I knew I was pretty damn over-excited about going to The Redhouse when the first thing I tweeted upon waking that morning was “PIES! PIES! PIES! PIES! PIES!” (yes, really). The Quayside’s newest addition is paying homage to good old British pie, giving us a stream-lined menu that screams good old comfort food.
The concept is simple but brilliant: choose from six handmade pies, three types of mashed potato, three varieties of peas and three delicious gravy concoctions. Their pies are of course, the headline act here, hailing from Amble Butchers and filled with succulent Northumberland-reared meat. They offer a veggie option too, which I hasten to add looked very good (I managed to sneak a peek of one on a neighbouring plate).
I opted for the classic Steak Pie, with three herb mash, mushy peas and home-made meat gravy (or ‘liquor’, as they like to call it). We visited on a Monday night so bagged all of this, plus a pint (well, a wine for me) for only £7.99 as part of the Monday Pie And Pint Night deal. Portion sizes are generous; with a good-sized butcher’s pie, a huge dollop of mash and a cute little branded paper cup full of mushy peas. Gravy however, was a bit scarce. I had to ask for an extra jug of gravy, but then again I would drink the stuff if I could so this is definitely not a negative point and the staff were more than happy to accommodate.
The pies are exactly what I’d hoped for. Deep-filled, full of gloriously tender meat and encased in a flaky yet sturdy pastry. These pies mean business. The mash was super creamy and you could actually taste the herbs in it… Often I find that some pubs/restaurants pile so much milk and butter in that that’s all I can taste, not the case here.
A friend recommended I chuck some chilli vinegar in with the peas, so I did and went overboard a little bit. My peas certainly packed a punch after that, so beware of this! The gravy was damn tasty and a great consistency. My friend picked the Chicken, Gammon & Leek pie with Parmesan & Extra Virgin Olive Oil mash, mushy peas and the Traditional Parsley Liquor. All extremely good too, but the mash was a bit sickly for my taste and my steak pie definitely won the “Who got the best pie competition” (which we definitely didn’t play, by the way).
I’m not into ales, and yes, I realise I’ve missed out on a Redhouse charm, but truly, I just don’t do beers or ales. I’ve been told however, their selection is stellar (from a real ale-lover pal of mine, so it’s like, definitely true) and features award-winning international offerings such as AleSmith Grand Cru, Camden Town, Brooklyn, Tyne Bank Silver Dollar, Mordue Five Bridges and Thornbridge, with many more up their sleeve for the coming months. If you aren’t into pies (are you mad?!) then I would still recommend this cosy joint for some after-work supping.
Their interior designers have gone for the old-fashioned vibe, think beams, stone walls, meandering corridors with almost-hidden rooms, wall-mounted beer barrels and a good dose of dim lighting. Their custom “Made with Love” neons at the bar are a nice touch and the fact they’ve turned what was two old pubs in such disrepute into this is quite something. You really can’t fault them. The window seats are snapped up straight away, so I would suggest reserving in advance if you want to enjoy your traditional fare with a good old view of the historic Quayside. It’s worth mentioning also that the Redhouse is now owned by the people who brought us Lady Grey’s on Shakespeare Street, as well as the newest addition; High Bridge’s Pleased To Meet You.
For serious pie fiends, there’s the Man vs. Pie challenge, giving punters the chance to have their name on the Pie Shield if they manage to consume a ‘man-sized’ (tut tut!) Pie Platter in under 10 minutes. There’s also the 2 For A Tenner offer every Wednesday between 4pm and 9pm, and the Monday Pie And Pint Night which is unbelievable value. Areas can be reserved for large parties too and I attended a good friend’s birthday party here not so long ago and we had the entire back area to ourselves.
So, does it have staying power? I think that as long as they stick to their guns on the slimmed-down menu and keep the specialty pies and ales coming, The Redhouse has great potential to really go the distance. Prices are inarguably very reasonable and staff have clearly been trained to a high-standard. The Ask them questions about the stock, the cuts of meat used in the pies, their pick of the ale and they’ll happily divulge. I’ve encouraged friends and family to pay a visit and not one has left unimpressed. You just can’t argue with a good pie.
For more information, check out their website or follow them on Twitter (@TheRedhouseNCL) for updates including details of offers and their “guest pies”.