Friday, January 31, 2020

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle

Disclosure - AD We were guest of Harissa Kitchen. They have no editorial control over this post.

You will find Harissa Kitchen in the suburbs of Newcastle on Starbeck Road in Sandyford (just along from Scream for Pizza). There is ample parking in the surrounding streets (mostly free and un-restricted after 5:30pm) and you can easily walk here from the city centre too. At time of writing, they are open 5pm-10:30pm Tuesday-Saturday. 

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle

We visited with the kids on the way home from axe throwing (yes very random) in Newcastle City Centre and it was the perfect spot to stop off for dinner away from the hustle and bustle of the centre but still super close so it was not inconvenient to get to. Families are very welcome here and it is definitely the kind of restaurant we love taking our kids to - Harissa has a laid back and chilled vibe with outstanding service and delicious food. It ticks all of the boxes. 

We decided to order Mezze and share. This is a brilliant way to encourage kids to try something new and you don't waste your money as they are small plates. I was forced to order Harry his own personal Calamari though as apparently, it was too good for him to share! This particular squid was landed in Amble which was good to know.

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - menu

There are lots of reasons I loved our family night at Harissa Kitchen so rather than a straight review, I thought I would share 10 reasons to visit instead. Let's jump in.....

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle 

1 - Local Food & Drinks 

The dishes at Harissa are inspired by Eastern Med and North African cuisines and given a local twist by using local producers which is something the kitchen is passionate about. Expect lamb and seafood from Northumberland, the very best vegetables from Ken Holland and local cheeses made with brown ale.

I love that this follows through with the drinks menu too. The kids were rather bemused that they couldn't order their usual Pepsi or Coke and instead were given the option of cola which is made right here in Newcastle. How fab is that!

I have a real soft spot for anything to do with Marlish Farm as I used to visit there on school trips when I was little and have vivid memories of watching a lamb being born. This is the first time I tried their Sparkling Water with Sicilian Lemon and I absolutely loved it. I much preferred it to regular lemonade and I am going to try and see where I can get my hands on some for home now. It is sugar-free too. Oh and if you fancy a coffee, it is courtesy of local favourite Pink Lane Coffee.

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - Marlish water

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - 40 Kola

2 - The Halloumi 

So many people I know are absolutely obsessed with Halloumi. I have tried it at our local Greek restaurant a few times and just never saw the appeal. It was just like tasteless rubber and I had no idea why people loved it so much.

I decided to give it one last try and ordered Halloumi as part of our mezze and oh my word, it was another level! It turns out, I have never had properly cooked Halloumi before and after chatting with the staff, we reckon the places I have tried it before have probably overcooked it. The Halloumi was my favourite dish from the whole meal and considering I didn't really like it before, that is some turn around. Give it a go and you won't regret it.

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - halloumi

3 - Perfect for dining with Vegetarians & Meat Eaters 

Heidi has been a Vegetarian for 18 months now whereas our two boys are huge meat-eaters. Most restaurants cater for Vegetarians these days (there has only been one restaurant where I wasn't happy with the choices ie a plate of chips) but the kids vegetarian option is nearly always pasta or pizza.

One thing I really love about Harissa is that they create imaginative Vegetarian dishes as well as meat & seafood dishes and cater for everyone. It was lovely that Heidi could dig into pitta breads and hummus/halloumi cheeses/salads and the whole experience really felt more inclusive than normal.

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - hummus

Equally, the boys loved that lamb featured heavily on the menu and there wasn't a clean plate left in the house.

All of the dishes we tried were well thought out, beautifully presented and packed with flavour. Harissa Kitchen has recently been listed in the Good Food Guide 2020 so you don't need to just take my word for it.

4 - The Wonderful Staff 

The staff at Harissa are some of the nicest I have ever encountered. They were so on the ball, really knowledgable about the dishes they were serving, included the kids/chatted with them and you can tell they are really passionate about working here. Definitely a dream team.

Harissa was founded by Jamie Sadler who studied Food and Nutrition at Newcastle University and is an enthusiastic advocate for good food and the North. 

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - dining area

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - Northumberland lamb

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - pizza bread

5 - The Specials Board 

One of my pet peeves in life is restaurants who do not have a specials board. I am sure this is why so many chain restaurants fail. A specials board gives the chef a chance to be super creative with something a little different their supplier may suggest and is a reason to go back to the same place time and time again as you know there will always be something new to try.

Steve and the boys thoroughly enjoyed a mushroom dish from the specials and want to mention that it should become part of the main menu. 

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - king prawns

6 - Chips & Cheese Fondue 

I 100% believe there is a gap in the market for a cheese fondue restaurant in Newcastle. Hardly anywhere serves it and it is one of my all-time favourite treats. I was delighted to see a cheeky little take on cheesy chips and had to order chips and fondue. I can confirm it was lush.

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - chips and fondue

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - mezze to share

7 - Their Fantastic Offers 

Harissa Kitchen runs regular special offers. For example if you have a January birthday, you can enjoy a main course for free in January. They also offer 20% student discount before 6:30pm and you will be provided with free Falafel with any drink purchased before 6:30pm which is perfect for after-work drinks.

Keep an eye on the Harissa Kitchen Facebook page for more offers. 

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - pitta bread and hummus

8 - High Sustainability 

Harissa Kitchen has been awarded 3* by the Sustainable Restaurant Association. 3* is the highest grading you can receive and Harissa is the only restaurant in Newcastle to achieve this. The Sustainable Restaurant Association aim to accelerate change towards an environmentally restorative and socially progressive hospitality sector in the UK and recognise all of the work Harissa do to help achieve this.  

9 - The Desserts

Check Jack out below - he spotted the dessert board straight away and kept checking that Sticky Toffee Pudding was still there throughout our Mezze.

Desserts at Harissa Kitchen are definitely not an afterthought. They are all homemade and with the same attention to detail that is given on the main menu.

We shared a few and the Sticky Toffee Pudding was a winner. Jack raved about the sauce it was served with and said it was the best part (I agree - very morish). In recent years, I have found desserts to be on the expensive side in a fair few restaurants. Often you are talking £7-£9 these days. When there are 5 of you, this can add a lot to the bill.

I am pleased to say that at Harissa, desserts all sat around the £5. The are pretty large portions so we happily shared three between us. An extra £15 for a delicious sweet treat was definitely worth the indulgence.

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - sticky toffee pudding

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - orange cheesecake

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle  - profiteroles

10 - Social Enterprise  

The profits from Harissa fuel Food Nation which is a Social Enterprise in Newcastle. Their aim is to inspire people about good food via innovative food education activities to the public, in schools and with local businesses. They have loads going on such as a free teen cookery school, family cook-a-longs, work placements for students, food clubs for kids, carers and those recovering from addiction and so much more.

When you dine at Harissa, you are making a real difference to the local community through Food Nation.

10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle

I wasn't asked to write this blog post but I really want to spread the word about Harissa and how lovely it is. I hope I have maybe inspired you to give them a visit soon.

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10 Reasons to Visit Harissa Kitchen, Newcastle


1 comment

  1. Looks very appetising, thanks for sharing. We may visit it in the future x


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