LOLA JEANS, TYNEMOUTH

Lola Jeans proves healthy eating doesn't have to be boring. We check out the restaurant's recently-launched 'Keep it Clean' menu...

Hang out

A trendy bar and restaurant where the village’s wave-riders stop by for surf ‘n’ turf, groups of chums, old and young, call in for meaty sharing platters (for which the place is famed), and ladies-who-lunch enjoy a cocktail or two – easily some of the best you’ll knock back in Tynemouth. Its laid-back vibe is infectious, especially during the day, when it’s considerably more mellow and less crowded. The staff here are young, trendy things and know their stuff when it comes to the drink; tell them what you like and they’ll be happy to point you in the right direction, or make something up there and then. An unpretentious place that may be overlooked when it comes to food, but give it a chance – we know you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Its treats are just as good as its tipples.

Decked out

Mismatched decor; a bit shabby-chic, with a bit of a vintage feel. The bar’s made out of scuffed chest of drawers, there’s a marble fireplace, a twinkling chandelier and 80s-style floor lamps and a surfboard stuck to the wall. Diners sink into brown leather arm chairs, perch on stools and kick-back in booths, and there are plenty of wooden seats kicking about, made with velvet, Paisley-printed seat covers – the kind your nan might’ve had. But it all works. The lighting is low and moody when the sun isn’t streaming through the airy glass ceiling. We like.

Sip

The bar revealed it was launching a revamped drinks and cocktail menu the day after our visit, so we missed out on trying anything new, but pals of ours, all locals, have already given it their stamp of approval. The bar is well-stocked with every bottle you can think of – tons of gins from around the globe, heady rums and brandy, vodkas spiked with citrus and inventive liqueurs to bring cocktails to life. The mix of North East-inspired drinks add the fun-factor.

Food matters

The main menu covers all bases – and really well, too. Order a few American-inspired appetisers to share – things like Philly cheese steak spring rolls, cauliflower buffalo bites and bean chilli tortillas – or tuck into a gourmet sarnie or two. The baja fish tacos are an all-time favourite, as are the BBQ sharing platters. Choose from steak, chicken, fish, or surf ‘n’ turf – all of which are served on chunky wooden boards, with wedge-sized chips, salads, warm pitta and pots of homemade dips for dunking. They do cracking burgers, too; handmade patties that might be encased in garlic butter brioche or stuffed with smoked salt beef, prime rump steak, pickle chips or blue cheese mayo. This time, though, it was all about the restaurant’s new ‘Keep it Clean’ menu, which sits alongside its every day foodie offering. All dishes are gluten and dairy-free and serve up a healthy balance of protein, fats and carbs. They’re even recognised by the popular MyFitnessPal app, which will no doubt please the waistline-watchers and gym bunnies.

What we ate

Two ‘superfood’ salads (£10.95) with our choice of protein to bulk things up a bit. We loved that, instead of a bowl of leaves, we were treated to a colourful, deconstructed salad of shredded spinach, beetroot, red chilli, spring onions, tossed in with a generous portion of fluffy quinoa and a good squeeze of lime for some zing. Crisp, tenderstem broccoli also came on the side – a welcome surprise. We opted for a salmon fillet (though you can go for grilled chicken or steak), which arrived baby pink and perfectly juicy, while our dining buddy – a veggie – chose good-sized, salty nuggets of halloumi. The pots of sun-dried tomato hummus were a must and a total taste sensation – thick, nubbly and packed with smoky, earthy flavour. Eager to discover how much flavour they’d deliver (if any), we shared the ‘lettuce wraps’ (£10.95). Again, you choose your protein (this time we went for chicken), which is then wrapped in crisp baby gem, drizzled with a light tomato and chilli dressing. Really tasty – and a good choice if you aren’t feeling all that peckish. We bulked ours up by spoonfuls of sweet potato mash (£3.50) – probably the best we’ve tasted. Creamy and well-seasoned, it tasted like an indulgent treat, and you could tell it was homemade – not from a pierce-with-film-lid container. Overall, we couldn’t fault the meal; perfectly-sized portions (we didn’t leave feeling over-fed and stuffed) and every dish was packed with colour, flavour and flair – so much so, you forgot you were tucking into good-for-you grub. Proof that healthy food doesn’t have to be bland or boring. We’ll be back for sure.


lolajeans.co.uk

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