I’M never sure where to dine pre-arena concert in the Toon.
Admittedly, I’m not as au fait with this city’s eateries as I am Sunderland’s and, faced with so much choice, I’m always a bit stumped as to where to go.
Following up on a recommendation, I visited the Town Wall pub, which is perfectly situated between the Metro Station and the Arena.
With exposed bricks and pipes, it’s got one of those New York apartment feels to it and manages to be trendy, but not in an off-putting way.
I visited with friend Helen who was coming to review a gig with me and we managed to grab one of the last tables remaining.
It was a Sunday and there were scores of people enjoy lazy afternoon drinks and laid-back lunches.
First impressions weren’t great as our table hadn’t been cleaned and I had to go to the bar to ask for it to be done.
At the same time, I had to ask for a menu as this was missing from our table.
The menu, however, did impress.
There was a good choice of Sunday roasts, priced from £8.45 including Northumbrian lamb, Northumbrian pork and 28-day hung roasted County Durham topside of beef.
Vegans needn’t miss out either with a homemade lentil and cashew nut roast for £8.45.
There was also vegetarian options including mixed bean chilli (£6.45).
As delicious as these options sounded, we weren’t massively hungry, so ordered from the light bites menu.
Even though it was billed as a smaller portion, our sandwiches were huge.
I’d gone for the bacon sarnie which was £3.95. It came served with a basket of chunky, homemade chips and it was a whopper.
Unlike the bacon sarnies rolled out by greasy spoons, this was a more classy affair, with prime, thick bacon and crusty artisan bread.
Helen too was impressed with her choice which, well presented with tartare sauce, was posher than your average fish finger sarnie. (£5.95).
By night, the menu changed to include more options including gourmet burgers and mains including Geordie stew, Uncle Colin’s cottage pie, pan fried halloumi and haggis, tatties and neeps.
The food was top-notch and we soaked up the atmosphere some more by staying for tipples before we headed off to the arena to dance off our meal.