Newcastle restaurant channels spirit of the British Empire

The eponymous Two Fifths restaurant has opened up in Newcastle, marking the fact that the British Empire once covered two-fifths of the globe

John Snell, general manager at Two Fifths in Newcastle city centre
John Snell, general manager at Two Fifths in Newcastle city centre

A restaurant with a menu influenced by the imperial expansion of Britain has opened in Newcastle city centre.

Two Fifths, in Collingwood Street, is named to mark the fact that the British Empire once stretched across two-fifths of the world with the cuisine heavily influenced by food in countries such as Nigeria, India, and Cyprus.

The new restaurant, which has a late bar, has led to the creation of seven jobs including managers, bar staff, chefs, hosts and apprentices.

General manager John Snell said: “I guess it’s quite topical at the moment with all the immigration talk in the media but the way I see it, we wouldn’t be the country we are today if it wasn’t for the ties we made with other countries hundreds of years ago, and the food we eat most certainly wouldn’t be.

“I wanted to provide a relaxed environment where people can walk in off the street, come and have a cocktail and some great food, perhaps food they wouldn’t usually try. For instance, we have a South African dish named Gesmoorde Vis consisting of salt cod and potatoes with a tomato sauce and apricot jam.

“Other concoctions we have include Nafaqo which hails from Somali and is a lovely combination of potatoes with egg, a shitake mushroom and vegetable stir fry and stuffed red peppers influenced by Egypt.

“Not all our food wildly exotic, we have great British dishes such as peppered rib eye steak sourced from Darlington served with roasties.”

The restaurant has approval for an outdoor seating area where it plans to stage events, working with local businesses and initiatives.

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