I’ve long been a fan of Fat Buddha in Durham so I was interested to see, and taste, if its cousin across the Tyne would pass muster too.
Dubbed “Newcastle’s most stylish restaurant” the hype around the Buddha is big and it constantly seems to be tweeted about by reality TV ‘stars’ – though we’ll not hold that against it.
First impressions were great. It occupies the site below Metro Radio on the sweep into the city as you cross the Tyne Bridge and is a huge restaurant full of different types of seating areas.
We had booked ahead for a birthday meal, which is advisable on a weekend night, and we settled ourselves into two spacious booths.
Despite the hustle and bustle of scores of other diners who poured through the doors, service was speedy and attentive and we were never left trying to catch a member of staff’s eye.
The menu is a melting pot of flavours sourced from across Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia and other far flung corners of East Asia.
In fact, there was so much choice that we couldn’t settle on one dish. Instead, three of us decided to share a pick ‘n’ mix of dishes from the Asian Tapas section.
Pretty soon we were gorging on a tasty selection of gourmet treats. Each dish offered a different taste sensation from the salt and chilli squid (£5.90) which packed a flavoursome punch to the deep fried soft shell crab (£6.70) which was seafood perfection on a plate.
The chicken dumpling which came served with ginger (£5.30) also went down a treat.
We’d ordered two dishes each from the tapas section but our eyes proved bigger than out bellies with the order of a crispy aromatic duck to boot.
You can order a quarter for £10.40 or a half duck for £19.60. It was perfectly prepared and wasn’t too greasy.
I only managed a small portion though I wish my fitted dress had allowed me to squeeze in some more.
Next time, I’ll make sure to wear an elasticated waistband.