‘I don’t go to any sexy places to eat where they give you half a lamb chop and one bean. I like going, ‘Uhhh, I’m done’ when I eat’ – Patrice O’Neal
*Our meal was complimentary in return for an honest view. We paid for our drinks*
I like to think that when it comes to new places to eat in Newcastle, I pretty much have my finger on the pulse. So when I heard rumblings at work about a new pub on the Quayside inhabiting what used to be Rumpolis Italian restaurant I knew it was somewhere I needed to check out.
My history with that building is twofold. 1. I only ever went once when it was Rumpolis and when I did my pizza was made with red Leicester cheese so was bright orange. That’s not right is it? And 2. It’s where my brother (infamously) fell down the steps onto the road and broke his collar bone.
The Shilling has been open for three months now and it’s nice to see they’ve kept a few of the original fixtures and fittings, like the large stone pillars and tiles as a nod to what it once was. But they’ve also added their own stamp by way of some swanky light fittings and more casual seating. There’s a large bar area on the ground floor and restaurant upstairs, both have excellent views of the start of out magnificent Quayside and would be the perfect spot for some Sunday lunch or after work cocktails induced people watching.
We visited on a Saturday evening and whilst it wasn’t heaving, there was enough people in to give it some atmosphere. We were sitting down stairs in the bar area and had a great view of the hustle and bustle going on the quayside. The food and cocktail menus really are something to behold and I really struggled trying to decide what to order; it all looked so good! Drinks are on the pricey side, almost a fiver for a 175ml glass of wine and likewise for a pint of lager however I guess is quite standard for that area of town.
For starters Dave had the black pudding stack (grilled black pudding with bacon and a poached egg served with peppercorn sauce – whaaaat?) whilst I took the staff’s recommendation of the broccoli and stilton homemade soup which wasn’t something I would normally go for but broccoli and stilton is my favourite kind of soup and was deliciously creamy and thick. Little known fact about me is that one of my favourite things about weddings is the little crusty rolls you get with your soup (I’m easily pleased I know) so to have some warm crusty bread with the soup was the cherry on the cake. Dave’s black pudding was everything you’d imagine and more with the perfect runny poached egg on top.
I was really struggling with what to choose for my main course (always keeping the option of a pudding firmly in the back of my mind). I was tempted by the burgers, because, who doesn’t love a good burger? But on the basis I can have a burger anytime I thought I’d push the boat out and try the Lamb Jenny. An unusual choice for me as I’m quite particular about my lamb, especially after the lamb shanks we had at our wedding in 2013. My lamb bar has been set high. Dave, being a creature of habit, went for the 10oz sirloin. Getting your steak cooked right is a tricky thing (and of course a matter of personal preference). Dave and I are both very much on the medium/rare side of the fence when it comes to our steaks and this was perfectly pink on the inside savouring all the juices so was a true medium/rare.
Whilst I could never cheat on the amazing lamb we had at our wedding, I would say, in all honestly that the lamb at the Shilling has been catapulted into second place. First of all it was cooked to perfection, really succulent and just the right shade of pink on the inside. Secondly, the size of the portion was pretty epic. It was quite possible the biggest, meaty cut of lamb I’ve ever seen. The creamy mash and mint gravy complimented it perfectly. And despite my initial reservations of the £16 price tag, you absolutely get your moneys worth.
In fact the portions are s generous, not only did I not have room for pudding afterwards but also didn’t have room for one of their Toblerone cocktails either. Which only means we’ll have to go back for more!
To me The Shilling has hit on the perfect balance between swanky cocktail bar and casual cosy pub and with it being in such close proximity to Redhouse and Hop & Cleaver it really stands out as the place to go on the quayside for your meat fix.
If you were still looking for somewhere to hold a Christmas party or festive night out the Shilling have loads of drinks offers for groups so get in touch and you’ll be well looked after!