Buddha Lounge, Tynemouth.
Housed within an old church, it’s a large space, split over two floors, with lovely high ceilings and colour everywhere. A grand, golden Buddha watches over you from above, red sparkling chandeliers bathe the restaurant in ambient light and a shining yellow blossom tree takes centre stage in the middle of the ground floor. Sleek mahogany booths and seating.
All your usual beer and wine, plus a varied offering of unique cocktails, lagers and whiskeys with Asian twists. We opted for traditional cup of ‘sake’ – sweet Japanese rice wine. Mates can order jugs of the stuff – a bit like an Asian-style pitcher.
The menu’s split into two small plates and mains plates, meaning diners can either mix it up and have small nibbles first, followed by one hearty dish to fill you up, or go tapas-style and order as many picky bits as you fancy. Larger plates can be ordered as sharing dishes. Flavour-wise, you’re looking at a mix of sophisticated sushi, posh rice and noodle bowls, dinky dim sum and traditional Asian dishes for large and small appetites. If you love a taste of the orient, you’re in good hands.
We visited with a few chums one Saturday evening and sharing was the aim of the game – a mix of tender teriyaki beef skewers smothered in a sticky-sweet glaze with a nice honey hue running through it, crispy duck spring rolls, which brought together flaky, melt-in-the-mouth meat encased in a golden brown, non-oily casing and as basket of curly chilli salt quid which provided just enough fire for a kick on the back of the tongue – just lovely. A few mates went for sushi; the tuna mayo maki went down a storm. Think six, plump and perfectly-rolled rolls filled with raw tuna sashimi, creamy Asian mayo and a drizzle of wasabi dressing. These tasted – and looked – really indulgent and our mate wished they ordered a few helpings as a main. Always a good sign. Side-wise, lots of sticky rice (who can say no?) and a couple of spoonfuls of Asian greens hit the spot.