Heading up North can be an emotional experience for the Northerner. More then once I turned around only to find her getting all misty-eyed over concoctions such as 'parmos', half and halfs, chips and curry sauce and other delicacies unique to the North East. However as she is more then ready to shout about, the NE of England has its fair share of beauty, culture and refinement, all of which I feel is encapsulated in the Baltic Flour Mills building in Gateshead, now better known as an art gallery, and home to the wonderful Six Restaurant.
Someone once described this as being a Geordie version of the Oxo Tower, but the man was clearly an idiot, as the place is far superior to the Conran joint by the Thames. For a start, the views of the mighty Tyne bridge, with the sun setting in the distance are something to behold. And the food, in terms of service, quality and price, far exceeds anything that Mr Conran is serving down south.
We were there for a Sunday lunch, and after taking drinks and, in that quaintly Northern way, reading the menu in the bar, we were taken to our seats plum in the centre of the restaurant. Floor to ceiling windows allow for great rivers views; the furniture is modern without being over designed; and there is plenty of space despite catering for what looked like 50 covers. No need to worry about waiting staff or fellow diners backing onto your table. The clientele are Newcastle's finest (not an oxymoron) dressed to the nines, shouting to the ceiilngs and drinking with the abandon that makes me so fond of the North. The service is attentive without being fussy. And the food is good. Very good.
The Northerner had local crab to start while I indulged in some mussels with white wine sauce and garlic. We then did the relatively unusual (for us anyway) and ordered the same main - roast beef with all the trimmings. The beef was rare and well seasoned; the gravy was thick and full of flavours and the Yorkshire puddings were the size of Newcastle stadium. And very tasty. Desserts of chocolate brownie and a peach melba were delicious, and as with everything else, of a generous proportions. But here's the real surprise - starters and desserts cost £4 each. Mains for a tenner. We spent more on our bottle of wine (a lovely New Zealand Pinot Noir) then the combined courses - which is as it should be but never, ever seems to happen down south.
So definitely better then the Oxo Tower, and clearly good reason to ignore the idiot who said it. Who, by the way, was me. Say no more.