Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Hop and Cleaver Newcastle

Down along Newcastle's Quayside you'll find an abundance of restaurants, bars and places to wet your whistle in the northern sunshine. But if your after a place where the meat comes quick and the booze comes easy, then none of them quite compare to that of Hop and Cleaver. This new bar and eatery is offering up all things meat and beer... cue the meat sweats and food comas all around. Everything is done in-house, from smoking their own meats to brewing their own craft beers. But if you're not a beer fan then don't fret. They also offer boozy cocktails and hard milkshakes which will will curb any sweet tooth. Seriously, what's not to love?

The restaurant sits slightly set back from the Quayside within an old Jacobean period building which dates back to the early 17th century. The vintage charm from the outside of the building carriers through to the inside decor with it's rustic charm style. The restaurant holds two main dining areas plus the large 'tap room' separating the two. It also holds a lovely little outdoor courtyard, perfect for sampling their boozy menu during the summer months. The restaurant plays towards the barn like theme with large wooden beams, exposed stone and brick work and metal clad lamp fills the dining rooms. Wooden furniture and large beer barrels also give the sense of a indecent brewery, which is essence is what this place is. At the back of the restaurant you can actually see where the brewing of their own beers takes place is the huge kettles. The place just feels like the sort of place you'd like to be on a cold night with the in front of a warm fire. Very hearty and rustic, somewhat like the food I was expecting to eat.

It was then time to make the tricky choice of what to drink and eat. Now me an my Mum aren't the biggest of cask ale drinkers so my Mummy went for a standard glass of the vino as she had to drive back to Leeds but I thought I'd try on of their slightly harder drinks. I opted for the Frozen Bramble, a slushy made from Tanqueray gin, lemon juice, gomme and a scoop of lemon sorbet. All that is then blended up and topped with a crème de mure sauce and frozen blackberries.... Oh my days I literally could have drunk my weight in these. If you like fruity, boozy, creamy drinks then this is the perfect slushy cocktail for you.

Once sipping away on my boozy Frozen Bramble it was time to decide what meat we fancied.  There's so many different options for eats at Hop and Cleaver and there's some really interesting items on the menu too like the apple and onion fritter for starts, I mean how good does that sound? The main course come in four different styles: crates, plates, bread and feast. For crates your looking at loose, shredded meat with sides while plates are more salads and regular steaks. Breads are burgers and feasts are giant portions made for sharing, unless you can managed their Tomahawk Steak feast made up of £59 worth of meat all by yourself.

My Mum decided to go for the Brisket Brawler, a smokey pulled beef brisket burger with pickled cabbage, coriander, BBQ ketchup and ball park mustard all served on a fresh brioche bun with a side of skin-on fries. While I, feeling like I should do the menu justice decided to pig out on the 14 hour chopped brisket crate. We're talking beef brisket that's slow-smoked for 14 hours, rested and chopped before being finished with a BBQ gravy, oh lord. All served on top of Texas toast with butter pickles and a choice of two sides so I opted for the sweet potato fries and the mac & cheese. Talk about a feast!

The meat was literally to die for, it was so juicy and tender and all with a delicious smokey flavour. All Hop and Cleaver's meat are smoked on their imported BBQ grills from Oklahoma, you know its true BBQ when their taking tips from the south. Especially when they smoke over hickory chips to give it that delicious flavour. All their meat is from local food suppliers, keeping the milage low but the quality oh so high. You can taste in every bite that this place doesn't mess around when it comes to its meat.

And while the meat is the star here, those side don't go unnoticed. That Texas toast was something else, so crunchy and perfect to soak up all the BBQ gravy, mmm. The mac & cheese was so creamy and everything thats good about real hearty, carby pasta and both sets of fries were delicious. There's literally nothing I love more than good chips and could of eaten bowls of these for days.

I could literally rave about this meal all day, delicious food and boozy summer cocktail slushys mmm. The rustic decor, lively atmosphere and hearty food has the ability to transport you to the deep south where you know they don't play when it comes to their meats. I've only heard rave reviews about Hop and Cleaver and now I definitely understand why, but come with caution as meat sweats will definitely occur. So if you like your meat tender, your carbs by the pound and your milkshakes a little boozy then this a place that you cannot afford to miss!

Have you tried Hop and Cleaver? Do you love BBQ as much as me? Meat, beer or boozy cocktails?
Let me know in the comments below.

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