Newcastle’s Best Independent Lunch Spots

Picture this: you’ve finally gotten your lunch break and have half an hour away from the office, or you and your other half have gone into the city centre clothes shopping. You’re hungry, probably tired and not in the mood to argue or think too hard about where you can grab some lunch. So, where do you go? There are so many places to eat and thanks to the recent new development of Eldon Square food court many food chain restaurants such as TGI Friday’s, ASK Italians and Frankie and Benny’s are open. Some smaller branded food restaurants include The Alchemist for great British food but perhaps more famous for the chemistry in the cocktails. Chaophraya is another where Thai dining on the balcony overlooks Grey’s Monument.


I often love some of the food served at these restaurant branches but it is all just the same menu no matter what city you are in. I would much prefer to go to an independent or local business for food and drinks than waste my money on something I can eat in any other city in the UK. I know that trying these independent places may not be everyone’s cup of tea as you can’t guarantee the food you are served will taste nice or even look nice. That’s why I thought it would be a great idea to share some of my favourite independent lunch spots in Newcastle.

If you’re out and about in Jesmond or have finished up your trip in town and are on the Metro home, why not stop off at 1901 Café Bistro. Located on St Georges Terrace right next to Jesmond Methodist Church. If you’re like me and have no memory for street names it is opposite Tesco and less than a 5 minute walk from West Jesmond Metro station. 1901 is known around Jesmond as the perfect place to Brunch. In the spring and summer there are tables outside next to the flower beds where customers can eat and drink as they watch the world go by (how relaxing does this already sound!?) Their lunch menu offers sandwiches and jacket potatoes where the portions are mighty and the fillings are scrummy. For the more hungry folks, burgers, chilli’s and chickpea curries are also on the menu. Personally, I have never really been one of those people who order a salad when I go out to eat (thinking I could just have made that at home for half the price) but 1901 Café Bistro changed that. It was a hot summers day a few
years ago when I didn’t really fancy anything rich the halloumi salad caught my eye as I am a big lover of this cheese. Described as a ‘mixed leaf salad with grilled halloumi, roasted peppers, quinoa and balsamic vinegar dressing‘. I was sold and what a lunch it was. Now every time I go I try to force myself to order something else off the menu but the halloumi wins every time.

A bit further along on St Georges Terrace in West Jesmond less than 2 miles from the city centre, is Fat Hippo. The restaurant in Jesmond was the original Hippo with branches expanding across the North East. If you are in the city centre of Newcastle and don’t fancy trekking the 2 miles don’t panic as there is Fat Hippo underground on Shakespeare Street. If you are unfamiliar with this Newcastle favourite it is a burger restaurant which opened in 2010 and has boomed ever since. Their lunch time menu is an absolute steal in my eyes. A burger and hand-cut chips for only £6!! Honestly, they taste incredible and I have never eaten a burger better. The set menu served from 11-4pm includes beef, chicken and even vegetarian options. My favourite is the ‘Little White Buffalo‘ burger. Buttermilk chicken fingers, buffalo hot sauce served in a brioche bun and a side of house slaw. Delicious.

So, these both sound super good right? But some of you might be thinking I often don’t want that much to eat on a lunch time. No worries, Olive and Bean have the menu for you. My friends often joke that Olive and Bean is my second home because I am always there but when I showed them the extensive menu they wanted to try it for themselves. From paninis and sandwiches to soups, salads and tasting planks, Olive and Bean have one of the best menus for lunch in Newcastle. I have two
favourites here one is the Mediterranean plank which comes with warm falafel, grilled halloumi, cheese stuffed peppers, houmous and warm flatbreads. If you are a traditionalist and want something with a slice of bread on each side I recommend the roast chicken breast panini. Filled with mature cheddar cheese, peppers and salsa on a bed of salad and homemade slaw for only 50p extra.

Finally, although there may be branches in other cities such as York and Harrogate Filmore and Union have to be on my list. With John Lewis in Newcastle centre newly opened a restaurant and one on Acorn road in Jesmond Filmore and Union can be counted as independent place to eat right? It’s not that famous yet…It is a super healthy alternative to all the typical fast food places people often grab their lunch from. Don’t let the word healthy put you off thought the food tastes delicious, I know too well when you’re trying to be good and choose a superfood lunch and it ends up tasting like grass.  My first ever time at Filmore and Union I ordered theHot Jacks’ bagel which came with pimento roasted chicken, red peppers and homemade guacamole. The flavours were amazing, I could feel the nutrition and goodness being demolished and I was kept feeling full for hours after.

So the next time you get a bit peckish why not try one of these local independent restaurants rather than a big branded name. You’ll get the home cooked flavour and the joy of helping out a family business.

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