As you saw from our previous blog on events happening in December there are so many things to grab our time and attention this Christmas. Well with running two shops and being out and about the region at various markets we really don't have much time at all ourselves to soak up the atmosphere of Christmas. However a most welcome chance for ourselves to get into the festive spirit materialised with an invitation to partake a most unique dining experience.
If you have wondered down onto the Quayside you may have noticed under the watchful eye of the Baltic Art Gallery a collection of pods resembling igloos. Well the pods form part of the Christmas Tyne Gateshead Winter Village which is running until just after New Year.
And so before our dining experience we had an explore around the Christmas village and aside from the dining pods there are igloos to enjoy being all cosy watching a Christmas film, a snow pool for the little one’s to have a real festive play in, various stalls offering an array of tasty treats and craft gifts. The site also has its own tipi and we headed their to rendezvous with our fellow diners and enjoy a pre-diner drink. It was lovely and cosy in the tipi and a nice way to meet our fellow diners and at 6pm we were invited to make our way to our dining pod. On a crisp December evening, the Quayside looked amazing and we had a wonderful spot overlooking it all. The way the dining pod experience works is that you and your party have an allotted 90 minute slot to enjoy a festive three course meal and drinks.
Through the zip opening door we all took our places around the round table and what lovely cosy atmosphere it was with a thoroughly lovely group of people. Our very attentive waiter was on hand through out the experience to make sure we were all comfortable and had everything we needed. Christmas crackers were duly pulled, festive hats adorned and the most dreadful of cracker jokes shared but that is all part of the fun. We ordered drinks which very quickly arrived. We were on a fixed menu for the evening and being on a time limit the starter of soup arrived promptly. We all rather enjoyed passing the soup plates to the left around our cosy table. It was a lovely spicy roasted parsnip soup and Lucy is no fan of the parsnip but it met with a thumbs up from both of us and have a rather fab kick to it.
The nature of the round table made it a very social occasion and it was lovely to chat to our table of fellow bloggers who were a thoroughly lovely bunch. For the time allotted this has to be a very efficient service and sure enough soup plates were taken away and after a short while the main course arrived. We were quite into the habit of passing the plates around the table and it was all part of the experience. The one thing that really attracted us to the menu was the lack of turkey. Obviously with Lucy being a veggie it wasn’t an option for her anyway and not that Paul hates turkey but it was just nice to have a different option. In this case for us meat eaters it was smoked and glazed Northumberland bacon loin. It really hit the spot as far as Paul was concerned and just on the right side of smokiness. Accompanied by some rather delicious mustard mash, sticky red cabbage and of course sprouts which safe to say were tremendous. l. Lucy was also suitably impressed with her vegetarian option of butternut squash and Stilton filo pastry. To accompany our meal Lucy enjoyed a lovely crisp Prosecco and Paul a drop of red wine.
There was such a warm festive glow in our little igloo and the heaters provided made it nice and toasty. It started to rain as we dined and just like those happy caravan holidays as a child the litter patter of rain on the roof made it feel even more snug. Desert was on the way and they really saved the best till last with a delicious warm chocolate fondant with clotted brandy cream. For the chocoholics amongst us they were literally speechless whilst indulging in the richness of the desert. And so after enjoying our three courses it was almost time to depart our pod. Despite the time limit we certainly did not feel rushed and everything just flowed to make a lovely sociable and cosy festive experience and absolutely perfect for anyone who is looking to enjoy a Christmas dining experience that is not the usual run of the mill. The staff on hand could not have been more attentive to our needs and to make us enjoy the experience. Just before we left and almost on cue, the Millennium Bridge gracefully rose. We headed out of our pod and returned to the warm glow of the tipi to enjoy further drinks and good chat with our fellow diners.
Just for info - we went to Christmas Tyne as part of their press evening and received complimentary food and drinks. We're rather thrilled that we enjoyed it as this blog really is about places we love in the North East and couldn't have written a blog about it if couldn't honestly recommend it. Luckily we had a fab time and it's an experience we wholeheartedly recommend. For more information and to book please visit https://tickets.gigsnortheast.co.uk/