With quirky craft breweries, exceptional art galleries and some superb places to eat, the Ouseburn district of Newcastle upon Tyne was recently named as ‘one of the coolest places in the world’. Join me as I drink, eat and laugh my way from one excellent establishment to another!
I visited Newcastle upon Tyne as a guest of the NewcastleGatehead Initiative.. All views and opinions are my own (or those of the locals I meet along the way). The weight I gained is all mine!
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Where and what to eat in Ouseburn Valley
Recently named by TimeOut as one of the ‘coolest neighbourhoods in the world’ Ouseburn, was once an industrial sprawl of mills and warehouses. They lined the banks of the River Ouse as it wound its way inland from the River Tyne. Having fallen into disuse and dereliction, the area has been transformed into a thriving, vibrant community. Hip designers and artists create, while next door artisan brewers brew and upcoming chefs cook and bake, all to a backing track of live music and laughter.
Starting at the top of Stepney Road, I’d like to take you on a stroll down to where the Ouse Burn flows into the River Tyne. The route is just over half a mile but it’s packed full of surprises!
At the top of Stepney Road, this independent art cafe/bar is run by a group of artists, makers and designers. It’s the ideal place to start your day, although you’ll have to wait until 10 am when they open. Their ‘Local Hero Breakfast’ is packed full of the finest local eggs, bacon, sausages, black pudding, tomatoes, mushrooms and more. There’s also equally generous vegetarian and vegan breakfasts as well as lighter bites.
At other times of day, you might want to try one of the popular flatbreads or perhaps their grilled rainbow trout with ginger and lemon rice or even one of their delectable desserts.
Above from left to right: Sticky toffee pudding with Chantilly cream, Ernest mess with meringue, autumnal fruits and Chantilly cream, and warm chocolate brownie with icecream
Ernest 1 Boyd St, Shieldfield, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 1AP
Around the back of Earnest, Ernie’s is a wonderful combination of farmer’s market, corner shop, deli and bakery. As well as local produce, they offer hot drinks, snacks, sandwiches, soups and sweet treats at affordable prices.
Ernie, Stepney Road, Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 1AP
Across the road from Ernest, Gingerino’s handmade pizza will transport you to the heart of Italy. Their authentic, thin and crispy stonebaked pizzas at £2.50 a slice are an affordable treat, whether you eat in or takeaway.
Gingerino’s Kitchen, Stepney Road, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 1TZ
Thali Tray at Newcastle Brewing Ltd
From here we head down the road to Newcastle Brewing where you can enjoy authentic Indian street food washed down with a pint of craft ale at Thali Tray, located in the brewery buildings.
Whether you feast inside, or in the adjacent covered courtyard snuggled around the firepit or opt for a takeaway, you won’t be disappointed with the food, service or value for money from Thali Tray or the ale from the father and son brewers at Newcastle Brewing Ltd. What a splendid combo!
Thali Tray, Arch 2, Stepney Bank, Ouseburn, Newcastle, NE1 2NP
The Ship Inn
Just around the corner, The Ship Inn is reputed to be the best vegan eatery in Newcastle. It also has an excellent range of ales and malt whiskies. Most notably though, this down to earth and extremely friendly traditional pub offers an all-vegan menu.
The Ship Inn, Stepney Bank, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2PW
As we continue downhill, around the next corner, The Cluney is one of a trio of first-rate Newcastle alehouses in ‘The Head of Steam’ family. Doubling as a pub come live music and comedy venue, The Cluny offers a great range of cask, keg and bottled beers and hosts regular festivals featuring different regional artisan brews.
The Cluny, 36 Lime Street,, Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2PQ
Crossing the footbridge to the other side of the Ouse Burn, we soon come to Cook House and one of my favourite success stories. Cook House started life as a recipe blog and supper club, as owner Anna Hedworth, sort to escape a nine to five job in architecture. It was so popular that she was able to pack in her job and open her restaurant initially in two shipping containers overlooking the river. More than merely somewhere to eat, it was designed to be a place that Anna herself would want to hang out in. Soon everyone wanted to eat and hang out there!
Today, you’ll find Cook House in a larger but still welcoming and intimate setting on Foundry Lane. With two floors and a garden plus a roof terrace (where they soon hope to keep bees), Cook House’s reputation continues to grow.
