The foodie scene in Newcastle has exploded over recent years and it’s wonderful to see so many cool restaurants popping all over the city – like The Muddler.
Pan Asian sharer dishes is the name of the game in this gorgeous art-deco styled luxurious little find on Grey Street. Doubling up as a beautiful bar offering stunning bespoke cocktails in the evenings, The Muddler offers an all day food menu with a great value special offer at lunch and for pre-theatre with three dishes from the special menu for just £15.
With distressed gold leaf walls which shimmer under the mood lighting, Gatsby-esque geometric patterns covering the walls and floor, sultry dark woods, alcove banquettes and a feature bar, The Muddler would make a great date night, but as it turns out, it was just as awesome with my best mate.
The perfect place to relax after a busy morning of shopping, we studied the packed sushi menu with interest – did we fancy eels?! (I love them, Corinne not so much…), Cali rolls? How about the tempura style Active Volcano with spicy tuna, spring onion, sesame seeds, chilli sauce? We decided we’d go all out sushi next time we dined here, so instead opted for a load of sharer dishes to dig into.
Duck Spring Rolls (£6) were just how you’d want them – crispy with that perfect ‘crack’ when you attack them with a fork, revealing the juicy duck beneath which tasted diving with the accompanying sticky sweet hoi sin sauce. Gyozas (£5) from the dim sum selection were perfectly steamed and full of flavour with a good hit of chili, while dishes from the robata really got the tastebuds going.
Salmon Teriyaki (£8) hit all the right notes – two chunky chargrilled skewers of salmon marinated in a perfectly balanced sauce and a coriander garnish. Meanwhile the Bulgogi Pork Belly (£7) had just the right amount of pork belly fat to hold in all the flavour for a melt-in-the-mouth experience offset by the marinade of garlic, red chili and sesame – the literal meaning of bulgogi is actually fire meat and you most definitely get that kick along with the sweet tang of the mirin.
A stir fried pak choi (£3.50) with garlic and soy and small pickled pots of salad, meanwhile, provided our 5 a day and even though there was absolutely no way we could manage dessert…. we managed dessert. There’s some great choices on the menu but for an authentic Japanese pud and one you probably won’t have tried before, go for the mochi with different flavoured scoops of ice cream coated in the ‘mochi’ – a bizarre but very tasty short grain rice moulded into a paste, with the texture of marzipan.
The Muddler it seems, is a chameleon of sorts. Their cocktail list uses all manner of exotic ingredients like Roku Gin, Altos Reposado, Licor 43, Absolut Acai and Popcorn Bourbon (not all together I might add..) so it’s a bar in its own right, while that extensive menu could give you an authentic sushi experience, or a selection of absolutely awesome small plates. We can’t wait to go back.