Central shaker + oven

Central is a new joint in Newcastle specialising pizzas and cocktails, and it’s just opposite the central station. We headed over after visiting the science centre Centre for Life for a few hours beforehand to check out their new Lego exhibition. (Check it out if you can! They’ve built the amazing North East sights: Angel of the North out of 8,000 Lego pieces, the Tyne bridge, St. James’ Park and even Team Valley. And the DNA helix, and a load of other cool stuff.)

Central is a bit of a silly name for a restaurant though, don’t you think? Googling “Central Newcastle” or “Central Newcastle restaurant” doesn’t really get you results for this place. I suppose they’re relying on the central location to get them visitors, especially tourists. And bloody hell, the place is open until 2-3am! Hopefully that won’t mean it’ll turn into another Revolution and stink of old booze at lunchtime after a while. Not the nicest environment to have food…

I saw a picture of a pizza they make (on the NE1 Restaurant Week brochure) and that made me instantly want to visit. I love proper thin Italian handmade pizza made with fresh ingredients.

Pretty good vibes on the inside. We were freezing and requested to sit somewhere warm, and they took us next to the kitchen. It was a chilled out spot, warm enough. Loved observing the chefs, many of them Italian.

And I also loved the toilet :D. I have a bit of a thing for toilets. I love it when thought has gone into them and they’re kept clean, tidy and stocked up. Loooooved the full wall mirrors. But no soap. Sob sob.

Here’s the menu… It’s nice and concise, but the fact that Pesto Chicken doesn’t seem to include chicken and Broccoli And Sausage looks vegetarian… They’ll need to include all the important ingredients in the next version of their menus. The waitress did say they get asked about it all the time.

I ordered the Pesto Chicken pizza but swapped goat’s cheese for mozzarella (or ‘fior di latte’, as they called it), and asked for some chillies to add a bit of heat to the pizza. Really great service here, she even brought me some extra chilli oil to the table.

My husband got the Heat and Meat pizza, wasn’t too keen on the fennel sausages but I’m sure that’s down to preference instead of the quality of the meat. He even ditched some bacon and I’ve never seen that before! My friend Hannah ordered the Roast Veg pizza, which I thought looked fabulous. But what’s pizza without meat…..

I also ordered the Heritage side salad (nice, but not worth the money), James got Central fries (one of the best chips I’ve had, and loved the dips too [very strong garlic and a nice kick to the tomato dip]) and Hannah got a chocolate mousse (lacked richness, wouldn’t order again) for dessert.

Overall, the pizzas were nice and juicy. I wish they had extra virgin olive oil and balsamico on the tables for dipping the crusts in. I managed to have half of mine, and took the rest home in a doggy bag (I pretty much never manage a full pizza on my own). I hate wasting food, and the rest of the pizza was a nice lunch on the next day. Sometimes I feel like apologising for not wanting to stuff myself to bits, but the staff happily boxed the leftovers up, which was nice.

Table service was spot on throughout our visit. We got served by two different people.

One thing bothered me towards the end of the lunch, unfortunately. Coming out of the toilet a few staff members were having a chat at the top of the stairs. They saw me but didn’t acknowledge me in any way (no smile, no ‘sorry we’re in the way’, no moving in any direction), so I had to squeeze past them apologising for existing. I can (usually) somewhat tolerate people on the street doing it, but I would never expect it from people working in hospitality. Any professional wearing their uniform should be courteous and give paying customers the service they deserve.

I think I’ll be likely to visit again, especially if there’s good deals on. But the best pizzas in Newcastle are still made by Herb Garden.

I’d love to hear what you thought of Central Oven + Shaker if you visit… Just leave a comment below 🙂

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My pizza, Pesto chicken

 

Why I started this blog

I eat out regularly eat out in central Newcastle. I’ve had my favourite ever burger, pizza, pie, parsnip soup and an entire dining experience in this beautiful and vibrant city. There are hundreds of restaurants to choose from. And so I thought it may be useful to share my experiences instead of just letting the photos disappear over time in my photo stream. I want to keep my posts short and to the point, share some pictures and talk about my experiences – the quality of the food and the service I receive.

I most often dine out at lunch time during the week. I’m not a fan of crowds and busy places in my spare time. I love chilling out and not feeling rushed. Sitting in the corner and watching the world go by, sucking in all the positive vibes. Sometimes eating out is purely practical though as myself, my husband and daughter need quick feeding before I get too hangry (a mixture of hunger and angry). You don’t want to make me hangry. (On clever days I take my own advise and always make sure to have a healthy snack to hand at all times… but you know… I have my weaknesses and as long as I can control my weight there is no problem.)

I work with nutrition on a daily basis. I am a personal trainer and nutritionist, and I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to have a sweet balance in life and nutrition. So I don’t hide the fact from people that I eat often eat out. I love my food and manage to keep myself at my optimum weight year round, despite occasionally grazing on some beautiful scran that’ll easily take me over the national recommended daily allowance on fats and sodium. Balance, it’s all about balance. And flexible dieting allows it.

I do wish there were more deliciously healthy food joints in the city (and everywhere in the world, for that matter). So if you know of one, please let me know!

I rarely go with the unhealthiest choice on the menu, sometimes even check the calorie content of different meals so I can be 100% sure to maintain my weight.

In the past year I’ve worked hard on reducing the amount of red meat I eat (mostly by not buying much for the house). But when I eat out, I do allow myself to order anything on the menu.

If you’re interested in following my journey, you can subscribe to the blog posts on the right hand side of this page. I’ll give you my suggestions on the best and worst places to go for some serious scran in Newcastle upon Tyne, the city of love ❤

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