‘I’d rather have lunch with my friends than go to a gym’ – Adele
Answer: Go to Ernest.
I was recommended Ernest by my boss, who has high standards when it comes to his eateries, so I figured it would be pretty good, although perhaps a little concerned that may mean it was way out my price range. Ernest takes a little bit of finding, located in trendy Ouseburn nestled between the back of the Biscuit Factory and the Byker Bridge, but if you can bear the trek on the Quaylink bus, you won’t be disappointed (there is plenty of street parking around as well). We decided to go around 1pm on a Wednesday afternoon and although there were a few people in, there were plenty of seats available, all of which are comfy, high back sofa style and there are loads of quirky pop culture trinkets dotted around the place (most impressive are the cases of action figures on the ways to the toilets)
We sat down and were offered drinks almost straight away.Being a Wednesday lunchtime and dehydrated from the night before we opted for softies but the cafe is licensed so you can order some alcoholic beverages if you so choose. The menu is extensive but not annoyingly big. It’s a massive bug bear of mine that lots of cafes stop serving breakfast at 11am so one of the big draws of Ernest if that it serves it’s breakfast all day, which means by the time peeled your crusty eyelids apart and left it long enough that you’re no longer over the legal limit to drive you can still get a full English or some scrambled eggs at 2pm.
Between the 3 of us we pretty much covered a broad spectrum of the menu;
Eggs Eclipso – Poached eggs on a slow cooked base of gently spiced tomatoes and peppers, served with a flatbread (with added chorizo) – £9.50
Steak with Salad & Fries – Rib eye steak served with either sweet potato or real fries and Ernest salad, straight up and simple (sauce of the day available if required) – £12
Guacamole Flatbread – With guacamole, spinach, rocket, basil and roasted tomato – £7.50
Food came quickly and was plentiful. Meagan’s steak was a good cut of meat with little fat on and cooked how she ordered. Ruth’s flatbread was like a yummy healthy green version of a pizza and the added chorizo to my Eggs Eclipso gave a great flavour to the sauce with which I mopped up with generous helpings of pita bread. We even managed to squeeze in a homemade brownie afterwards (which was one of the many homemade cakes available to eat in with ice cream or take away with coffee)
Between the 3 of each having lunch, brownies and a couple of soft drinks, the bill came to around £40 so price wise Subway it isn’t. But to be honest the quality of the food we had and if you think of how much a cup of coffee, panini and cake costs in Starbucks, it’s probably not that more expensive. The staff were very friendly, always asking if we were ok and wanted more drinks and we a had a good laugh with one of the guys there as we tried to work out how to get Meagan’s American bank card to work on his chip and pin machine.
I imagine this place gets really busy at weekends and I don’t think you can reserve tables for small groups so perhaps give it a go on weekday if you get chance while it’s quiet and you can take your time. However if you do go on a weekend it will be worth the wait and the journey to get there. Now that I’ve discovered this little hidden gem my only hope it doesn’t go the way of places like The Butterfly Cabinet in Heaton and become a victim of it’s own success getting so popular you can never get a table. Probably means I shouldn’t be promoting it by hey, I’ve always been a walking contradiction!