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I have been waiting to visit Peace & Loaf ever since I arrived in Jesmond.

In one of my first weeks at Newcastle Uni I was sent off to interview, Dave Coulson, the restaurants head chef for JesmondLocal.  Coulson is not only a lovely man and a great first interview but was a finalist in Masterchef in 2010 meaning he has a pretty extensive and impressive foodie CV.  Since that interview, I’ve been itching to go and has since spent the last few months begrudgingly walking past the doors of P&L as I head to the gym.  A few times I’ve been tempted to run in for a secret meal on my own.   Who wouldn’t rather swap a sweaty gym session for a feast of mammoth and epic proportions?  Screw the bikini body.  

Finally, after months of waiting patiently (read: months of nagging) this weekend my dad conceded and we headed over to Jesmond Road for a little taste of heaven.

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Canapes galore!

Coulson is a bit of a maverick.  The menu at P&L is a bit of a mix between classic dishes deconstructed or with a bit of a twist.  It’s exciting, it’s certainly different and he does it bloody well. His signature dish on Masterchef was a deconstructed chicken pie which my dad and I were lucky enough to have the  opportunity to try in the form of a pre-meal canapé.  I would have definitely ordered this if it was on the menu (which changes regularly) so heres hoping that next time I visited, it is!

After umming and ahhing about what I was going to have I eventually chose the Scallop, Pea and Pie from the normal dinner menu and then the Pressed Pork Belly, Pork Rillette, Creamy Mash and Apple for my main from the Prix Fixe just to be awkward!

What strikes you first when you’re dish arrives is the arrangement.  The placement of every component has been thought out and it creates a bed of organised chaos where each ingredient gets its fair share of air time.

The meaty scallops were served with a generous amount of pea puree (don’t you just hate it when there isn’t enough puree – #FirstWorldProblems) while the pie was a little revelation in itself.  Beautifully soft pastry with just enough bite with a (presumably) sausage filling which complemented the scallop without overriding its flavour.  Ooo-errr.

P1010114My dad went for the Lamb Breast, Broccoli, Wild Leaks, Wensleydale and Black Olives.  Minus the Wensleydale.  The man doesn’t like cheese!  Yes, cheese!

The Holy Grail of all foods.  Madness, I tell you.  

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Our meal – rather unexpectedly – came with an amuse bouche of beetroot and granola.  Now, I’m just going to say it straight, I wasn’t a fan of this, but this is most likely because I am a fan of neither of its components so I really can’t be a reliable judge.  You’ll just have to let me know what you think instead!

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Next came the piggy main…

My pork was succulent, not dry at all and the pork belly had perfectly cooked crackling on top which wasn’t too thick or tough!  I’ve really got into mash at the minute and I’ve got into the habit of buying those microwave tubs that you can get from supermarkets with cheese on top, but of course this was a cut above those and was perfectly creamy.  My dad went for the slightly healthier option of Salmon with sea vegetables.  This is meant to come with garlic risotto but as my dad isn’t a fan of garlic (I KNOW!) he swapped the stodge for a side of broccoli.

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While I wasn’t planning to get dessert, I can never quite say no to the offer of the dessert menu and since we were celebrating…well actually we weren’t celebrating anything but why not!  

I actually rather belatedly taught my dad the premise of ‘YOLO’ during the dinner, so perhaps this dessert can be put down to a Drake inspired yolo outburst in the form of massive calorie consumption. I’ll just blame Drake when my jeans don’t fit then, yeah?  Not my fault at all…

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Behold, Newcastle’s most luxurious brownie!  Admired the world over! 

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Peace & Loaf was great!  A relaxed atmosphere, aesthetically pleasing dishes and fantastic food with a bit of a twist at great value.  Coulson has definitely gained a fan and a foodie follower in me!

Maybe one day I will make a detour to P&L while I’m on my way to the gym, YOLO afterall…

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When I mentioned to one of my friends (shout out to Sam) at Reading that I was heading up to Newcastle for a Masters, her first reaction was to excitedly recommend me to head to The Fat Hippo in Jesmond for lunch ASAP.

The Fat Hippo went straight to the top of my to do list however, once I got to University work, library sessions and reading started to get in the way and instead of spending my time tasting the wares of the popular restaurant, I sat inside reading up on Semiotics.  Bore.  However, after two months, I finally persuaded myself and one of my housemates to make a special trip to the Hippo and it wasn’t long before I returned again with more friends in tow.

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Love a restaurant that serves Coke in bottles

Love a restaurant that serves Coke in bottles

The first time I visited I opted for the Italian Job, a breaded chicken burger with mozzarella, pesto and sundried tomatoes which was bloody delicious.  The chicken was soft with a little bit of crisp and although I wasn’t sure whether I was a massive fan of sundried tomatos beforehand, I definitely know I am now.

The Italian Job

The Italian Job

My most recent visit saw me tackle an even bigger beast.  The Fat Hippo’s namesake burger is a huge slab of burgerporn, so delicious that it’ll have you craving for more even when your trouser buttons have popped off.  The thick beef pattie which is just the perfect amount of pink is nestled among cheese, chorizo, bacon, caramelised onions, fat hippo sauce and a mouthwatering mound of onion rings.  Although I did defeat the beast, I was beaten by the accompanying fries which I had ordered with cajun seasoning, they were just one bite too far.  

The Fat Hippo Burger

The Fat Hippo Burger

If you’re heading to the Fat Hippo, be prepared to queue, it’s mighty popular, however, don’t be put off as their service is fast and friendly!  The Hippo also offers great value for money; both times I ate there, I didn’t need grazing for the rest of the day, so you’re practically getting a two for one deal!  Perfect for the economising student in us all! 

If you’re heading into Jesmond then the Fat Hippo should be on your list of places to eat and if you’re in a hurry, they have a takeaway deli which is literally around the corner!  Perfect!