and grandma and so suggested that we go again along with my boyfriend when we were staying with my parents for a few days earlier in September.
== The Broad Chare ==
The Broad Chare is a restaurant serving British food located on a street of the same name. The name of the street always amuses me as chare generally implies a narrow street whereas broad means the opposite, so this is a wide narrow street. It is a normally sized street near the law offices and other offices on the quayside, so it's not unusual to see businesspeople eating in the restaurants here at lunchtime. This was certainly the case the two times that I have been and I imagine that the restaurant gets a lot of lunchtime business from people who work in the area.
=== The Restaurant ===
The interior of the restaurant is lovely and is designed like a traditional English pub, except even nicer. There is a bar area downstairs but the main restaurant is up on the first floor, where there is roughly space for fifty diners. It's a lovely mix of modern and rustic and if we weren't up on the first floor and couldn't occasionally hear traffic on the quayside, you could believe that this pub were actually in the middle of the Northumbrian countryside instead of Newcastle.
=== The Menu ===
I do like restaurants with small menus as it implies that more effort and expertise goes into each dish than if they have a hundred things on offer, and The Broad Chare is no exception. That isn't to say that they don't have enough to choose from, however, as in addition to the six or seven main dishes on the menu they also have half a dozen small dishes, three dishes that come on toast as, a specials board and one extra special depending on what day of the week it is. While that doesn't make it a tiny menu, it's definitely small enough that you know that care and attention has gone into creating each one. You can tell that by tasting it as well, but I'm sure that a lot of the quality comes from having a smaller menu.
Once you look at the menu, you'll realise that the amount of choice doesn't really matter: everything looks good. They have dishes based on British classic ingredients such as black pudding, haggis, liver, kidneys and fish. Most things do revolve around meat, but as this is traditional British fare, that's not surprising. There is always one vegetarian option at least on offer as well if you require. My dad and I both chose black pudding with apple from the main menu; my boyfriend went for the fish pie, which was a special, and my grandma surprised us all by going for haggis and duck egg on toast. The current menu and specials can be found on the website at http://www.thebroadchare.co.uk
=== The Food ===
My dear God, is the food exceptional. Not only was it presented very well, it tasted absolutely amazing. The black pudding dish my dad and I ordered was particularly extraordinary. The black pudding was soft and practically melted in your mouth, the apples on top were perfect and really complemented the meat well, and the mashed potatoes, leaf of cabbage and gravy really made the whole dish the spectacular thing that it was. My dad felt similarly and my boyfriend said it was gorgeous when he had a bite of mine. My grandma's haggis and duck egg on toast was also gorgeous and even a lot better than it sounds. The haggis was perfectly cooked and was complemented well by the toast and the large duck egg, which was also cooked to perfection. This came with gravy made with HP sauce as one of the ingredients, which added a delicious, slightly sweet edge to the dish. My dad and I both said that we'd be very tempted to have that the next time that we come. My boyfriend's fish pie was also delicious and he was very happy with it, but it was at least slightly overshadowed by the other two dishes. Full marks for food. I have to say that I can't remember what any of us ate the first time that I came here, but I do remember that it was just as exquisite, so the quality is certainly consistent. We didn't have desserts, as we were too full but they had some lovely things on the menu, including a good cheese selection.
=== Drinks ===
Broad Chare has the usual drinks on offer, including a very good beer selection with local beers as well as beers from around the UK and beyond. They list the cask ales they currently have available on their website as well as having their whisky, wine and beer lists also on there, so you can have a look if you're interested before going. I had a cask ale and a glass of red wine and everyone was happy with their drink choices. My grandma and I both had cappuccinos after our meal as well and they were lovely.
=== Service ===
Both times I have been, the waiting staff have been polite, pleasant and attentive. They were happy to call and book a taxi for my grandma when she was leaving, as the rest of us were staying in town/going to work, and let us know when it had arrived. They also gave us beer recommendations, which is handy if you're not familiar with what they currently have in the way of cask beers. The service charge is included in the bill, which I have to say I don't really like, as I prefer to tip based on how much I enjoyed the meal and service, but oh well.
=== Parking ===
There are a couple of parking spaces outside on the street but you'd be lucky to get into here at night time especially, but there is a multi-storey car park a less than five minute walk away, which is convenient if you drive there.
== Conclusion ==
I absolutely love The Broad Chare and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it. I really want to go again and would do soon if I weren't hundreds of miles away in Germany for the next few months. The prices are reasonable considering the quality of the food, ranging from around the £10 mark to around £18 or so for a main, although my grandma's haggis on toast was cheaper than this. The atmosphere is nice even at lunchtime, but I imagine that it would be even more buzzing at night. It's a lovely restaurant in a lovely location on Newcastle's Quayside and I would definitely recommend it if you live in or are visiting the area.