REVIEW: Peace and Loaf, Jesmond Road, Newcastle

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Creative flair meets culinary gems at this new restaurant.

County Durham-born chef and 2010 Masterchef: The Professionals finalist Dave Coulson is at the helm of Peace and Loaf – and it shows.

The former head chef at Castle Eden Inn, in East Durham, has built up a good reputation in the North East.

This latest venture gives him the chance to really stretch his gastronomic wings and, if our visit during opening week is anything to go by, it’s one that’s going to take off.

The menu isn’t too vast, instead it offers a good selection of quirky, quality dishes with a nod to the North East, thanks to fancy stotties and a trendy take on fish and chips.

To start, I chose the all-day breakfast – but this was no lard-laden slop.

Instead, I was presented with delicate Scotch quails eggs with a crisp slice of bacon, precariously balanced on top and a range of sauces dotted around the plate in an artistic fashion.

It managed to be a light version of a British classic, whose novelty appearance had us oohing and ahhing even before I’d tucked in.

My steak too was presented like no other I’d had before.

I’d gone for the hanger steak, but instead of one slab of meat, it was presented as chunks of prized cut of beef, decorated with a kaleidoscope of additions, including an oxtail spring roll, the prettiest beetroots I’ve ever seen, sorrel herb and bone marrow gravy.

It tasted as good as it looked and didn’t sit too heavily.

Despite the food’s fancy appearance, prices are reasonable – though they may change once the restaurant’s found its feet. You can pick up two courses for £18 or three courses for £25.

Sunderland graffiti artist Frank Styles has painted walls with quirky one-off art works that create a cool, yet informal ambience in this New York loft-style bar.

We were both still talking about this place days afterwards, testament that it’s worth a trip to the Toon.

Katy Wheeler