Juniper’s Pantry @ Nectar Bar (5/2/14)

By chance, after our Chinese New Year meal at Fat Buddha last month, I stumbled upon the new Nectar Kitchen @ Nectar Bar. The chefs from Juniper’s Pantry in Sunderland have branched out to this city centre bar in Newcastle.

Coincidentally, I have somewhat of a connection to Juniper's Pantry. My cousins have eaten at Juniper’s Pantry many times and have gotten to know the staff. My cousin Carine was my bridesmaid and she arranged my Hen Do meal to be held there in June 2012. I remember the food being plentiful and of good quality. So, I was keen to try them again at this new location. Plus they were part of Newcastle Restaurant Week (doing a two course offer for £10).

Juniper’s Pantry @ Nectar Bar was our third and last stop on Restaurant Week. We had went to Las Iguanas (good) and Fat Buddha (not so good) previously.

The staff were friendly and the dining room cosy. This is separate from the drinking area of the bar, which works well. You don’t ever feel like the bar is intrusive on the dining experience and it’s handy for having a drink there before or after the meal. As Nectar is a cocktail bar, you have an wide selection of drinks to compliment your meal. Leigh particularly liked the extensive range of world beers available.

Credit: Andrew Wilson

There was plenty on offer to whet my appetite. Just what I like from a menu! I chose the mussels and Leigh had the pork terrine. I found the starters to be a good size -  not too big, so you feel you can’t finish your main. The best was yet to come though!

PicMonkey Collage
Steamed mussels with chorizo, local cider, parsley and cream with homemade soda bread
Pork cheek terrine, piccalilli, toast, caramelized apple puree and crackling chive salad

For my main, I had the fish cakes and Leigh went for beef. We found our mains to be fresh tasting and satisfying. These were the best part of the meal. The meat, in particular, shone in Leigh’s dish. The beef was really tender and juicy. The sauce was mellow but complemented the beef well, as didn't overpower it.  Leigh also found his potato to be different from the norm and really tasty.

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Charred leek fish cake with lemon chive brown butter and buttered kale
Braised beef feather blade, salardaise potato, red wine marrow and shallot sauce

We decided to share a dessert between us for an extra £5 on the set menu. We had the apple tart tatin. The tartness of the sorbet worked well with the tart and the butterscotch sauce was delicious. So much so, I would have liked more of it!

Apple tart tatin with butterscotch and apple sorbet

We went here with Leigh's parents and they chose some different dishes from us. They both thoroughly enjoyed the meal and my mother-in-law recommended this restaurant to her friends shortly after.

It's great that Juniper's Pantry are serving food in Newcastle now, as it allows more people to enjoy their food.

All in all, we had a delicious meal in relaxed, contemporary surroundings and enjoyable beverages. I recommend you visit this little gem, I know I will be going back.