Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Deeply Happy in the Care of Mr O; Taste OF THE NORTH EAST Table FOR 2

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Deeply Happy in the Care of Mr O; Taste OF THE NORTH EAST Table FOR 2

Article excerpt


Oldfields, Osborne Road Jesmond, Newcastle

RUNNING a successful restaurant takes more than just business know how, it takes flair. The difference between what works and what tips the scales towards disaster is subtle and relies on getting the mix just right.

Some restaurants focus on dressing the food up, but pay scant attention to the quality of what's on your plate. Some concentrate on the dAcor in the hope that we'll be dazzled by design and not notice lacklustre cooking Some pile it high and sell it cheap on the basis that more is good, which usually it isn't. Getting everything right is a fine art and Oldfields proves not only that it's possible, but that it can be done time and time again.

I've eaten at Mr O's restaurants several times and have never had a duff course yet, and that's because he knows the art and business of good food.

The evidence follows.

My starter of roast pimento tart glazed with goats' cheese kicked things off in fine form. The crisp pastry case was mounded high with buttery leeks and sweet peppers, topped with chunks of toasted cheese.

A balsamic reduction dressed this impressive concoction and was mopped up with sun-dried tomato bread. My companion's plump roast figs wrapped in Parma ham came with a swish of tangy blue cheese fondue.

The chef balanced the crunchy, sweet fruit with mildly pungent sauce to produce a delicious dish that also looked good with spiky fronds of rocket spraying out across the plate.

Some restaurants start well but stumble at the second fence. Not Oldfields.

Our main courses were thoroughbreds. The confit of turkey, gently roasted to hold its juices, fell away in feathered shards.

The creamed cabbage, pork crisps and red wine jus complemented the delicate meat to make a very substantial dish. The shoulder of organic beef was a pocket-sized Sunday roast with a full three-piece suit of flavours going on. A mini- Gibraltar rock of medium rare beef sat on a pile of creamy mash and roasted vegetables, with a pool of rich jus tying things together.

After two very filling courses, the challenge now was how to manage dessert. …

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