I can't believe that Newcastle Restaurant Week has been and gone again, it comes round so quickly. Each time I have a huge problem choosing where to book a table. With some amazing offers and a chance to try out all of the newest places in the Toon, I always have to stop myself from booking a table each night.
With our post Christmas bellies still bulging and wanting to look super gorgeous for our September wedding we decided it'd probably be best to pick just one restaurant this time round so it was going to have to be somewhere special.
Somewhere we've been wanting to try ever since my sneaky peak Hard Hat Tour is Hawthorns, the restaurant at the Crowne Plaza that promises "Fine Northern Dining. Locally sourced food in beautiful surroundings is my idea of heaven! The Restaurant Week Menu at Hawthorns offered two courses for £15 with a great variety of dishes to choose from, it was easily the best Newcastle Restaurant Week menu I had ever seen, to the point where I knew I was going to struggle with what to choose, I literally wanted it all!
We turned up only to find that the restaurant had no record of our booking! I was so glad we're early diners and it was only 6:00 pm as that meant plenty of room to accommodate us. I probably would have had a toddler style tantrum on the floor if we'd been turned away, I'd been looking forward to this meal for weeks.
We sat down and began the difficult task of attempting to choose what to have for our main course. The Pumpkin Tortellini and Toon Ale Battered Cod Fillet were both tempting but in the end I decided on the Blue Shell Scottish Mussels in White Wine & Garlic Sauce.
My steaming bowl of mussels was fast to appear and came with a nice large bowl for the shells. I was really happy to find that every single shell was open, there's nothing more disappointing than finding closed mussels when you only have a few left.
The mussels were served with a huge chunk of Geordie Bakers Sour Dough. My eyes popped out on stalks when I saw it and I was soon happily covering it in far too much butter and dunking into my creamy sauce. Perfect!
Before he'd even had a chance to tuck in, I'd swiped one of the chips to dunk into my White Wine and Garlic Sauce - you can't really blame me, just look at them!
His burger was delicious and we both loved the addition of the Prosciutto Ham which added a nice crunch to the burger and definitely gave it a bit of something special.
Hawthorns certainly lives up to its promise of Fine Northern Dining, the food is locally sourced with the meat coming from Turnbulls in Alnwick and the cheese from Doddington Dairy and the Northumberland Cheese Company. Check out Hawthorn's website for more about their fantastic local suppliers.
It was finally time for the main event (or what other people call dessert) I decided on the Sticky Pear & Ginger Cake served with Cinder Toffee Sauce, Figgy Pudding Ice Cream and Honeycomb Crumble. I love desserts like this on a cold January day, really warming and filling. I particularly loved the Figgy Pudding Ice Cream, it had me clinging on to Christmas just that little bit longer.
Simon opted for the Dark Chocolate & Beetroot Brownie with Doddingtons Vanilla ice Cream and Raspberry Textures. I absolutely love the flavour combination of chocolate and beetroot so this was always going to be a winner.
Gin Bar but with a long wait for the bill we'd drained our glasses before we'd had a chance to move and so we decided to head straight home.
The food at Hawthorns was absolutely delicious and we really enjoyed our first experience. Safe to say we'll definitely be back to take a look at the full menu.
I'm already counting down to the next Newcastle Restaurant Week!