Hearty food with a view: Review of new addition to Newcastle Quayside, Chart House
It’s one of Newcastle’s newest restaurants, but its location in the Grade II-listed former Charts building is one that’s rich in maritime history.
One of the oldest buildings on this well-known stretch – and one of the few that escaped the devastating fire of 1854 that destroyed much of the Quayside – it can chart its history back to the late 18th century, when it was home to Matthew S Dodds, printer of maps and charts that were used to navigate the globe.
And his original Charts typography can still be seen etched on the building’s Georgian frontage.
His legacy is also echoed in the new look, with a huge map spanning one wall of the stylish restaurant, exposed period brickwork adorned with nautical-inspired artworks and a cool blue and yellow theme that ebbs and flows through the site’s two floors.
This is heritage chic, done well and it’s refreshing to visit a new bar and restaurant that hasn’t gone down the obvious ‘Instagram’ route of neon signs and faux flower walls.
The menu, too, is liberally sprinkled with spice in honour of the old Maritime spice route, while cocktails use botanicals inspired by the Mediterranean, Arabia and the Far East.
Giving new life to historically-rich buildings is nothing new for operator Pub Culture, which has also worked its magic turning Sunderland’s old Edwardian fire station into The Engine Room bistro – another great example of design doffing its cap to the past.
Then of course there’s the views to attract you here, with windows overlooking the Tyne as it meanders through Newcastle Gateshead past the Sage and under the iconic Tyne Bridge.
Bag yourself a table at the window and it feels extra special, a great people watching spot.
With the hustle and bustle outside, Chart House’s atmosphere is, in contrast, really warm and relaxed, with the twinkle of fairy lights for the festive season adding extra ambience.
In keeping with the season, there’s a festive menu running, offering two courses for £29, three for £34 or, add some Christmas fizz with two courses and a glass of Cava Reserva for £34 or three for £39.
We ate from the main menu, which is a hearty affair with winter warmers such as Spiced Lamb Kofta, Red Onion and Fig Tarte Tatin, Pan Fried Seabass Fillets, Spiced Vegetable Curry, Butternut and Chestnut Loaf, Lamb Tagine and Katsu Buttermilk Chicken Burger. People with dietary requirements are also well catered for with a better range of vegan, vegetarian and wheat-free options than most.
Prices are fair for the location – and the utility bill price hikes that are hitting hospitality hard - with all starters priced £7.50, mains from £15 and desserts from £6.
To start, I had the Beetroot and Gin Smoked Salmon with Sour Dough and French Butter.
It was really well presented on a Moorish-patterned chunky plate, the slivers of moreish silky salmon artfully displayed on the slightly tangy sourdough.
My mains were also a satisfying Sunday afternoon treat: turkey and trimmings.
For £18, you get plenty of moist turkey on a bed of velvety mash, given extra texture with a chestnut and pancetta crumb, with a couple of tightly-wrapped pigs in blankets, roasted sprouts and tender stems. It’s filling but won’t over face you as much as your mam’s Christmas dinner, thankfully.
Make sure to try the wasabi peas from the bar snacks menu, too. They’re only £2 for a generous bowl full and, in keeping with the spice theme, they’ve got an incredible kick.