Newcastle city centre’s newest venue is located at the foot of Dean Street and describes itself as a tavern, botanical garden and Rhum bar.
Its name is inspired by the former military man who teamed up with chief chemist Archie Jones to create the Toon’s most iconic elixir – Newcastle Brown Ale.
Inside Colonel Porter’s Emporium – operated by the same owners of Ramside Hall and Hardwick Hall hotels – has the feel of a traditional gentlemen’s club with an eclectic mix of wing back leather chairs, 19th century antiques and even a stuffed bear!
To the rear, a book shelf also reveals a hidden bar for exclusive parties and functions.
During the day, Colonel Porter’s – which has a separate table-service area – has launched several versatile food menus to suit all timescales. These include the 30-minute guaranteed speedy lunch where, for £7.95, you will can enjoy a swift meal and drink, the standard main menu with choice of sharing platters, the ‘tipsy’ afternoon tea and Sunday lunch featuring all the usual favourites.
On the lunchtime my two colleagues and I visited the venue, we sampled the Chef’s Selection menu that offers two “spiffingly special dishes” for £10.95 or three for £13.95.
For the next hour or so, we dined on hearty traditional fare with an upmarket twist. Highlights were the tasty and inventive black pudding bhajis with sweet cauliflower puree and the three-cheese macaroni cheese that melded cheddar, parmesan and gruyere to create a posh version of this winsome classic.
For dessert, I had high hopes for the Rhum Baba but it proved a little dry – more rum soaking may be required. Thankfully, the apple crumble and chocolate delice were more successful.
I’ve little doubt that the quirky interior and extensive drinks menu of Colonel Porter’s Emporium will appeal to revellers on Friday and Saturday nights but the venue is keen to appeal to diners during the day too and is going all out to capture this market with an option for everyone.
Black pudding bhaji
Served with caramelised cauliflower purée, curry oil and apple
Homemade sausage roll
With anise brown sauce
Served with roasted red chilli and garlic mayonnaise
Three-cheese macaroni cheese
Topped with garlic breadcrumbs and house salad
Northumberland pinwheel sausage and mash
Served with crispy onions and gravy
With Whitby crab meat, white wine, garlic, fresh herbs and parmesan
Soaked in rum served with Chantilly cream
Apple and vanilla crumble
Served with custard
Chocolate and hazelnut delice
With hazelnut ice cream, salted caramel and praline
Colonel Porter’s Emporium