House of Tides has been a staple in the Newcastle culinary scene for years now, having been brought to our city by local lad Kenny Atkinson shortly after he appeared in UK Masterchef. I’ll be honest it’s somewhere that’s always intimidated me slightly. Me and Dave love our food but we’re more quantity over quality people and if there’s one thing I hate it’s feeling out of place somewhere, or that I’m simply too common to be there.
March 2023 was our 10 year wedding anniversary and was 6 weeks after I’d had a major operation so best believe, this year we were celebrating. My brother and sister-in-law has gone to House of Tides for their anniversary the year before and really rated it so thought perhaps this was the year we pushed the boat out. We were lucky enough to get some money from my Mum & Dad and Uncle for Christmas which we put towards it, which cushioned the blow on the bill at the end – more on that later.
Michelin starred House of Tides run regular set 7 or 8 course menus (the cheese course is optional) – it’s not somewhere you go and choose what you want. As such, when you book, they’re keen for you to divulge an dietary requirements before hand so they can alter accordingly. Something which I took advantage of and let them know about my utter detest of mushrooms. I’m not allergic to them so it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if one showed up, but when you’re paying that much for a lovely 8 course meal, the last thing you want is to pick mushrooms out your dinner. And they were absolutely great about it – there was one dish that came with truffle mushrooms which they took out for me and replaced with fennel instead – so far, so impressive.
We arrived and had some snacks in the bar along with a beer for Dave and cocktail for me – go big or go home right?! We also decided, since this was probably the one and only time we’d ever be in a Michelin starred restaurant, we would have the wine paring with the food. Something I’m really pleased we did now!
Once our table was ready we moved up to the main restaurant which actually has quite laid back vibe and isn’t so unbelievably posh that you feel out of place. When we visited, the menu was:
Now I’m not going to go through every single dish ingredient by ingredient but let me tell you that this was some of the nicest food I think I’ve ever tasted. Everything is locally sourced and you can really tell I think the stand outs for me was the Stone Bass which was a really meaty, chunky fish and the Lamb, which was coincidental since we actually had lamb on our wedding day too – so we came full circle on that!
We opted for the cheese course as well which comes between the two sweet courses and we advised that one was more than enough between 2 – and it was. The wine pairings were also absolutely spot on, and credit to the staff really who learn about what they’re serving you in impressive detail. I very happily chatted away with the sommelier about red wine and why some gives me worth hangovers than others (tannins babes, its the tannins). I suspect he stopped himself from suggesting it was probably the quantity of red wine I drink rather than the grape type.
Shall we talk cost? Well as you can see from the menu, the set menu is £120 and wine paring an extra £70 each. Personally, I think the wine is worth it, you get a very generous amount with each glass which is free poured so it doesn’t feel like you’re particularly being rationed in anyway. Vibe wise, we didn’t feel out of place at all – I was actually surprised at how laid back it all was, which was really nice, the last thing you want when enjoying a meal out is feeling like you’re being looked down on and that wasn’t the case here at all, it’s very much a ‘jeans and nice top’ kind of place. We were very fortunate to have some money off our visit but still paid a large chunk ourselves. But we’re talking about what is essentially a £400 meal here so was House of Tides worth it?
Look, will I ever believe that £400 is good value for money for an evening of food? No. But, for a one off special occasion, and taking into account the sheer experience of having a Michelin starred meal with incredible – INCREDIBLE ingredients and lovely wine served by experts, am I pleased we were lucky enough to have the opportunity to go? Yes.
Did I need to stop at the chippy on the way home? Surprisingly no! At one point I felt I could have easting those teeny tiny plates all night and not been full however, as is probably the art of this style of dining, I was pretty fully when we left. As you’d expect really!