BRANCHES RESTAURANT & GRILL, PONTELAND

A cool and contemporary hang-out on the town's main street

Hang out
A chic little hang-out in Ponteland’s main street. Get dressed up and come here for an evening meal, or pop in for midday cocktails at the bar if you fancy it. It’s an opulent space – you feel a little cooler just by being here – and yet the vibe is as chilled-out as can be. A good mix of twenty-somethings, families and older couples toasting to the weekend.

Decked out
The decor is cool and contemporary; crisp white interiors and furniture against red brick walls, funky Mediterranean-style tiles, plush taupe booths and lots of shimmering champagne buckets and silverware. This is a place for bubbles and celebrations. Ooh and aah at the oh-so-pretty white blossom trees – a lovely touch indeed.

Sip
Vino and beer from all over the world, plus an impressive menu of cocktails and good quality gin. Try the Elderflower Spritz (£7.45) for a refreshing kick of summery flavour (the warm weather isn’t over yet!) or their dessert cocktails, with yummy chocolate and nut liqueurs and butterscotch syrups, for something sweeter post-meal. 

Food matters
We were greeted with a shorter version of the online menu – three courses for £19.95. Choices were a little limited for our liking, but it still managed to cover all bases; something for the meat-eaters, something for vegetarians and two nice salmon options.

We ate
A steaming bowl of curried carrot and coconut soup for starters and something a bit different. It arrived creamy and silky smooth, but a little thicker – and milder – than we’d hoped. Served with crisp rosemary focaccia for dunking (we say go for it). The beetroot and goats curd salad offered plenty of fresh, tangy flavour and soft, melt-in-the-mouth texture. Lovely this time of year. For mains, it was meat all the way; corn-fed chicken with sweet potato cream, crunchy veggies and a rich jus-like gravy, and a sophisticated double cheeseburger (melty gruyere cheese, smoky streaky bacon and house sauces and gherkins), encased in a grilled brioche bun. Lick-your-lips good. Desserts were sublime; a slice of chocolate and hazelnut cheesecake with salted caramel and praline ice-cream and a zingy lemon crème brûlée with fluffy meringue. We’ll be visiting again.

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