I love that where I'm from has such a good food and drink culture. The best part is it's not contrived or trendy, it's just damn good. Unlike London, great places like Cook House aren't filled with young, creative hipster types but normal everyday people. I feel as though Newcastle is such a welcoming city. The culture there is for everyone to enjoy, not just for the young folks.
Anna Hedworth is the woman behind Cook House, she has created a hidden gem that manages to be completely packed on a Monday lunch time, so get there early. The restaurant is made from a couple of shipping containers, which looks surprisingly cosy and welcoming once you're inside. It actually got me thinking that if I found me some land I'd happily be able live in around four shipping containers!
Anna has developed an informal and warm space with beautiful vintage bottles filled with feathers and dried grasses, an old fashioned log burner and shelves of homemade pickles and preserves. Anna also runs a programme of supper clubs via her blog called The Grazer where other talented chefs take over her space and cook up delicious evening meals. There are also cooking workshops and other foodie related projects you can join, so have a look at the Cook House events page here for more information.
Anna serves up the sort of food that I love. It's modern, fresh and inspired by European and Middle Eastern cultures without getting too fussy. My brother said that the pour over coffee was also very good if you just wanted to pop in for a hot drink and sit by the fire. My mum and I ordered a flavourful salad which included plenty of delicious chicken (I was glad to see that brown meat had been used), fried sourdough crumbs for crunch and fine slivers of celeriac. Anna had also made a Wild Garlic Aioli to go with it.
Some of the food you can expect to find and the Cook House includes, blood orange, feta, mint & toasted walnut salad or Geordie favourite roast ham with pease pudding, mustard & pickled cucumber. There was also a delicious looking rhubarb & almond cake with creme fraiche but sadly I had to rush off to catch my train back to London so there was no time for cake.
I will definitely be going back to Cook House, I imagine that I could quite easily enjoy the breakfast lunch and supper club in one week. I know that Simon really wanted to eat there when we were in Newcastle over Christmas but sadly we got the timings wrong and missed out. Cook House is based in one of my favourite areas of Newcastle called Ouseburn which has ended up being where all the cool kids hang out. There's a few amazing pubs, a small farm, charity run stables, a children's book centre and museum as well as a lot of artist's studios to visit. Oh, the area is also famous for its coal mining history and a lot of the original factories and chimneys still exist, it's a pretty great area.