*I received a complimentary tour but all views are my own
In June I was invited to work with Triple A Food Tours on their Newcastle Food Tour, where I think it’s safe to say a good time was ad by all. When I noticed they did an Ouseburn Food Tour as well, which just so happened to coincide with needed inspiration for Steph’s big birthday, it was like a marriage made in heaven.
I’m a massive fan of the Ouseburn area of Newcastle which I’ve spoken of many times before, but there’s has been loads of new places open up in the last few years which of course due to the pandemic has meant I’ve been unable to visit.
We started the tour with a trip down the Victoria Tunnels, which was a great way to start the day and Ian, our guide was brilliant. I’m sure having 7 girls ready to day drink probably didn’t fill his heart with joy when he saw us but he was great fun and even started a Happy Birthday song for Steph in the tunnel. The tour itself lasts about an hour and you get loads of cool stories about how the tunnels were used as a bomb shelter in the World War II, a route home to Byker for people drinking in town, and even a den of inequity for some cheeky scamps! You get hard hats and torches but I would recommend closed toe comfortable shoes and a coat or jacket as there are some puddles in places and it gets a bit chilly.
Once our history lesson was over it was on to our first stop; Brinkburn Street Brewery. We were treated to 2 flights of their own brewed beer and ale (yummy even for me who doesn’t drink beer that often), alongside their black pudding bombs and beetroot bhajis for the vegetarians. Both were absolutely incredible. I can’t wait to take Dave there at some point to have a full meal. So far so good, we were off to a flying start.
Directly next door is Kiln, which I have been to before, albeit only for a coke to shield from the rain. Here we had a mezze of hummus, goats cheese, herb potatoes, lamb and flatbreads, all washed down with some lovely white wine. The food was delicious especially the lamb which was so tender and flavourful. My only criticism is that the bread didn’t come out with the hummus, which would have been handy for dipping purposes. Taste and quantity wise though, couldn’t fault it at all. Kiln is also a working pottery studio, for the creative in you. I’m not sure me being in charge of a potters wheel after 2 glasses of white wine is a good idea though, I’d 100% try and recreate the scene in Ghost with the closest unsuspecting man.
Stop number 4 was The Cook House, which has become a bit of a place of local legend recently. It actually started life as a food blog and a ‘pay what you feel’ supper club. It then expanded to two renovated shipping containers in Ouseburn before moving to it’s currently location on Foundry Lane. I’d heard good things about it already and was excited to see this was on the route. I’m pleased to say the food was absolutely exquisite too, with the mackerel and deep fried cauliflower undoubtedly the stars of the show. It’s definitely somewhere I’d like to go back to for a full meal for a special occasion. I really liked the laid back vibe in there as well, when the food is that good there’s a worry the surroundings may be a bit pretentious however I think it embodied what makes Ouseburn so popular, perfectly.
Last stop, as if we weren’t full enough by this stage, was ever popular Ernest, for pudding, and we all know, no matter how full you are, there’s always room for pudding. Here we could order anything from their sweet menu, which consisted of chocolate brownies, sticky toffee pudding, apple pie, and their own version of Eton Mess all washed down with a bottle of prosecco to share. It was the perfect end to the tour and was here where our guide David left us.
Speaking of David, a shout out must be given to our illustrious guide for the day who had the unenviable task of having to corral us around all day. He was a fantastic guide; really knowledgeable about both the area and the places we were eating in. He kept us to time well; moving from place to place without making it feel rushed.
Having done both the Newcastle and the Ouseburn food tours now, I’m inclined to say I prefer the Ouseburn one, perhaps simply because I prefer Ouseburn as an area but I think in terms of value for money, I felt like we got absolutely loads for our money. Now of course there were a few people driving in our party and sadly one girl was unable to make it last minute which meant more food to share among less people, but there was still absolutely loads of food on the Ouseburn tour which made it exceptional value.
The Newcastle tour is probably better suited for an older crowd, or people who are visiting the city wanting to learn more about it, and the Ouseburn tour more for locals who are already familiar with the city. These tours make the ideal gift, and if you were struggling to think of something for a loved one this Christmas, I would highly recommend the gift voucher option, which we got for our parents last year, who redeemed them against the Newcastle tour and absolutely loved it.
Here’s all the important info you need to book your own tour: