Oh la la: What we thought of The French Quarter in Newcastle
But those after food from across The Channel have been less well-catered for over the years. Cue The French Quarter, which was opened by an Anglo-French husband and wife team who met while working in the French Alps.
They brought their passion and flair for French wines and foods to Newcastle in 2017 and opened their joint venture beneath the rumble of the railway bridge in Arch 6, Westgate Road.
Though its neighbouring arch neighbours have come and gone, including Herb Garden which closed earlier this year, The French Quarter has enough je ne sais quoi to still be going strong.
Despite being a stone’s throw from the neon lights and blaring music of Newcastle’s Collingwood Street – or Diamond Strip to give it its colloquial name – you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a chic wine bar in a Parisian side street here. The corrugated walls of the arch are lined with bottles of French wine, the monochrome flooring is classically stylish and the atmosphere effortlessly romantic.
Many of the ingredients are imported from France on a menu that offers something more classy than most in this area of the city. Plates are small and designed for sharing, giving you the chance to try out a pick ‘n’ mix of France’s finest.
The gloriously gooey Camembert (£6.50) and good-sized portion of moules marinieres (£6.95) were what you’d expect from any French menu worth its salt but there’s plenty of more unusual options for Newcastle on there which fly the flag for classic French cooking.
We devoured the terrine canard (£6.95) which managed to strike a perfect balance between being rich but not sickeningly so, the meaty flavour given extra depth with hazelnuts and mushroom.
A traditional confit de canard (£9.95) was slow cooked into submission, the meat falling from the bone into a zesty orange sauce. Sticking with the meat dishes (there’s plenty of vegetarian and vegan options too, however), we ordered the onglet a l'echalote (£8.95), a flavoursome cut of beef, served medium rare in a moreish shallot jus.
If you have any room, it’s definitely worth trying to shoehorn in the accras de morue (£6.95), salted cod croquettes with tomato and red chilli sauce that are packed tight with flavour.
Wines are as important as the food here and our waitress was great at talking us through the provenance of the wines. We particularly enjoyed the pleasingly pale and crisp Domaine de L'Amour Rosé, which was addictively drinkable. All the wines are available to buy too at a retail price, meaning you can wet your whistle at home with a true flavour of France.