Most Tynemouth-dwellers will be aware of the delightfully hip Lola Jeans, which opened it’s doors on Front Street a good few years ago now. A lovingly-restored bar-slash-eaterie, it’s been on my list to try for absolutely ages, however I’m a sucker for “proper” fish and chips whenever I arrive at the coast, so Lola Jeans always takes the hit. Silly me. I discovered just how silly, when their city centre venue opened just before Christmas.
Lola Jeans Newcastle has taken pride of place on one of the city’s busiest roads, Market Street, in the site that for decades was home to cheap and cheerful Italian restaurant, The Godfather. It’s next door to Dat Bar and round the corner from two of my absolute favourite venues in Newcastle, namely Alvino’s and MSA, so in terms of location, for me, it couldn’t be more perfect.
Internally, it’s all brick walls, reclaimed furniture, beautiful chandeliers and, for anyone who’s frequented their Tynemouth venue will know, those custom Lola Jeans wall murals. The bar, while small, is fully stocked with rows upon rows of premium spirits, there’s a pretty decent wine list and of course, a host of bottled and cask beers. So far, so good…
We visited on a pretty quiet Tuesday evening after work and were seated by a very keen and very friendly waitress, who was more than happy to advise on their extensive cocktail list. I’m pleased to report that the girl knows her bevvies, and her recommendation of ‘5 Shades of Grey’ (Gin, Earl Grey tea, and some other stuff) was absolutely spot on, whilst also very pretty reasonably priced (£5.95) for a city centre venue. My companion for the evening was way more sensible and opted for a soft drink, much to my disappointment.
Our waitress was equally confident in her recommendations on the menu, and so with her assistance, we opted for the Buffalo Chicken Wings (HOT – and served with a Blue Cheese Dip) and Pork Belly to start and to share. The wings, which I ordered reluctantly thanks to Meat Liquor changing my life with their version, were actually, quite the triumph.
Slathered in hot sauce that was actually, y’know, hot, and accompanied by a gorgeously rich and creamy blue cheese dip (so many places get this wrong), I would have quite happily paid the £5.95 they were asking for them. I have been to the venue since and did just that, and regularly find myself thinking about when I might get to try them again. So yes, all good on the hot wings front. I should also mention that they’re served with chopped celery and carrot, so you can make good use of that divine blue cheese dip. They think of everything, these guys.
The pork belly was also bloody delightful. Marinated in spices and slow cooked, the meat was juicy and tender, with a rich, glazed top and minimal fat. It was served with an apple sauce that for me, was a little too sweet, but overall it still did the trick. A worthy point of note is that the portion sizes are very reasonable, so in terms of value for money, Lola Jeans are definitely getting it right. Their starter menu is decidedly Southern-inspired, with plenty of meat (veggies, don’t be alarmed, they still have plenty for you!) that’s slow cooked in incredible rubs and spirits.
Next up was our main course, and after seeing and hearing so many wonderful things about the infamous Lola Jeans ‘Signature Steak Platter’, there was no debate about what we were ordering. Served with toasted pittas, salad, red onion chutney and thrice-cooked chips, the steak is cooked any way you want it and is handily, already sliced. I went for medium-rare and was pleasantly surprised that it was, in fact, medium rare. Again, value for money and quality are at the forefront here, and for a very reasonable £12.95, it’s a helluva lot of food. My friend and I were both absolutely defeated by the end of it.
The steak was tender and juicy, the accompanying sauces were cool and fresh and the chips perfectly seasoned. The pittas didn’t even get a look in, but I’m sure, had I had the room, they would have been a welcome addition to an already brilliant dinner.
I visited the venue again a few weeks later and opted for the hot wings (what else) to start, then the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich (£8.95) for main. Dripping in steak (a little on the well done side for my liking) and roasted peppers, onions and melted cheese, it is an absolute calorie-fest, and not one I’m sure I would get again. Now I know the steak board is on the menu and as good as it is, I don’t see the need to deviate. I have however, noticed that burgers have been added to the menu, and if pictures on Instagram are anything to go by, they need to be served with a PG warning. Explicit.
I also ordered the spiciest (and most delicious) Bloody Mary I’ve ever had, which wasn’t on the menu, but they knocked one up anyway. Canny.
A few things worth mentioning…
The crockery is lovely, think vintage china cups and saucers and ornate plates (I’m into crockery and it’s all in the little details!), the music policy is, on occasion, questionable (we were forced to endure some sort of acid house on our second visit), the staff are a real joy and in summary, I think they’ve got a really good thing going on. It’s the kind of place I’d happily take my Mam for lunch and know she won’t feel old (she’s not, but you know what Mams are like!) or out of place, but equally somewhere the girls and I could go for late dinner and cocktails.
I also noticed quite a few couples in there, as the lighting and general decor makes for quite the decadently cool date spot. There are plenty of cosy little tables for two, then space for bigger groups and a basement area downstairs, which wasn’t open the first time I visited.
So get yourself there, order the steak platter, sink some delicious cocktails and kick back in the coolest new venue on the block: Lola Jeans Newcastle.
You can find Lola Jeans Newcastle at 1-3 Market Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 6JE. Check out their Facebook page to peruse the menu and view photos of delicious scran posted by other users to tempt you in. New website coming soon!
Photos: Thanks to the lush Ben Hughes of 44Creative for the internal Lola Jeans Newcastle snaps. The ones of the scran are all mine.