Tuesday, 16 July 2013

A cut above at El Coto

I was a little apprehensive about a girls' (sorry, girls and one token boy's) night out which included eats at El Coto. Tucked away behind Newcastle's Labour Club, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was merely a small bar, and a bit of a drab one at that, but the modest entrance leads to a corridor which leads to a world where the most wonderful things happen. We all opted for the same fixed price menu (there were four to choose from ranging in price from £14.95 to £23.95 a head). For a table of four that would mean one of each dish on that particular menu, for eight people, two of everything - odd numbers get a proportionate amount of dishes. The concern is that it's tapas, and if the portions are small, one might go hungry. I worried needlessly. There was plenty to go around, dishes like the obligatory cheese, tomato, chorizo, calamari, the tenderest beef, spicy chicken..., no-one felt as though they'd missed sampling any of the dishes and there was food left over. AND, with drinks for the table - couple of glasses of wine, pitcher of sangria etc, including tip, it came in at a very respectable 20 quid a head. (This was based on the £14.95 menu as it had the most vegetarian options on it!) Definitely one to go back to.

Saturday, 6 July 2013

The pleasure's mine - PTMY

With its NY industrial loft style interior straight out of the pages of a design mag and the hype surrounding its launch at the end of May, I did worry that PTMY (Pleased To Meet You) in Newcastle would have more than a hint of pretension about it. Despite my fears, I popped along anyway, a whole 5 weeks after its opening to see what the fuss was about. Gin seems to be the in thing right now but having never been a fan I settled on a bottle of cider, my friend on the 'not quite pale ale' of Magic Hat No.9, and sat back to peruse the menu. One plate, or rather wooden board of burger for me, pulled pork of the friend later, and I've decided it's probably going to be a regular on the circuit. The ambiance is a bit, modern-day speak-easy - the music not too loud, the newspaper rods are a nice touch rarely seen these days, the display cases of beer and the menus written on old glass doors. The food was superb, the service equally so. I'm looking forward to my next visit.