Coast to Coast is an American bar and grill located in the Gate, a part of Newcastle I'm not really too familiar with. The Gate is a popular entertainment complex housing a cinema, bars and restaurants. Similarly, Coast to Coast isn't a restaurant that I'm familiar with, but has restaurants all over the UK.
Our evening began by sampling one of the restaurant's hot drinks - a spiced apple cider served with a cinnamon stick. It tasted just like a warm apple pie. Coast to Coast have decided to add some warming drinks to their festive menu as a well deserved break to passing Christmas shoppers. So if you find yourself struggling down the street with a few too many shopping bags over the next few weeks, remember to locate your nearest Coast to Coast so you can rest your legs and enjoy a warm beverage.
Andy, the restaurant's mixologist, took us to the bar to talk us through the new Christmas Cocktails and explain the concept behind the various drinks. Coast to Coast have created a variety of drinks for the season using a mix of Christmas flavours and festive traditions.
The first was the Mimosa, reminiscent of a Bucks Fizz that most familes indulge in as soon as they wake up on Christmas morning. The fizzy cocktail was created using a shot of Grand Marnier mixed with Orange Juice, topped up with Prosecco and garnished with a twist of orange.
I was invited behind the bar to attempt to make my own. It was my first time behind a bar and it's definitely a lot harder than it looks. Pouring accurate shots so it doesn't spill and trying not to slice your finger off with a knife makes cocktail making pretty difficult.
The second cocktail was the classic Christmas favourite in the US, eggnog. This time Jeff from Newcastle Eats had a go at making a cocktail and in all honesty put me to shame (he'd definitely done it before). This was a much heavier cocktail with a shot of raisin infused rum mixed with cream, a shot of vanilla, an egg and plenty of crushed ice.
The sweetest of the cocktails was inspired by one of my favourite stocking fillers, chocolate orange. This time it was the turn of Girl in the North, Katy who was given the job of mixing Cointreau with a chocolate liquor and syrup. The drink was then poured into an ice cold glass that had white chocolate frozen round the rim. Not only did this give the glass a beautiful Winter look, it also added a little something extra to the drink.
By this point we were more than ready for some food so headed to our table to try out some of Coast to Coast's Christms menu.
The Festive Menu offers three courses for £24.95 and has a good mixture of traditional food alongside some more modern American twists.
You obviously can't go to an American bar without having a burger so next up was the Maple Bacon Burger. Initially I found the idea of having a burger on a Christmas menu a little strange - we certainly don't have burgers on Christmas Day in our house. However Coast to Coast have come up with a burger that really compliments the season. The brioche bun was stuffed full with crispy maple bacon, rocket, fresh tomato and then for the final Festive touch, was oozing with maple syrup.
Soon after we were presented with another main course - Roast Turkey Dinner! My eyes almost popped out of my head. How on earth was I going to fit it in on top of my mini burger?
The Christmas Dinner was the full works - Turky Breast, Pork & Sage Stuffing, Roast Potatoes, Mashed Potato, Pigs in Blankets and Veg served with a massive dish of Cranberry Sauce. Officially my first Christmas Dinner of the year, I really enjoyed it although I will admit I preferred the burger.
Then came dessert! Unfortunately for me both our samples, the Pecan Pie and Hazlenut Chocolate Brownie Sundae contained nuts so I didn't get to have any. From the mmmm noises around the table I think the general verdict on dessert was a thumbs up.
Initially I was a little sad I couldn't tuck into one but that was before the Ice Cream Rack appeared. I would never normally order ice-cream in a restaurant as it just doesn't excite me but that was before I tried the Chocolate Honeycomb ice-cream at Coast to Coast. Wow! I ate the entire little dish and the other flavours (Mint Choc Chip and Blackcurrant Cheesecake) didn't really get a look in! Apparently they also use the rather lovely Chocolate Honeycomb in thick shakes which sounds like heaven!