Newcastle’s Quayside is home to some fantastic restaurants, but one in particular has become my number one recommendation when anyone asks ‘where’s good to go in Newcastle?’. And that’s St. Vincent.
Located on Broad Chare next to Newcastle’s Law Courts, St. Vincent is a busy, buzzy wine bar and restaurant which has managed to emulate the vibes of those tiny neighbourhood eateries you find in France and Italy which you can never usually find back at home. While it’s only a stone’s throw away from two of Terry Laybourne’s other restaurants in the 21 Hospitality Group – 21 and The Broad Chare, it’s completely unique in its offering, with a fantastic team who make you feel at home from the moment you arrive.
Priding itself on a great selection of wines both by the glass and bottle as well as a great cocktail list, manager Matty Clarkson immediately made us feel a little more adventurous than usual when it came to choosing, due to his relaxed but highly informative knowledge about literally everything on the menu! Starting with a negroni (there was a special list just for Negroni Week when we visited), we loved hearing about St. Vincent’s vast choice of drinks – mostly from small independent producers. Paired with snacks and small plates, this is a great hang out if you’re just ‘popping in for a glass’ after work or with the girls, but of course, the big draw is St. Vincent’s restaurant experience.
With every seat taken on the Friday night we visited, there was such a great atmosphere! Glasses clinking, cocktails being poured, small plates of charcuterie and cheese being brought out from the kitchen, and cosy candle lit tables not-too-close-to-the-next. The interiors are really cool with a modern industrial aesthetic from the exposed pipes and ductwork on the ceiling to the brickwork and metal drop lighting.
Leaving the wine selection to the lovely Matt, we loved our bottle of La Cuvee des Copains – an organic, biodynamic red from a wine co-operative in Cotes du Rhones. Bright red, juicy and fresh with punchy fruit and some tannins and acidity, we knew it would go well with what we were eating.
From the snacks menu we feasted on crispy ravioli – crunchy casing, rich and well seasoned basque black pudding with a hint of sweetness and plenty of grated tangy pecorino on top.
We squeezed plenty of lemon on fresh-as-the-sea Lindisfarne oysters doused in mignonette sauce with just the right amount of acidity – the oysters so soft and fleshy, I actually thought they’d been cooked in cream! Definitely not needing any more starters but because we loved the sound of them, the Cantabrian anchovy crostini with piquillo peppers and lardo have since brought us back to the restaurant for more! The amount of flavour packed in each bite is quite amazing.
Guided again by Matt to help us decide what to go for for our main course, we settled on the lamb shoulder on the specials board. Braised in barbera for hints of rich red fruits like raspberry and blackberry and served with olive and rosemary, the serving is so huge, we had to take half of it home to eat the next day! The meat soft as butter, went beautifully with a creamy polenta whipped with ricotta – such a luxurious alternative to mashed potato, I really need to try this at home!
With 21 Group veteran head chef Martin Malinowski at the helm preparing ‘simple things done well’, St. Vincent just seems to have brought together all the perfect ingredients you could possibly need in the recipe for a successful Newcastle restaurant.
With wine tasting dinners showcasing different vineyards and producers and with the restaurant also attached to Newcastle’s Live Theatre, if there’s one place you MUST try this weekend, St. Vincent is it. I guarantee you’ll love it!