Review: Hive Coffee Company, Jarrow Hall, Church Bank, Jarrow

Hive Coffee Company at Jarrow Hall.
Hive Coffee Company at Jarrow Hall.
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Stuffed full of hot cross buns and suffering from public holiday family claustrophobia, I craved proper food and head space.

Throw in grey skies and April downpours, a trip to the newest cafe in town seemed an appropriate diversion.

Hive Coffee Company at Jarrow Hall.

Hive Coffee Company at Jarrow Hall.

So it was, armed with a soggy newspaper, I ended up at Hive Coffee Company, the new cafe at Jarrow Hall Anglo-Saxon Village and Bede Museum, the attraction formerly known as Bede’s World.

But to describe it as a ‘museum cafe’ is to do it the greatest of disservices.

Hive is made up of a series of light, airy, open-plan areas, simply and tastefully decorated to enhance the building’s original features.

On a finer day, there is the option of an outdoor seating area – or even getting a takeaway and sitting in the picturesque grounds surrounding the historic St Paul’s church and the ruins of the former monastery.

This was less appealing as the rain came down in stair rods, but the cafe’s lofty interior made the most of what little light penetrated the rain clouds outside.

The menu is packed full of classic cafe fare, including jacket potatoes, flatbreads, sandwiches, and an extensive breakfast selection, as well as more unusual offerings. And everything has an exciting, contemporary edge.

Hive is run by Sarah Daglish and Eve McPadden, two school friends turned business partners.

Eve is, like me, a vegan, so the menu is also happily full of incidentally vegan and vegetarian options, as well as gluten-free choices.

I ordered the vegan soup of the day, salad, and an americano with soya milk.

With the addition of a vegan cornmeal coconut and lemon cake which waved at me as I stood at the counter, the bill came to £12.55.

While not sounding particularly exciting, the pea and mint soup was certainly not a disappointment. Pulpy, flavoursome and beautifully presented, this generous portion was a dream to consume.

Hive offers a number of salad options from its deli selection, from a hefty lunch-size dose for £5.95 to a £1.50 bolt-on to add to your main meal.

Hive Coffee Company at Jarrow Hall.

Hive Coffee Company at Jarrow Hall.

I went for a small chickpea and sunblush tomato salad for £3.95, which came in a generous-sized bowl, and was of considerably higher quality than many on offer in these parts.

The cake was perfectly moist, with the cornmeal creating an amazing texture – as well as making it gluten-free.

Topped with a silky-smooth icing, which I presume was made from coconut cream, this was a treat definitely worthy of its calories.

Hive is something new and exciting for South Tyneside’s dining scene, whose reputation has too long been dominated by Ocean Road curries and fish and chips.

It’s arguably the best place to eat in town, somewhere to take visitors, have a special lunch out – or just pick up a takeaway sandwich.

Hive Coffee Company at Jarrow Hall.

Hive Coffee Company at Jarrow Hall.

Hive Coffee Company at Jarrow Hall.

Hive Coffee Company at Jarrow Hall.

Hive Coffee Company at Jarrow Hall.

Hive Coffee Company at Jarrow Hall.