Is everything fine and dandy at one of the city’s newest bars and restaurants?
There’s much to like about Dandy Longlegs, a family-run business which has breathed new life into a former derelict eyesore.
The building itself dates back to pre-1850 and there’s been plenty of attention paid to retaining the quirky features of the listed building, while also creating a new venue at this gateway to the city centre.
And the decor theme of the moment – shabby chic – works perfectly in this old building with its uneven walls and beams.
The owners scoured eBay when dressing the venue and there’s some great talking point pieces, including a copper table top engraved with a map of the world, a kitsch salmon pink 1950s fireplace and a main bar made from two penny pieces.
It’s a breath of quirky fresh air in an oft-forgotten corner of town and works perfectly alongside neighbouring pubs, such as the excellent Isis, if you’re looking for an alternative to the bright lights and alcopops of the city centre.
There’s even a corner dedicated to board games if you want to indulge your competitive side over a pint.
In keeping with its location on the fringes of the city centre, the atmosphere is relaxed and informal and though Friday night saw a DJ behind the decks, the funk and soul tunes were at just the right decibel level so you can audibly natter over your meal.
The menu doffs its cap to its locality with options such as Boldon bangers and mash (£8.95), surf and turf using Northumberland sirloin (£19.95) and North East culinary classics such as garlic stottie (£2.95) and a Dandy parmo (£8.95), the venue’s take on that post-pub staple dish.
There’s a good selection of belly-fillers, such as steak, fish and chips and some imaginatively titled burgers, such as The Beau Brummel (£7.95), a meaty homage to one of the greatest of dandies.
We chose two of the platters to share: the platter pesce (£11.95) and the platter veggio (£8.95).
They’re a decent size and the fish version came with enough prawns, calamari and fish bites to go around. The veggie version offered mounds of garlic mushrooms, a round of goats cheese, strips of carrots and cucumber, bruschetta and tortilla crisps.
Each comes with pots of dips, though the accompanying garlic stottie – as nice as it was on its own – didn’t really work with fish pate and houmous. A side of plain bread would have proved helpful for mopping up the remaining dips.
Special mention must go to the bowl of chips which came with the platters – a heap of big, thick, proper chips. None of your limp, skinny fries here.
Everything is cooked from fresh, so you’re warned that you may have to wait longer than chain bars for food, but this is very much a destination venue where you could spend all night grazing and drinking. As such, we didn’t notice any delay.
Speaking of drinks, I’ve heard quibbles about the lack of draught options, but if draught and guest ales are what you’re after the neighbouring pubs are probably a safer bet.
The focus here is more bottles, wine and cocktails. The latter are reasonably priced at £5.95 and there’s a colourful range of options including bloody Mary, espresso martini and a parma violet martini.