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It had us feeling over the moon.

Byline: By Jennifer Bradbury

Romance is definitely in the air at Treacle Moon. There's loads of references to the romantic poet Lord Byron, who got married down the road at Seaham Hall.

So it was a great pity that I went with a female pal.

But never mind that. We still had an excellent evening, even if it didn't end in a proposal.

And while it's the perfect venue for couples who want to get up close and intimate, it's also a great place for friends and colleagues to get together.

Treacle Moon, tucked away near Newcastle's Quayside, has built up a enviable reputation over the years, and on this, my first visit, I can see why it's been awarded an AA rosette for excellence.

Because that's the only way to describe this place. Excellent.

It's small, about 30 covers, which adds to the intimacy, and the slightly decadent decor is warm lilac, complemented with plush velvet chairs.

It's modern and chic and the ambience is laidback but with lots of good old fashioned touches like personal service and excellent food.

We enjoyed a drink at the tiny bar before being shown to our table. One of the selling points of Treacle Moon is the fact that you can watch the hustle and bustle of life on the Quayside from the secure and laidback comfort of the restaurant.

The food here is modern British with influences from the Far East and Europe and there's vegetarian options.

There was a choice of five starters and I was sorely tempted by the risotto of haddock with chives, saffron and poached egg. But in the end I went for the French onion soup with the intriguing toastie on the side.

The soup was delicious and the ham and cheese toastie, the smallest I've ever seen, complemented it perfectly.

Meanwhile there were groans of delight coming from the other side of the table at the chicken liver and foie gras parfait, celeraic remoulade, baked fig and balsamic shallots.

Not only was the food excellent, but so was the presentation and service.

And that's what's nice about a small restaurant. The staff can keep an eye on the customers. Not in an obtrusive way, but they know when you've finished a course and can give you a decent amount of time before removing your plate.

Too fast and the service looks hasty, and you feel like they're dying to get rid of you. Too slow, and it looks tawdry. At Treacle Moon it was just right.

And so on to the main course. There were six choices here, including a vegetarian option of veg and nut lasagne with young leaf salad, and for the carnivores, baked whole trout with new potatoes, fennel and melon salad, beurre noisette...I know, just reading the menu, makes your mouth water.

I chose the roast loin of rare-breed pork with black pudding crust, button onions and lardons served with a cider sauce and my pal went for the chargrilled ribeye steak with baked field mushroom and tomato, served with anchovy and parsley butter.

Both were served with cubed roast potatoes and we asked for a portion of veg. What we got was a veritable vegetable medley, which included asparagus, cabbage, green beans, leek, carrots, courgettes and baby sweetcorn.

Again both meals were beautifully presented, but the real test is the taste. And Treacle Moon scored top marks again.

The pork was delicious, cooked to perfection. It was easy to cut and melted in the mouth.

I had a taste of the steak, which was being devoured on the other side of the table, and it was succulent.

Dessert choices included pecan pie with maple syrup and pecan nut ice cream and coconut bavaroise with macerated berries. I was full at this point but determined to carry on and so we chose to share a cheese board of tasty local and Continental cheeses, washed down with a couple of coffees.

Again top marks for presentation and service.

Now I'm not pretending this comes cheap. It is expensive, but you know what they say, you pays your money...

And for a special occasion it's worth pushing the boat out if you can be guaranteed food of this quality. It's more than just a meal, it's an experience. Go try it.

Down the pub: Kiss of life

A famous Newcastle bar re-opens tonight with entertainment which promises to be lip-smackingly good.

DJs Flip & Fill will be the main attraction when Kiss opens its doors again.

The Bigg Market bar has been closed for a fortnight while a new sound and lighting system has been installed and bosses, Ultimate Leisure, are promising the new equipment will provide a bigger and better sound.

So who better to test it out than DJ re-mixers Flip & Fill, whose hits include True Love Never Dies, Shooting Stars and Shake Ya Shimmy.

The pair have just completed work on their eagerly-awaited second album, featuring hits such as Discoland, Irish Blue and Pacific Sun (Lullaby).

Flip & Fill will be appearing at Kiss from 11pm to 1am. Tonight's entertainment also includes performance artists creating pyrotechnic effects with angle grinders, fire eaters, stilt walkers and music from resident DJ Ray Carr.

The bar is open from 7pm to 9pm for an invitation-only drinks reception. The doors open to everyone at 9pm.

Our order...

Starters:

French onion soup with a Gruyere and Bayonne toastie

Chicken liver and foie gras parfait, celaric remoulade, baked fig and balsamic shallots

Main courses:

Chargrilled ribeye steak with baked field mushroom and tomato, anchovy and parsley butter.

Roast loin of rare breed pork with black pudding crust, button onions and lardons in cider sauce

Desserts:

A selection of local and Continental cheeses (pounds 3 supplement).

Coffee: White coffee, latte pounds 2.95

Wine:

House Chardonnay pounds 16.

Two courses: pounds 30

Three courses pounds 36

Smoking: No

Opens at 6pm each evening. Booking recommended.
COPYRIGHT 2006 MGN Ltd.
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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Article Type:Restaurant review
Date:Aug 25, 2006
Words:987
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