REVIEW: The Herb Garden, Westgate Road, Newcastle

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I caught up with a mate at one of the newest additions to Newcastle’s eating scene.

The Herb Garden serves Italian food from under the arches of a railway bridge, near Central Station.

You’re greeted by a giant model horse on roller skates, which is a favourite with snap-happy diners, along with an eye-catching indoor herb garden.

It’s all very style conscious, with water served in retro milk bottles on chunky wooden tables and waiters taking orders on iPads.

Sadly, we weren’t sitting near this explosion of green, but we had the menu to feast our eyes upon.

We pored over sharers, pizzas and salads and enjoyed the buzz that comes with a busy restaurant.

So busy, in fact, that it took our food a little while to arrive, which the waiter apologised for.

To start, we shared an Italian anti-pasti – a selection of cured meats, mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes, for £11.95.

Served on the ubiquitous wooden platter, it was a hefty portion, if a little on the salty side.

I went for an autumn salad from the specials blackboard, which shows how many of each option are available.

The heady combination of butter nut squash, Gorgonzola and pumpkin seeds, for £7.95, was the perfect antidote to winter stodge.

My friend ordered a tomato and mozzarella salad, which was just that.

He had to ask for some bread to fill it out and was presented with a single slice.

Not badly priced at £4.95, but more of a side dish than a main course.

Fellow diners tucking into belly pork and lamb fillet looked to have the better deal from the kitchen – more pricey at £14.95 and £16.95.

Sundays look more promising again – dedicated to Six Ways, six varieties of eggs and cocktails to banish the morning-after blues. With an alcoholic drink each, our meal came to just over £31.

Jane O’Neill