Last Sunday we made our way to an unexplored part of the North East for late lunch at the River Bar. Stepping into the riverside restaurant, it was busy with large groups of friends excitedly chatting. The atmosphere was fantastic. As much as I can be a grumpy old woman who enjoys peace and quiet, it's lovely to walk into a restaurant that's obviously popular, it can only mean that the food will be good!
Dedicated to our mission the afternoon started with a cheeky look at the cocktail menu. If you like your cocktails fun and fruity the list of choices is endless, I had my nose buried in the list for a good 10 minutes before coming to a decision.
In the end I opted for Rhubarb and Custard - Homemade Rhubarb Syrup shaken with Vodka, Raspberry Liqueur and Cranberry Juice and then decorated with custard cream foam. Sweet, fun and tasty, it ticked every box. My only regret is not asking for a spoon to attack the custard foam, it upset me having to leave something so delicious sitting in the bottom of the glass.
Turning our attention to the food menu we were both in the mood for something big and fulfilling - lucky for us the River Bar has plenty on offer to satisfy even the largest appetite.
I don't think Simon's eyes wandered much further than the burger part of the menu, he quickly skimmed down the list for the words "pulled pork" and then he happily ordered the Hipster Burger - Beef Patty with BBQ Pulled Pork, Green Chilli Mayo, Lettuce and Homemade Slaw.
His burger was huge but never one to be beaten he swiftly cut it into manageable slabs and had soon polished off the whole lot. I can never get much out of him whilst he's tucking into a burger but I definitely heard a lot of "yummmm" noises as well as the odd "woahhh" - so I'm guessing it was very tasty with a little bit of a spicy kick.
After a mix up with the orders my food was swift to follow but unfortunately the wrong dish. Being an over polite Brit I said I was happy to tuck into the River Bar Burger instead of my order but our lovely waitress insisted that I got my correct order and left us to tuck into the extra burger while we were waiting.
Our unexpected River Bar Burger was a bit of a monster - Double Cheeseburger topped with Smoked Bacon, an Onion Ring and BBQ Pulled Pork. It was delicious but we were careful not to overindulge as I still had my order to come and we didn't want to end up in a Man Vs Food situation.
My River Bar Hot Dog soon appeared, piping hot from the oven and looking amazing. Hot dogs aren't too common on menus which is a shame because I love them! I was particularly intrigued by the River Bar Hot Dog as it was served with pulled pork, something I'd never tried together before. Pork on pork was a winner for me, my Dog was beautiful and worth the wait.
I'm always a sucker for something a bit fun and so ordered The Twister One - Raspberry Vodka, Midori, Lychee, Lemon and Raspberry, served with a mini Twister lolly. A cocktail to make everyone else in the bar instantly jealous, it was definitely one for Instagram and tasted just as great as it looked.
Despite all of the amazingly presented cocktails it was something else at Riverbar that really grabbed my attention. The sweet potato fries! You know how sometimes you love something in a restaurant so much that it becomes your special order? You have to have it each time you visit and always recommend it to friends ... well for me that is now the sweet potato fries at Riverbar.
These were, quite simply, the BEST sweet potato fries I have ever had and I would happily visit the River Bar every day of the week just to have these permanently in my life. Beautifully crispy with the most amazing flavour, they knocked my socks off, especially when I'd covered them in the Riverbar's homemade tomato sauce. I'm still dreaming about them now!
I am a little obsessed with Black Forest Gateaux, so seeing a Black Forest Sundae on the menu this was a no brainer for me. Unfortunately this became my only disappointment of the night.
Simon definitely had the dessert winner, picking one of the many waffles on offer - Toffee Waffle Crunch. The waffles were served with Toffee Sauce and Cinder Toffee Flakes and were not only well presented but tasted seriously good. I couldn't help but enviously look at his dessert whilst I was looking for the chocolate in my sundae.
The Riverbar is a great place for big belly's full of food and brightly coloured cocktails - just make sure you order the sweet potato fries!