Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Sage Choice for the Hungry

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

A Sage Choice for the Hungry

Article excerpt

Byline: By Jane Hall

The Sage Gateshead is well-known for its music, but what about the food?

Lunch at the shell-shaped concert venue seemed a good way to round-off a leisurely stroll in the spring sunshine along both Newcastle and Gateshead quaysides.

We sauntered through the concourse to the ground floor Brasserie, a broad sliver of space beneath the roof supports. It was 12.30pm and, while the adjacent cafA was buzzing with lunchtime activity, there wasn't a soul to be seen in the restaurant.

We decided to bag ourselves a table and had just settled down when a man in black raced over to ask if we had booked. No, we replied. Did we need to? It would be normal practice, we were informed as we cast our eyes around the still empty eaterie.

Was the waiter expecting a rush of diners? Negative, but he might have been, we were told.

In fact, in the 90 minutes or so we graced The Brasserie with our presence, only three other lunchtime diners deigned to join us. Which is a pity, because the food is top notch.

The Sage has dispensed with a separate children's menu, instead offering junior-size portions of the lunch-time choices.

Our ravenous proto-teen (seven going on 17) was persuaded to try the caramelised sweetcorn and red onion soup with baby spinach for starters. After some initial grumbling that he wouldn't like it, he tucked in with gusto when the colourful ensemble arrived.

What it tasted liked I couldn't tell you as he wasn't about to offer mum and dad any. But the clean bowl spoke volumes.

My other half's crispy pork came beautifully presented on a large white platter, and I was reliably informed tasted as phenomenal as it looked. The interesting addition of an apple and lime salsa added bite to the hefty helping of creamy pork nestling on a bitter endive salad.

My chicken liver parfait with crispy slices of Melba toast fell easily on the tongue and was just light enough to set me up for the meal ahead. The tangy orange and Drambuie compote was the perfect complement and was soon gathered up from my plate.

The nice thing about The Brasserie is that you don't feel cut-off from the action. As we waited for our main courses to arrive, we were entertained by a female Acappela group who had taken up residence in the concourse and serenaded us with a selection of popular songs.

Little one had opted for a child-size version of The Sage Gateshead beef burger. What arrived, sitting on two slices of toasted focaccia bread with tomato relish and oak-smoked cheese oozing temptingly over the top, would have challenged even the hungriest adult's appetite.

Accompanied by a large bowlful of fat hand-cut chips, this main course packed a punch. This was no burger van squirrel-meat nasty, but a succulent 100% beef offering that did indeed test its eater's stamina. …

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