Newcastle Restaurant Week and food with friends
Last week was Newcastle Restaurant Week (19 – 25 January 2015), where we decided to take advantage of offers and eat out. We went to three restaurants last year: Fat Buddha, Las Iguanas and Juniper’s Pantry @ Nectar Bar.
Coop Chicken House
First stop this year was a mid-week (chicken) feed @ Coop Chicken House (21/1/15). I’d read positive things about this place and fancied trying it to see if it was any good.
The Restaurant Week offer at Coop Chicken House was half a chicken, two sides and a shot of chilli sauce for £10. You save £6 with this offer. We ordered two of these so shared a whole chicken and the sides.
For the sides, we went for skin-on fries, homemade slaw, sweet potato fries and grilled corn on the cob. The sweet potato fries are amazing – best I have ever had! The skin-on-fries were really tasty too.
There’s an extensive list of chilli shots to choose from ranging from the mild to the extremely hot! I went for mild whilst Leigh had a hot one. I went for The Cambridge Sauce Company Sweet Chilli Sauce (mild & sweet, almost honey like in taste). Leigh had The Cambridge Sauce Company Smoked Scotch Bonnet & Red Pepper Sauce (Scotch bonnets smoked over maple with sweet red peppers). We both liked mine – it was a cross between Cantonese sweet & sour sauce and Thai sweet chilli sauce. But Leigh didn’t rate his – it was super sour! He preferred the free hot sauce on the table and used that instead.
The grilled chicken was tasty and moist. You could eat this on its’ own but the variety of chilli sauces intrigue me. There are a few that caught my eye I would like to try. Bim’s Coconut Relish (A coconut & chilli relish with a lovely kick, unusual & moreish) being one of them. It could be a hit-or-miss game but it’d be a fun one to play!
I assumed that my half chicken and sides would come on one plate (like at Nandos) and was pleasantly surprised when it came out all together ‘tapas’ sharing style. If you fancy a lighter meal (i.e. for lunch) then sharing half a chicken between two people would be enough. At a push, we managed to finish a whole chicken between the two of us. It was our evening meal and we were both pretty hungry. No room for dessert though! But we were both very satisfied with our lot.
The staff were very friendly and efficient. Even though it is a little pricey at full price, we would return again as the food is good quality as well as tasty!
Food with friends
We went round our friends’ Debs and Rob’s house on Saturday for dinner. We had Barbecue slow cooked pulled pork nachos with cheese and sour cream to start. These were so yum and moreish – it makes me want to get a slow cooker! Followed by a Chicken, ham & leek filo pie using Hairy Bikers recipe. This is one of their healthy recipes and it was delicious. I was surprised when I found out as it is full of flavour! I would definitely have a go at making this myself. I brought round a homemade dessert. Warm sticky figgy pudding and toffee sauce served with vanilla ice cream. We had a fabulous night filled with wonderful food and a lot of laughter!
We have been to Las Iguanas a few times and it’s always a pleasure to eat here. It was so good last year during Restaurant Week that we were keen to go again. This time for Sunday Lunch. The offer was the same – a starter, main and drink for £10. Excellent value for money!
The staff and service was friendly and efficient, as we’ve come to expect. There was also a Happy Hour offer on all January for buy-one-get-one-free cocktails. We didn’t take advantage on this occasion as Leigh was happy with his two beers (included in Restaurant Week offer; he had his own and pilfered mine) and me with my iced tap water. If it had been the evening and not a school night, Leigh probably would have indulged a bit, as it’s such a good offer.
I had tried two of the three starters last time so went for the remaining option - Taco (corn & wheat tortilla loaded roasted coconut butternut squash with pink pickled onions, radish, spring onion and soured cream).
This was absolutely delicious. I didn’t expect the roasted butternut squash to come the way it did nor taste how it did. I was expecting big chunks of plain squash. I got a lovely spiced and fragrant curry. Divine. I could eat a plateful of this as a main course! It’s great when something surprises, delights and exceeds expectations. This dish did all these things.
Leigh got the Quesadilla (tortilla, filled, folded, char-grilled & served with tomato salsa, spicy chicken, peppers, onion & cheese). Like last time, he enjoyed his starter.
I chose the Albondigas (Patagonian style lamb meatballs with apple, mint, parmesan & a pinch of nutmeg and braised in a rich tomato, mint & mild chilli sauce) for my main. I wasn’t blown away with the way it looked but it did taste bloody gorgeous! The lamb meatballs were soft, succulent and melted in your mouth. The sauce was subtly spiced with a good balance of heat and sweetness. The rice was standard and served as a vehicle for mopping up all that unctuous sauce. I was very impressed. I couldn’t make this at home. Like I said in my last review of Las Iguanas, I love it when I eat out, try to figure out how the chef has cooked the food, and I can’t. I thoroughly enjoyed eating every mouthful of this dish and would return to eat this again!
Leigh got the Chilli (braised in spiced tomatoes, with spring onion & garlic rice, warmed soft wheat tortillas, soured cream & pink pickled onion, slowly braised chunky beef steak, minced beef & black beans). He ordered this last time and enjoyed it again a second time. However, he did admit to a mild case of food envy upon tasty my dish.
Las Iguanas is a very popular place to eat. We tried to book here originally for Wednesday evening but they were fully booked till after 9:30pm. That’s why we ended up going for Sunday Lunch instead. So, if you are wanting to go at a busier time, it’s best to get booked up early to avoid disappointment.
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