Combining sleek, moody interiors with Brasserie-style plates and good-looking booze, Babucho is one of Newcastle’s shiniest, most sophisticated bars and restaurants. It’s nestled on the doorstep of the city’s revamped and again-trendy Quayside, making it the perfect pre-party pitstop for hungry party people wanting to dine in style. It reminds us of a trendy New York late bar.
Its mix of devilishly dark decor and slinky interiors is one of its best features – it looks (and feels) effortlessly luxurious. The lounge area, with its black velvet chairs, intimate booth seating, twinkling tea lights and long bar, is always comfortably packed at the weekends – a place where the city’s movers and shakers meet and mingle over fizzy cocktails, good quality spirits and more. The restaurant itself oozes low-lit glamour – a stylish mix of cream seating, dark mahogany tables and black curtains.
Like any cool lounge bar, its drinks offering is top-notch. An impressive blend of unique, fun cocktails, created by a team of highly-skilled and passionate mixologists, and rare spirits, beers and ales from all over the globe. In place of G&TS, we tried something a little girly and fizzier in the form of two ‘Rhubarb Frost’ cocktails. Order these if you like your bubbles – and lots of them. They arrived the size of mini fishbowls (just what you need after a long week) and reminiscent of sangria – full of juicy red fruit, light and sweet. So good, we had a few more post-dessert!
Go here for authentic Italian flavour; fresh, high quality meats and fish, gourmet wood-fired pizzas and authentic and unique pasta dishes, all made with local ingredients where possible. And there’s something for everyone – kids, evening diners, Sunday scoffers, gluten-free foodies and now healthy eaters, thanks to the restaurant’s new ‘healthier choices’ menu. Developed in association with Model Health Performance, this nutritional menu offers health-conscious diners a tasty selection of high-protein, low-carb and paleo dishes to help keep you on track when eating out. Dieting can often take the fun out of eating out, but these carefully-chosen dishes mean you can still enjoy a filling and satisfying meal – they still pack a punch flavour-wise and plate-size is spot on. No children’s portions or boring salads here!
What we ate
To start, we shared a plate of king prawns (£7.50) – big, plump things, oven-roasted so they were nice and charred on the outside, but wonderfully fluffy when split open, and drizzled in a light, buttery chilli dressing to perk up the tastebuds. We went for the roast mushrooms (£6.50), too, which arrived as big as our palm, studded with small wedges of tangy, oozy goats cheese and garnished with peppery rocket and a few spoonfuls of vibrant-green, nutty pesto. Inspired by the fishy goodness our starter gave, for mains we opted for the salmon (£14.95) – an old favourite that, more often than not, we can’t say no to when dining out. The good-sized fillet was a thing of beauty; fresh-as-can-be, gently baked for flaky, juicy baby-pink flesh, with crispy (but easy to remove) skin. It was joined by plenty of snappy green veg (the tenderstem broccoli was my favourite), smoky chorizo nuggets and a sprinkling of chilli flakes for a gentle injection of heat. Our pal, a vegetarian, went for the caprese salad – a big portion to make sure they left with a full belly. It was a winner, marrying giant, creamy splodges of mozzarella, sweet vine plum tomatoes and a generous helping of fresh, garlicky pesto. Desserts weren’t needed – and many healthy-eaters/dieters will say no anyway – but we just had to give them a try (it’s a hard job, we know). A few frosty scoops of sorbet is all you’re offered and you can choose between classic lemon and Amaretto cherry, both fat-free, low in calories and served with ‘healthy’ biscotti. We had a scoop of each – both wonderfully tart, with a light, snow-like texture. Yum. Overall, a great meal – so tasty and well executed, you’ll forget everything served is on the healthy side. We’ll be back for sure.