HAVING spent the best part of the morning working up a sweat in the gym, a trip to Pacific House was just the tonic.
The modern bar/restaurant is just off bustling Northumberland Street, so it’s the perfect retreat for shoppers wanting an escape from the madding crowd during the day.
By night, the venue is usually buzzing with party-goers supping a variety of fine cocktails. Between you and me, I can thoroughly recommend a Firecracker or Green Goblin!
As well as a great drinks menu, including locally sourced cask ales, the restaurant now serves traditional home-cooked fare.
And having completed a spinning class followed by combat that morning, my husband and I had definitely built up enough extra calories between us to indulge.
The building itself has always been a stunning addition to the street with its magnificent glass frontage, so we had high expectations of the food.
On arrival we were shown to our table by a friendly member of staff and received a warm welcome from the manager.
We started by ordering two large glasses of Tierra Merlot, £4.85 each. A juicy wine with soft ripe tannins and a vanilla flavour. It was the perfect tipple to help us unwind, relax and soak up the atmosphere.
It’s one of those places that makes you feel instantly at home, it’s modern in decor, with lively background music, 10 big screens showing Sky Sports and the best thing is it’s usually filled with people enjoying themselves.
After a few minutes of browsing the extensive menu, I opted for the baked Camembert with toasted ciabatta bread, olives and a pot of hummus, £4.99.
Hossein ordered nachos with sour cream, salsa, and jalapenos, topped with Mexican chicken, £5.99.
Both dishes arrived beautifully presented.
My whole camembert was served in its own little pot on a wooden platter and garnished with a colourful crunchy side salad.
The toasted wedges of ciabatta were perfect for scooping up the melted cheese with. Simply delicious.
My husband’s dish was a bit of a balancing act. The tortilla chips were piled high and covered in a tangy salsa, thick sour cream and spicy chicken. I don’t know where he puts it all sometimes, but he still managed to clear his plate.
His verdict: “The most filling dish I’ve had in ages.”
It was great to see the restaurant taking on such enthusiastic young apprentices too.
Our waiter, 17-year-old Luke Sweeney, told us this was his first job.
He said: “I wanted to work here so much that I cancelled my holiday abroad to come in for my first day – and I haven’t looked back.”
It wasn’t all plain sailing though for Luke.
He explained: “I was so nervous at first. On the opening night I had to carry a tray of Champagne glasses and I dropped them! I never gave up though and since then I have built on my confidence a great deal.
“I absolutely love this job. It’s the best thing in the world. I’d like to work my way up and perhaps go into management some day.”
Luke is definitely the most attentive and ambitious young waiter I’ve ever been served by. It was fabulous to see someone so happy in their work.
Nothing was too much trouble for him. He was the perfect host and hopefully will go far.
He held the tray high in the air (just to show us he could) before serving us our mains.
I’d ordered the homemade chilli with basmati rice, served with tortilla chips and a pot of jalapenos, £6.25. It was a nice touch to see that a vegetarian version of the dish is also available, with a base of lentils.
My husband, as always, opted for steak. The surf and turf came with all the trimmings. The dish costs £14.99.
My huge bowl of chilli was accompanied by the most perfect mound of basmati rice I’ve ever seen – with not a grain out of place.
This was topped off with tortilla chips and a neat little pot of jalapenos on the side.
The chilli was great, and the only downside to the meal was that I couldn’t eat it all. My husband’s dish was neatly presented on a wooden platter with a pot of thick-cut chips, prawns and an additional side salad.
He said his steak was juicy and perfectly cooked. He also praised the chips which he said were just right.
Afterwards, young Luke came over to ask how we’d enjoyed our meals.
We were tickled by how each time he came over between courses he’d give us the thumbs-up on whether we liked them.
Well we’d certainly give him a BIG thumbs-up back for his fantastic service.
It’s not like me to skip dessert, but I had no room for any more food, though we did indulge in another glass of wine each before we left.
We left the restaurant feeling happy, content and truly relaxed. We’ll definitely be back – day or night, the food, atmosphere and staff are simply superb.
We were tickled by how each time he came over between courses he’d give us the thumbs-up on whether we liked them
Address: Pacific House, 12-22 Northumberland Road, Newcastle, NE1 8JF, tel: 0191 245 0440.
Open: Monday-Friday 10am to late and food served 10am to 8pm daily. Sunday lunch noon to 4pm.
First impressions: Magnificent glass-fronted building just off bustling Northumberland Street, within easy reach of all the shops.
Style, design and furnishings: Modern with spiral staircase leading up to the next floor. Great music and Sky Sport showing on the 10 big screens dotted around the venue.
Cuisine: Traditional home-cooked dishes.
Service: With a smile! Our waiter Luke Sweeney was the perfect gentleman.
Value: Excellent. All dishes were filling and hearty.
Disabled facilities: Accessible.