On a warm Thursday evening in the centre of Newcastle a plethora of ‘food-a-holics’ got together and sampled the wares of a very talented chef named Paul Amer at his home in Marco Pierre White – Fenkle Street, NE1.
Being made suitably dizzy from parking on floor eight of Grainger Town Car Park* it was just a five minute walk to the destination for the evening .
MPW had a happy atmosphere, staff and diners happily taking and finding out about about each others days. A semi private area (behind a curtain rather than a door) is where the story unfolds and we 12 diners sit and gorge. Sitting down with a glass of Chardonnay new and old faces alike up and share stories.
It was now time for the main character to appear and for us to find out more. Paul an animated character ran through his menu and fielded lots of our questions and he was calm and unfazed. His passion for food was apparent and good presentation is something he’d love to feature even more in the menus. Dipolmacy is a good trait witnessed in this resturant’s main man.
Before the food even arrived the tables were adorned with baskets of bread and olives. With bread as a downfall it’s best to atleast TRY to stay clear of the bread but my will was weak. For the olives no holding back was required, they are greatly loved and healthyish.
The food on the evening was plentiful.
Course one features both field and sea in the formation of Rillette of smoked mackarel with lightly pickled vegetables.
Pleasing on the eye the course was full of flavour and was extremely well balanced. The mackerel was rich and needed something to lift it and Paul thought of something that has never adorned a savoury dish when I’m cooking…a blackberry. Who knew they go so well with fish? This is definitely banked and to be used in future.
Slow roasted tomato soup with basil pesto was on offer for course two. Mr. Amer please don’t judge but when reading this menu the wonder of of how you would to top the ’57 Varieties’ sprung to mind. You took the gauntlet without realising it and won by a landslide majority. The soup was utterly delicious, creamy, smooth and thick in texture. Mopping in resturants may be considered a little uncouth but the hunk of bread called out to be dunked.
Course three was a lightly curried smoked haddock risotto.
If this course was deconstructed into curry, haddock and risotto a definate appeal would be there but married together alas didn’t work for me.
The word ‘lightly’ definitely needs to be removed unless the person who made tonight’s offering was a little heavy handed.
Also is there really enough space on a tasting menu for two fish dishes?
Move over fish and hello meat.
Course four featured slow cooked belly pork, vale of Mowbray black pudding, pommes puree and roasted cauliflower puree. An excellent coupling of flavour and textures. The asparagus was a nice surprise. The crackling was a little well done but nice and crispy. Paul could this be one of the dishes that requires a presentation upgrade?
Desert time come with Course five in the form of Raspberry & Passion Fruit Panna Cotta with mini meringue, raspberry sorbet
Wow! I DON’T as a general rule ‘do’ dessert but my heart did a little leap. Panna Cotta can be done so badly but not today, the texture was perfect and the balance with the sorbet worked so well. The meringue was nice but a little bit of a gooey centre never hurt anyone. Overall this was the star of the menu.
Footnote 1: Thank you to Emma Wright (Sales & events co-ordinator) and Rachel Kershaw (MPW Newcastle Ambassador) for the invitation and I’m glad to be back. Having turned down every food review invite since Nov 2016 my welcome back to food blogging was definitely selected well.
Footnote 2: I’m not sure if it’s because I’m over forty, suffered from gallstones or because I usually have a small child in tow but I always like to check out the ladies. These ones get a thumbs up especially when Elemis is their hand wash and hand cream of choice, I’m a sucker for a British Brand.
* There is limited parking at the restaurant and on Fenkle Street. The restaurant is also only five minutes from the nearest train/metro station. Grainger Town car park is part of the Alive after Five scheme which equals free parking after 5pm Monday – Saturday