The seasonally changing menu at Cook House is packed full of healthy ingredients, lovingly prepared and presented. I particularly enjoyed their complimentary glass of kombucha). Just ask at the bar for a glass. Jars of the symbiotic bacteria and yeast colonies needed to ferment more kombucha lined the shelves behind the bar looking somewhat bizarre to those unfamiliar with the drink. This antioxidant and pro-biotic rich tea is believed to have originated in China and is reputed to have several health benefits.
Above from left to right: Kombucha, Smoked Chalk Stream Trout with Seeded Rye Bread, Creme Fraiche & Pickled Cucumber, Gran Cerdo, Spanish white wine.
Cook House, Foundry Lane, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE6 1 LH
Continue south towards the River Tyne and into Hume Street and you’ll come to The Kiln. Bringing a taste of the Mediterranean to Ouseburn, this contemporary bar and cafe has a wide range of excellent food and drinks on offer. And if you happen to admire the cookery, which is indeed lovely, you can take it home! It’s all made in the adjacent pottery and available to buy in the cafe or even join a Pottery Experience and make your own!
We had a wonderful meze here including homemade humous, roasted figs with goat’s cheese, walnuts and maple syrup, labneh and harissa, Egyptian sourdough bread and more.
The Kiln, 4 Hume St, Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1LN
The Kiln, 4 Hume St, Byker, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1LN
Brickburn Street Brewery, Bar & Kitchen
Next door to Kiln but with its front entrance on Ford Street is another of Ouseburn’s breweries. A really fabulous place for a pint and a bite to eat, the Brickburn Street Brewery Bar and Kitchen is well worth popping by. I always love a beer flight so I can try multiple beers and compare them. Here you can enjoy them with some rather quirky bar snacks, burgers, roast dinners and more in a shabby chic industrial setting.
Above: Beer flights and beer bites (onion & beetroot bhajis served with mango chutney and black pudding bon bons with Byker brown ale chutney)
Brickburn Street Brewery, Unit 1A, Ford St, Newcastle upon Tyne NE6 1NW
The Tyne Bar
Since its opening in 1994, The Tyne Bar has witnessed first-hand the reinvention of the Ouseburn Valley. With a beer garden under the historic Glasshouse Bridge built in 1878, this traditional pub is firmly established as one of the city’s favourite independent drinking and live music venues. Offering a great selection of drinks and food it really comes alive on a Sunday afternoon with its free gigs.
When I visited, I enjoyed a wonderful coconut, cacao, tonka and vanilla milk stout from York Brew. An interesting mix of flavours including a subtle nuttiness from the tonka bean. An excellent beer!
Triple A Food Tours
As well as offering food and drink walking tours in Newcastle’s city centre, the wonderful team at Triple A Food Tours also offer a wonderful walk in Ouseburn Valley. It starts with a quirky tour through the tunnels under the city. Not only does this give a fascinating and emotive insight into local history, it’s also a great way to build up your appetite for what’s to come, namely a food and drinks safari around a wonderful range of establishments, including several of the above.
Art galleries in Ouseburn
Sadly, I didn’t have the time to visit any of the art galleries or artists studios that Ouseburn is also renowned for including The Biscuit Factory, the largest independent contemporary art gallery in the UK. Visit Ouseburn Trust to find out more about the many different art venues open to the public.
How to get to Ouseburn, Newcastle upon Tyne
We travelled by train first class with LNER from London’s Kings Cross to Newcastle. The journey takes about 3 hours. From the station, you can walk or take a taxi to Ouseburn less than a mile and a half away. The walk from the city centre along the riverbank is particularly lovely.
Where to stay in Ouseburn
We stayed at Hotel du Vin on the edge of Quayside and Ouseman, about a mile from the city centre. This charming hotel is in the former headquarters of the Tyne Tees Steam Shipping Company and has 42 rooms and suites, an excellent restaurant as well as a very welcoming bar and lounge area. The outside terrace looked very pretty lit up by night.
My room was smart and welcoming with a gorgeous roll-top bath in the bedroom rather than in the adjacent ensuite shower room.
To find out more, check out this Hotel du Vin Newcastle Review on London Unattached.
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I loved all the places we visited in Ouseburn – and I too would have enjoyed the Biscuit Factory (and the farm!). It’s a quirky part of town that is just fun to explore
Yes, there’s a really nice vibe there. Definitely, a place to return to again and again.
Ouseburn was incredibly cool – I loved the industrial heritage and the cluster of hip eateries in the area. Kiln was my absolute favourite food there.
Kiln was very good and there are plenty more still that we didn’t manage to get to that I have my eye on. A return visit is a must!