Business Lunch: Banyan Bar & Kitchen

May 1, 2019

Alison Cowie and her colleagues try the private dining room at the newly opened Banyan Bar & Kitchen

At the top of Grey Street, in the shadow of Grey’s Monument, Jamie’s Italian has been replaced by Banyan Bar & Kitchen.

Inside, a contemporary décor and extensive drinks menu is sure to attract those looking for a stylish tipple or two in the evening while a menu of burgers, steaks, sandwiches, mains and sharing plates will pull in daytime shoppers too.

But what about the business crowd?

Banyan’s private dining room comes complete with a range of audio-visual equipment, including sizeable screen, making it the perfect place to hold a meeting away from the office.

Seven of my colleagues and I visited the venue last month and found the private dining room – located at the top of the stairs – to be a bright and airy space thanks to huge windows that bathed the room with light. The focal timber dining table with a flash of blue glass (with seating for 14 guests), and a bushy floral arrangement hanging from ceiling are sights to behold.

The room can be hired during the week or at the weekend for a £50 deposit and as long as you reach the minimum spend for food and drinks (£250 Monday-Wednesday, £500 Thursday-Sunday), space is effectively free of charge.

Our party decided to order two sharing platters – The Banyan Platter (£19.95) and the vegetarian Mezza platter (£18.50) – to start. When they arrived I was a little concerned they wouldn’t satisfy eight hungry people but I was quickly proved wrong as we couldn’t finish all the tasty treats – which included chicken skewers drizzled with satay sauced, fried baby squid, deep fried brie wedges, crispy duck spring rolls, chargrilled Mediterranean vegetables, marinated artichoke hearts and warm pitta bread.

For mains, we each ordered a dish from the main menu. Highlights included the tasty and succulent chicken CHUF burger (£12.50) – which had the bonus of including a 25p donation to the Newcastle- based charity for children with heart conditions, the Thai red curry with chicken (£13.50) and the Swaledale rare breed beef steak and ale pie (£13.95).

Meanwhile, I ordered the revitalise bowl from the powerbowls and salad offering and found the nourishing mix of halloumi, roast butternut squash, red and golden beets, avocado, roast pepper and quinoa a real treat.

Just two of our party ordered dessert – chocolate and raspberry brownie and Geordie s’mores (£5.95 each), which most of us sampled alongside an array of coffees – the most talked about being the bright yellow turmeric latte (£3.25).

With its vibrant décor, wide-ranging menu, attentive staff and central location, Banyan does offer a tempting alternative venue for a business meeting – the only challenge will be getting through the agenda before indulging in one of Banyan’s tempting cocktails.

Banyan Bar & Kitchen