Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Barn Has the Answers to the Sticky Questions; Table FOR 2 Barn Asia, Waterloo Square, Newcastle

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Barn Has the Answers to the Sticky Questions; Table FOR 2 Barn Asia, Waterloo Square, Newcastle

Article excerpt

Byline: GEOFF LAWS

QUESTION: How many Barns make a restaurant? Answer: FOUR.

So far the Barn emporium has been a bistro, a biscuit, under a wandering star and is now Asian.

Each incarnation has had the resoundingly good food and humorous styling intrinsic to Barn's character.

From the bamboo-design menu to the ironic Vietnamese canvases and wonderfully jewel-coloured lanterns dangling joyfully beside gilt girders, the theme is unmistakably oriental, but without the hackneyed dragons and pagodas beloved of the unimaginative stylists.

But the food's the thing and we were here to taste and test. Chopsticks to the ready we made rapid inroads into our starters. The Pork and shitake mushroom pot-sticker dumplings with black vinegar were helpfully sticky, as advertised, and the translucent skins parted to release their savoury filling, with the added challenge of the sweet-salt dip.

The tempura mushrooms were slightly trickier but, once mastered, tasted just as good.

One starter was not enough for these hungry tigers and the pork sung choi bao (don't you just love the names?) did its best to take the edge off our appetites. To do that we had to scoop spicy minced pork, sliced chilli and roasted nuts into crisp iceberg lettuce leaves, fold and eat. Needless to say there was a degree of fallout in the first few attempts, but we soon got the hang of it and then it was plain sailing.

A fingerbowl for the less adept resolved the sticky hand situation as we moved on to main courses.

Groups who had not been forward thinking enough to book were turned away and stood dejectedly outside in the breeze-swept plaza, looking in on the smug ones tucking into what could not be theirs that night. Aah! Just as the tigers started rumbling with hunger, main courses arrived.

Singapore chicken laksa for me and tataki of tuna, tiger prawns and black bean dressing for her. The laksa's chilli-coconut broth spread through a mass of thread noodles with spice-spiked chicken, Chinese leaf and an occasional hit of fresh mint among the coriander. Lovely layers of flavour kept me coming back for more until the bowl was squeaky clean. …

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