Poetic License Bar – Roker, Tyne and Wear

Poetic License Bar, in the Best Western Roker Hotel, is situated on the rugged North Sea coast at Roker.

It’s part of Tavistock Hospitality group so you’re guaranteed some very tasty, locally produced drinks –  craft beers from Sonnet 43 brewhouse and craft gins from Poetic License distillery.


All Photos-489
Poetic License Bar – ‘Distillery bar and soul food’


Having been for a walk along the rugged, exposed coast to Camels Island first, we’d worked up a thirst and an appetite.

All Photos-474

The Poetic License Bar is in the Best Western Roker Hotel . We passed the botanical garden on the way in, which looked really appealing with its chunky log wall.

All Photos-478

Botanical garden – nice log wall


These craft gins from Poetic License (the distillery is at the bar – handy!) are already winning awards, less than a year after launching: Old Tom Gin and Northern Dry Gin. They make a perfect gift for all the special gin lovers out there, no?


All Photos-479

Poetic License – perfect serves


At £3.75 a single or £5.75 a double, the three ‘perfect serves’ pictured above are:

left: Old Tom with Fevertree premium ginger ale, cinnamon and red apple – my favourite (nice and dry, I loved the flavours of ginger and cinnamon spice)

centre: Northern Dry with Fevertree premium Indian tonic water and pink grapefruit

right: Picnic gin strawberries and cream flavoured gin with a Fevertree elderflower tonic water and fresh strawberries (sounds sickly but it wasn’t)


Service was slow and a bit blasé. It took well over an hour for our food to arrive. But we were happy to keep trying out more gins…


All Photos-485

Blue cheese and walnut salad with grapes and chicory @ £9.95 – slightly sickly and creamy (just as it looks)


All Photos-487

New York style Reuben burger – 8oz beef burger with pastrami, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing @ £9.45

Also served with lettuce, tomato, mayo and dill pickle in a brioche bun with skin-on fries and house slaw. Good value for such a filling meal, and great quality beef burger.


All Photos-488

Look at the size of that – get your chops around this. If you can.



The verdict: Excellent range of drinks. Skip the salads and go straight for a burger. And check out the website for theme nights and promos.


Restaurant info:
– Lardbutty rating: 3.5 / 5
– Type: Pub, British
– Address: Roker Hotel, Roker Terrace, Roker, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear
– Postcode: SR6 9ND
– Nearest metro stations: Stadium of Light, Seaburn
– Website + menus: Poetic License Bar website
– Photos on flickr: Poetic License Bar images
– Location: Poetic License Bar map


Orangegrass – first Thai in South Shields

“Proud to be the first and only Thai restaurant in South Shields”

Situated in a residential area and semi-industrial park, Orangegrass doesn’t look like it’s up to much from outside. And it’s not in Shields’ town centre so it would be easy to miss.

Tofu pud ped – Tofu red Thai curry (top), Gaeng mussaman, Gaeng kiew wan gai (green chicken curry)

But step inside the entrance of 7 Mount Terrace (it has the appearance of a community hall) and head straight upstairs to the pristine restaurant, where polite staff in smart Thai traditional silk outfits are waiting to greet you.

IMG_9346 Pristine interior

The restaurant is an appealing, high-ceilinged capacious room split into different sections. And on our visit last night we were thoroughly well looked after by our server.

There’s a great wine list too. We homed in on a bottle of Opal Ridge Gewurztraminer Verdelho 2013 (assuming this would go well with spicy food, which it did) while contemplating the food choices.

For starters the four of us shared:
01. prawn crackers @ £2.50
02. Gai satay @ £4.95 – charcoal grilled, spiced chicken with peanut sauce
03. tord mun pha @ £4.95 – Thai style fishcakes
04. phak tord @ £4.75 – crispy battered vegetables with chilli sauce
05. tom kha gai @ £4.95 – chicken soup with coconut milk, galangal, mushroom, lemongrass etc

IMG_9336 02. Gai satay – charcoal grilled chicken with peanut sauce

03. Tord mun pha – fishcakes

IMG_9338 04. Phak tord – crispy battered vegetables

05. Tom kha gai – creamy, spicy Thai soup

For our main course we shared: 06. Gaeng kiew wan gai @ £7.95 – green curry with chicken, aubergines, sweet basil 07. neua daad diew @ £8.50 – stir fried marinated beef with black pepper, oyster + dark sauce 08. tofu pud ped @ £6.95 – red curry 09. talay pud cha @ £11.95 – stir fried mixed seafood with ginger, aubergines, lemongrass etc in an aromatic sauce

06. Gaeng kiew wan gai – green curry with chicken

IMG_9340 07. Neua daad diew – beef with oyster sauce

08 and 09.Talay pud cha + tofu pud ped – seafood dish (near) + red curry with tofu (middle)

IMG_3100b_Orangegrass menu_001 Menu The verdict: totally impressed. I’m already looking forward to my next trip to South Shields. There’ll be tears if it doesn’t involve a return visit to Orangegrass.

