Known as ‘Lola’s little sister’ to the original Lola Jeans in Tynemouth, this restaurant transports you to a transient space of the prohibition past and colourful modern art.
All open space, the restaurant fluctuates between three different areas: comfy, vintage armchairs perfect for a cocktail, catch up – and perhaps even a cigar; cosy booths for smaller groups next to the bar; larger tables situated underneath glass ceiling panels creating an airy, modern feel – perfect for family gatherings such as Graduation celebrations.
In previous years Lola Jeans has offered a special Graduation menu although, realising that most people were opting for the normal menu, they’re sticking to what they do best this year. That’s not to say they won’t be offering special drinks on the day – I tried their ‘No Hope in Hell’ cocktail. This refreshing spritz was surely a celebratory drink with its violet gin, strawberry liquor and lemony bitters – although looks wise, it has strong competition with their copious cocktail menu!
Although this was not a graduation meal for myself, we were still celebrating as I’d just finished my third year at Newcastle University and it was our last meal before I fly to Camp America. We were pleasantly surprised by the dark interior: fearing it may be a little gloomy, it instead provided an intimate space where we didn’t have to fight for our voices to be heard over the music, yet its floor to ceiling murals retained the edgy student vibe.
Cautious not to clash our starters and mains, we ordered the ‘Salt and Pepper Calamari’ and the ‘Buffalo chicken spring rolls’. As we shared, I was glad to have started with the spicy spring rolls before I ended with crispy lemon calamari to cool my taste buds. Albeit not our healthiest start, both packed a crunchwith their crispy, fried exteriors.
Our meal was heightened by the staff’s attentiveness throughout the dinner. Nothing bypassed their attention.
Candle out? Relit within minutes. Glass nearing empty? Another could be whipped up no hassle. The staff were at ease, non-intrusive and showed a hospitable professionalism which few restaurants manage to achieve.
Like giddy school-children, we couldn’t help but gawk at one another when the Surf and Turf sharing platter was brought to our table. The medium-rare rump steak slices alongside the garlic butter prawns were tender and melted in our mouths, as we wedged it into warm pitta with salad and steak sauce. We didn’t know how to start or even how to go about combining all these flavours into one mouthful – but that didn’t stop us going back for more until the platter was wiped clean (in true student style).
Later, feeling inspired by the sunny weather and enticed by the white rum, my boyfriend opted for the ‘Guava Colada’ with his main course. Arriving just as we tucked into our sharing platter, it was a cocktail of elegance with its purple petals floating atop a creamy looking liquid.
After insisting I try some, I too ordered and devoured the same cocktail – our only complaint being that it was a little heavy to wash down the surplus of food. Next time we’d order this alone for dessert!
As full as we were by this point, that didn’t put us off ordering a pudding. The choices aren’t extensive and, unfortunately, they had run out of Churros, but we were not disappointed with our choices. Whilst the Oreo cheesecake was aesthetically pleasing with its scoop of choc ice cream balancing perfectly on top, the slab of chocolate brownie was a real winner for me.
Looking deceptively cake-like, I was apprehensive it wouldn’t do the gooey brownie texture justice – but it oozed into a chocolate and clotted ice cream delight.
One could be fooled in thinking the prohibition years were the best – there’s something seductively alluring to its dark ambience. With its attention to the smallest of details – teacup cocktails to parquet flooring – it emanates originality despite its sister restaurant. There’s even a (not-so-secret) basement called ‘Speak’ offering specialised drinks and private party functions for those wanting to continue the celebrations below the heart of the toon.