Review: Meet @ Rebel Restaurant, Newcastle upon Tyne

We’re slightly coming out of Sunday roast season although who’s to say that we won’t fall on a 10 degree rainy day in August? A couple of weeks ago though we went for Sunday lunch at Meet @ Rebel Restaurant in Heaton for a Sunday dinner that I reckon probably transcends seasons.

Meet is a pop up kitchen that takes up residency every Sunday in Rebel headed up by chef Rob Davidson and offers a ‘small plates’ Sunday lunch. Rob says:

‘I used to love Sunday. I remember Nana Sadie in the kitchen for hours, Granda Harry playing slidey down the belly with the kids, parents playing cards for coppers. The whole family getting together. Quality time with the ones you love. It’s all about the sides. That’s my favourite part of Sunday Lunch. And I love sharing my food. When I get a forkful of something that makes me smile. I want others to experience that. That’s what food is all about for me.’

Rebel is a ten minute walk from Byker metro and is the perfect place for Meet to set up home. It’s a small but perfectly formed restaurant with a handful of tables and open kitchen. The vinyl collection is pretty impressive too and Sunday Lunch in March with Amy Winehouse and Del La Soul in the background was something straight off my own Spotify playlist.

But on to the food! Its a set menu with appetizers and starters then you get to choose your meat and three accompanying sides.

We’ve never been a family who had starters before Sunday lunch at home, so it was nice that the starters are just little tasty titbits that don’t make you too full ahead of the main event. The sourdough was warm and the red pepper butter melted beautifully into it whilst still retaining all of it’s flavour. And always a lover of beetroot and fish, both were hits for me – the mackerel being particularly flavourful which reassures you they have trustworthy suppliers.

We decided on three different sides to be able to try everything and you know, for me normally it’s the meat that makes or breaks a Sunday roast but after trying all the different sides that Meet offer, I think I’ve come round to Rob’s way of thinking.

I preferred the Porchetta to the beef personally, because I love me a bit of stuffing (steady) and cracklin, whereas Dave prefers a rare red meet. But for me it’s the thinking outside the box in terms of the sides and not just conforming to the traditional ‘meat & two veg’. There’s a distinct wholesome American vibe with cornbread and sweet potato and marshmallow; something I know that is a staple on a Thanksgiving dinner table and something that sounds like it shouldn’t work but it absolutely does – and was probably my favourite side of them all. Although, I did admit to the team as I left that every dish I tried went a bit like this: ‘I think this is my favourite, no, this is my favourite…’ and so on, and so on. The cavolo nero (kale) & nduja was also incredibly rich (in a good way) and tasty – so would definitely have those again when we next visit – and we will be visiting again!

When you order food tapas style I ‘m always concerned we’re going to need to stop for a bag of chips on the way home – absolutely no concerns in that department at Meet. We did manage to squeeze in pudding; Rhubarb and Custard Doughnuts and Bakewell Trifle. Now. I’m not a trifle fan because I don’t normally like custard. I’m also known for only really liking puddings that are chocolate. I’m now officially a Bakewell Trifle convert. I would have put money on me preferring the doughnuts (and they were also lovely) but the trifle was just amazing – almost like a vanilla-y Eton Mess. So good and was a lighter pudding option than the doughnuts after such a lovely main meal.

Writing reviews like this are the easiest thing in the world, other than I find myself running out of adjectives for how good it is and I can absolutely see why Rebel have been added to the 2023 Michelin guide. I can’t wait to go back with the whole family for a round of bloody mary’s and as much sweet potato and marshmallow as I can manage!

Catch Meet @ Rebel restaurant, 150 Heaton Park Rd, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 5NR. 1 course is £20, 2 courses is £25 and 3 courses are £30. You can book a table via the Rebel Restaurant website.

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