Restaurant openings on Newcastle’s Grey Street don’t happen often, but when they do, they usually stir up quite a buzz. There’s just something about dining out on the city’s most beautiful street isn’t there? But it isn’t just the location that excites us about The Muddler. Although on the small side, the newborn bar-and-restaurant is a fabulous all-rounder, ticking boxes across the board for mouthwatering cuisine, show-stopping cocktails and dreamy decor and interiors. It screams luxury – what’s not to love?
Low-lit, dark, deep colours, moody atmosphere (but in the good way), very sleek. Sure, you can visit for lunch, but we think it’s the perfect place for dining after dark, whether on a mid-week date night with your other half, or with your pals at the weekend. It’s somewhere to celebrate for sure – soak in the Great Gatsby vibes (we love the gold and black decor – and the New York-style bar is all kinds of gorgeous) and get toasting under the twinkling chandeliers.
There are a dozen cocktails on offer, some classic, others with an Asian twist and some totally unique. Gin fans who like things sweet will love Rose In The Mist (£9), which muddles Jinzu gin with rose, strawberry and mint. The bar’s clever mixologists, somehow, make it bubble and smoke before your eyes too – very Instagrammable. Our pal tried the Zen Garden (£9), made with Roku gin, lemongrass and cucumber foam. Super refreshing on a balmy spring night. There’s also all your usual sprits and mixers on offer, too, along with wine, fizz, draught beer and bottles and cans. If you’re in the mood for after-dinner tipples, try the Pistachio Milk cocktail (£8.50), an Espresso Tonic (£8.50) or Popcorn Old Fashioned (£9), made with popcorn bourbon, chocolate bitters and toffee popcorn.
Pan-Asian goodness at its best. Non-fussy, authentic and packed with lip-smackingly good flavour – the kind that kicks your tastebuds in their rear.
What we ate
To start, we said yes to sushi, ordering a mix of fish and veggie loveliness; Perfect Match (salmon, avocado, mayo and pearly fish roe) and spicy Tuna and Avocado rolls. Both £6, fresh-as-can-be and addictive. Next time we’ll try a mixed platter (£20). We paired our sushi picks with two small plates; chicken katsu (£6.50) and king prawns (£7). Coated in panko breadcrumbs, the meat was tender and drizzled in soy. Best dunked into the fiery mayo (you’re given a small pot) for an explosion of sweet-and-spicy flavour, we say. The prawns, meanwhile, arrived on skewers, juicy and plump and cooked with lime, lemongrass, garlic, chilli and sesame. Classic Asian flavours that wake up and refresh the palate. Mains were a total triumph; good, hearty portions (Asian-style plates can be disappointingly small, but not here), beautifully-presented and just, well, delicious. While our pal tucked into beef fillet (£16), gently marinated with coriander, saki, mirin and sesame ’til juicy and melt-in-the-mouth, we devoured the salmon in miso (£16). You get a good-sized fillet, pan-fried for a crispy skin and tender belly of flesh, soaked in plenty of umami-rich miso dressing and joined by a mix of crunchy Asian veg. We could’ve done with some rice, too, but our friend’s portion of fluffy goodness was big enough for two. We added some soy to the mix and the result was nothing short of special.