Food & Drink Reviews
The Bottle Shop
“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world”. That quote is emblazoned, rather handsomely, across the back wall of The Bottle Shop and comes from J.R.R. Tolkien, author of Lord of the Rings and mover and groover behind Middle Earth, Smaug the Dragon and sundry furry-footed irritants. I suppose it’s intended as a thumbnail manifesto of what The Bottle Shop is all about which is making merry while tucking into their wares which run to a huge selection of quality craft beers from around the world, as well as a selection of the good stuff on keg and cask.The place is situated in the old Electric East restaurant in Newcastle and is done out very nicely with wooden floors, big red steel girders and exposed lightbulbs hanging down from the ceiling. Cosy industrial chic, I suppose you would call it.
I grabbed a table that looked like it was a huge bobbin for steel cables in a former life, but there was plenty of other seating around including long tables with padded benching, and a lounge-like area replete with leather Chesterfields.
I had heard good things about their food and so popped in for a Friday lunchtime bite to eat in the shape of a hot roast pork sandwich (£7.95). The chips it came with were just like my mother used to make (and man, could she make chips) but the pork sarnie was beyond anything that my mother ever plonked in front of me. The big chunks of pork were flavoured by some crispy fat, stuffing, and an apple ketchup that hit me up with just the right amount of tang. Needless to say, the whole thing came brioche bunned up.
The menu also features classic burgers, puy lentil burgers, and blue burgers (featuring a steak and ale burger, blue cheese, crispy smoked bacon, crispy shallots and chips), but the next time I call in I think I’ll avail myself of one of their ‘small plates’. These tapas like delectables weigh in at £5 each (or £9 for two, £13 for three, £16 for four, £20 for five) and include everything from braised beef and tomato doughnuts with horseradish sauce, to fish sliders with dinky fries and tartare sauce (and pudding fans don’t miss out either with chocolate brownies with mint yoghurt sorbet also being available, alongside apricot and vanilla cheesecakes with sour apricot puree and liquorice powder).
The place is a bit tucked away (it’s kind of behind Dance City, behind The Bodega, but, trust me, you won’t need a map of Middle Earth to find it) so please do make the effort to seek it out as The Bottle Shop is a real keeper.
The Bottle Shop Bar & Kitchen, Waterloo Square, off St. James’ Boulevard, Newcastle. 0191 261 4193. https://www.facebook.com/The-Bottle-Shop-Bar-Kitchen-846615488786234/