When I moved to Salford for university two years ago, I wondered if my beloved home town of Newcastle would face stiff competition from the North West when it came to nightlife, dining and drinking venues.
With Manchester’s Spinningfields and its Northern Quarter brimming with quirky Instagrammable bars and restaurants-come-nightclubs, I hate to admit it but I felt as if the Toon, for the first time in its life, had been edged into second place as my favourite day/night out.
Then, earlier this year, when I heard that Newcastle’s Tiger Tiger was closing to make way for a new-kid-on-the-block, a nostalgic throwback of my first ever night out came to mind. Whatever was going to replace one of the city’s most popular and biggest night clubs had to be something special.
Welcome eden, a botanical-inspired all-day drinking, dining and entertainment concept and, in my opinion, exactly what Newcastle was missing. As the slogan suggests, it’s a place to ‘Drink. Dance. Dine. Discover’. Fortunately, these are four of my favourite things to do.
On the day I went for lunch I was greeted at the door by Joni (who successfully blended in with the décor in his floral shirt). My mum and I were escorted through the bar to our booth; the pink neon ‘You’re blooming lovely’ sign catching my eye as I entered. Dazzling chandeliers, dreamy table settings and bunches of fresh flowers were dotted around the spacious dining room -the interior designer had really gone to town. The atmosphere was tranquil and acoustic covers of the latest pop songs filled the room as well as laughs and chatter from surrounding guests.
Encouraged to try one of eden’s original cocktails by our attentive Italian waiter Pietro, it genuinely took us a good 20 minutes to decide which ones we wanted – safe to say I have inherited my mum’s indecisive gene. In the end, my mum went for a Minted Matcha Grasshopper (£8) complete with flavours of dark mint chocolate and green tea while my sweet tooth was drawn to I Think My Man go Crazy (£8) which was essentially a boozy mango ice slush. *insert heart-eyes emoji*
Once our artisan cocktails made it back to the table adorned with edible flowers and pomegranate seeds, it was time to order food. After browsing the menu, we opted to share a two-foot long sourdough base pizza Florentine (£9.50), topped with a runny-yolk egg, spinach and anchovies. With the wood-fired grill located only a few yards from our table, I spied the chef making it from the corner of my eye.
During our short wait for the pizza, restaurant manager Matthew introduced himself and suggested I take a look in the opulent private dining rooms. There was Adam’s Allotment, a trove of eclectic artefacts; Eve’s Florist, which features rustic décor and beautiful bouquets; and Serpent’s Secret Garden, a mystical-inspired den.
When the pizza arrived, I struggled to fit it in a photograph. It was huge but I’m not complaining. A delicious light and crispy base with lots of cheese, just how every pizza should be. To our complete surprise (ahem), we managed to eat it all and still had room for dessert. I had to go for the warm and oozy sticky toffee pudding with a melting cascade of honeycomb ice cream (£5.75). One word: delish.
As I had been fortunate enough to secure an invite to the launch party the previous week, part of me wished it was late evening so I could go upstairs and burn off the meal with a good boogie in one of the three next-level clubbing rooms. I would have chosen Genesis, a retro inspired 80s, 90s and 00s disco room to get groovy.
Downstairs, there were no serpents trying to tempt me with forbidden fruit. But there were certainly plenty of other delicious temptations at Newcastle’s very own eden. Go try it, you won’t Adam and Eve it.