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Food & Drink Reviews

ernst.jpg Ernest

It’s increasingly rare to come across a restaurant that doesn’t garland itself with the sobriquet “famous”, particularly when attached to some of its grub. “All pasta dishes served with our famous sauce” low-rent Italians loftily ejaculate on their menus. Chippies aren’t immune either with many of them making unjustifiable claims for their “famous” batter. I once even bought a hotdog from a particularly grotty stall on the Seven Sisters Road in Tottenham that bore the legend: “Try our world famous hot-dogs”. World famous, mind you: the talk of everyone from Borneo to Brazil.

Such blow-your-own-trumpetry seems to have escaped Ernest, who, as far as I can tell, do not describe any of their produce as famous. Their flatbreads, however, are famous; famous in our office anyway with colleagues forever urging me to try out their great evening deal: “It’s amazing! You can get a huge flatbread and a beer for six quid! And it’s gorgeous!” That’s the general gist, anyway.
Ernest has been up and running for around a year now, and unless you’re one of the ceramicists or printmakers that float airily around Ouseburn, you might not have chanced upon it. 
It’s situated just outside of Newcastle city centre, just down the side of The Biscuit Factory art gallery, and I called in one Tuesday lunchtime, Shrove Tuesday to be precise. 
A delicious sounding chalkboard featuring pancakes of varying degrees of sweetness were the specials of the day, but, heeding the advice of my work mates I checked out the menu for those flatbreads.
They were available in assorted pleasing sounding combinations including: “Pancetta, gruyere cheese, onion, & crème fraiche”, “Anchovy, feta, olives, red pepper & rocket”, but I liked the sound of “Spiced lamb, feta, parsley and pine nuts”. 
Ernest itself is laid-backness personified: exposed brick, plenty of wood, mismatched chairs and comfy settees abound. The layout is nicely partitioned, giving it a lovely cosy feel, and the vibe is: relax, have a continental beer maybe, and tuck in to some hearty home-cooked food while discussing how NME darlings, Palma Violets, aren’t that much cop really. 
And what do you know, my flatbread was delicious. Flavoursome, massive and served with a side salad that was dressed to within an inch of its life.
Ernest also sell stuff such as breakfasts, hot and cold sandwiches  (I like the sound of their Posh Dogs which star Spanish chorizo, roast peppers, mustard and mixed leaves), salads and soups, fish finger sandwiches, waffles, ice-cream etc, but I’ll find it hard to veer away from those flatbreads, even if they officially start describing them as “famous”.

Ernest, 1 Boyd Street, Ouseburn, Newcastle. weareernest.com