I LIVED in Gateshead for a big chunk of my childhood. It’s a proud town with a rich history.
But let’s be honest – it’s never been that great for fine dining.
The high point of my eating-out experience would have been meat and two veg with my parents at the Civic Café, just off the High Street, in 1974.
Fast forward three and a half decades, times have changed and the town is enjoying a welcome renaissance.
Just up the bank from that glittering trio of new millennium attractions – the bridge, the Sage and the Baltic – sits Raval, an Indian restaurant with a growing reputation as one of the most forward-thinking in Britain.
But first off, my other half and I prefaced our meal with a beer or two at the Central – a fantastic, old pub, bursting with character, currently being refurbished just opposite the Raval on the south side of the Tyne Bridge.
Once inside, it almost feels like you’re stepping back in time to have a pint, and its dowdy drinking rooms would surely have a thousand stories to tell.
Incidentally, it sells fantastic real ales.
The Raval, which opened in 2007, is spacious, stylish and comfortable and, through the long floor-to-ceiling windows, there are spectacular views of the Tyne Bridge and the illuminated Newcastle cityscape.
The staff are, at once, friendly and professional, without being in your face.
As you take your seat, you can see the chefs, some from India’s best five-star hotels, through a glass panel hard at work in the kitchen.
Read the full review at the Evening Chronicle