Going out for dinner with family or friends – whether for a special occasion or an overdue catch up – should be just as much about the dining experience as it is about the food. Newcastle city centre is certainly spoilt for choice with bustling bars and restaurants, but when the opportunity arose to attend a private dining event at one of Newcastle and Gateshead’s most highly-regarded restaurants, something told me that this would be an amazing dining experience.
As we stepped out of the lift on the fifth floor and into the gallery’s viewing box, Emily and I were greeted by twinkling fairy lights and a floor-to-ceiling view of the iconic Millennium Bridge, it too, was dressed for dinner with its ever-changing light show shining bright under the dark night sky. By day, the Baltic’s viewing box serves as additional gallery space, but by night, it is effortlessly transformed into an intimate dining area for parties and family gatherings seating up to 25 comfortably.
Taking our pick from an adventurous menu, (and having never had pigeon before) we both chose the cold starter of pigeon and ham hock terrine served with celeriac puree and spiced fig. The sweetness of the fig cut through the rich meatiness of the terrine, adding extra flavour and depth to the dish. For our mains I chose the roast fillet of cod served with boulangerie potatoes, girolles and sweetcorn in a chicken jus while Emily chose the Barbary duck breast with roast nectarine broccoli, violet potatoes and a lavender jus. While we both agreed our mains sounded unusual, we were certainly intrigued. Each dish sounded like a work of art which was entirely fitting considering our surroundings. As expected, both dishes were delicious, although I had to admit to a case of food envy after tasting Emily’s duck. The violet, lavender and nectarine flavours added a playful element to the duck, giving this versatile meat an interesting twist. Supper was served with an accompanying red and white wine and my Colombard Ugni Blanc was faultless – its light, crisp taste complemented the lightness of my cod perfectly. I had to take a picture of the label just so I’d remember what it was called for future occasions!
|Pigeon and ham hock terrine with celeriac puree and spiced fig
|Roast fillet of cod served with boulangerie potatoes, girolles, sweetcorn and chicken jus|
|Triple layered brownie cake with peanut butter ice cream
|Lemon posset topped with raspberry jelly served with homemade shortbread|
As the evening wore on and we chatted to our new neighbours like old friends we soon found ourselves faced with the decision of what to order for dessert. Both self-confessed sweet-tooths, Emily and I decided to share everything and opted for the triple layered brownie cake served with peanut butter ice cream and the lemon posset topped with raspberry jelly and freshly baked shortbread. The silence spread around the room like wildfire as dessert was served, each and every one us taking our time to enjoy what was secretly our most eagerly-anticipated course. Despite not being the biggest fan of ice cream, I must admit I was impressed at the nutty flavour and rich texture of the peanut butter ice cream, while the triple chocolate brownie cake was indeed death by chocolate: rich, creamy and delicious. The lemon posset and raspberry jelly served as an excellent palette cleanser after the decadent chocolate brownie cake and who can resist freshly baked shortbread on any occasion? Certainly not me! Now feeling exceptionally full and very well fed, the group was led upstairs to the SIX restaurant where we sank into plush leather booths and digested dinner over coffee and petit fours and drank in the view.
As expected, SIX did not disappoint. The menu was inventive, the staff and service exceptional and the view certainly made us feel like we were VIPs, discovering a new side to a city we know and love. The idea to convert precious gallery space into a private dining room offers excellent versatility for fans of SIX and I have little doubt that brides-to-be, birthday girls and party planners will make good use of this intimate space.
If you’ve never been to SIX and you’re a local, or you’re planning to visit Newcastle/Gateshead, I urge you to treat yourself. Admittedly the prices aren’t what you’d pay on a regular occasion, but it’s always nice to treat yourself or a loved one. Plus they sometimes have offers on, which is a great excuse to try somewhere new. My favourite thing about SIX would definitely have to be the view, I’ve lived in Newcastle my whole life and as cheesy as it sounds, the birds eye view from SIX takes my breath away every time even though the Tyne is such a familiar view.
For more information about SIX or their new private dining room, visit www.sixbaltic.com, I have a feeling you won’t be disappointed!