Pub + food info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Thai
~ Address: 7 Mount Terrace, South Shields, Tyne & Wear
~ Postcode: NE33 1PN
~ e: info@orangegrassltd.co.uk
~ Website + menus: Orangegrass website
~ Images photos on flickr
~ facebook: Orangegrass on fb
~ Location: Orangegrass map

RELATED LINKS More North East dining: ~ Bistro Romano – Cleadon Village ~ Cafe Bangla – Boldon ~ Clarence Villa – home of Sonnet 43 brewhouse ~ Colman’s fish + chips – award winning chippy on Ocean Road, South Shields ~ Orangegrass – top Thai

Orangegrass on Urbanspoon

Cafe Bangla – Lardbutty ‘Jolliest Chef’ award goes to Ali Hussain – CLOSED

Since closed down

Cafe Bangla is a small tandoori restaurant in the village of East Boldon on the outskirts of South Shields, and is an unlikely – but altogether pleasing – find.

The restaurant has a feel of a large living room, with only about ten tables (probably around 50 covers). Given the spectacular contemporary cuisine, great service, and its listing in the Michelin Guide 2010, it’s not surprising that it gets booked up quickly, so do phone ahead to make a reservation.

On our visit last night (my second time here) I had dam baigan as a starter: a grilled half aubergine stuffed with vegetables and topped with yoghurt, which was perfectly cooked and served and a lovely blend of flavours.

Dam baigan (aubergine starter) @ £4.50

I opted for a fish main course (fish – as opposed to seafood – can be tricky to get right in curries, and I find it rarely travels well in deliveries as it can go overly soggy, or lose its meatiness, in transit). Here, Chef Ali Hussain’s patrani mach was a good choice – so fresh that the flavours of the fish fillet (marinated fish, steamed in foil) were still sufficiently distinct from those of the green sauce (green paste, onion, fresh herbs) while also complementing one another.

Patrani mach @ £13.90

Other dishes that our party ate, included haleem chicken (cooked with four different types of lentils and topped with ginger, onions, lemon, chilli and coriander) and Goan chicken (chicken marinated with aromatic spices, cooked with five spices, onions, peppers, tomatoes with coconut and goan chilli, and served with baby spinach).

Haleem chicken @ £8.90

Goan chicken @ £12.90

…and it was a very satisfied party!

Service from the waiting staff was good throughout but it was really topped off at the end of our dining experience (yep, I purposely wrote ‘dining experience’ rather than ‘meal’ because that’s what it was – check out the beautiful presentation of the dishes in the photos above: every aspect thoughtfully done) when Chef Ali Hussain came to chat with us.

He told us with great enthusiasm about being presented with another Curry Life ‘Curry Chef of the Year’ award in London last week.
Ali Hussain – also gets Lardbutty’s ‘Jolliest Chef’ award

For his amazing, imaginative cuisine and for being so outstandingly jolly, Lardbutty is also awarding Ali with a very special Jolliest Chef award.

Until the next time.

3 Nov 2011: according to @AliHussain01 on Twitter, Ali has been nominated for the British Curry Awards 2011

Restaurant info:
~ Lardbutty rating: 4 / 5
~ Type: Indian, tandoori
~ Address: 2 St Bedes, Station Road, East Boldon, Tyne & Wear
~ Postcode: NE36 0LE
~ Tel: 0191 519 0929
~ Nearest metro station (north-east): East Boldon
~ Website: Café Bangla website
~ Location: Café Bangla map

RELATED LINKS More North East dining: ~ Bistro Romano ~ Cafe Bangla ~ Clarence Villa – home of Sonnet 43 brewhouse ~ Colman’s fish + chips – award winning chippy on Ocean Road, South Shields ~ Orangegrass – top Thai

Café Bangla on Urbanspoon