If you like: Lounging about with a rare pint
Then try: The Golden Smog, Stockton
This place bills itself as Stockton’s first micropub, devoted to real ale and cider, top bottles and, their Twitter bio says, ‘civilised socialising’. Besides ales from the likes of Hop Studio, North Riding Brewery and Rooster’s, there’s a lending library and magazine box, a very decent vinyl selection and a settle-yourself-in kind of vibe. Plus: there’s a free buffet on Sundays.
If you like: Un petit peu de la France
Then try: The French Quarter, Newcastle
To call an archway under the railway bridges leading into Central station a whole quarter is a little grandiose, but then again understatement has never been a problem which one might assume the French psyche has ever been over-encumbered with. More accurately, it’s a café, wine bar, bistro and market with an informal vibe and quality French produce all around. Très intéressant.
If you like: Pies and Hull
Then try: The Hull Pie, Hull
This, you’ll be astounded to learn, is a pie shop in Hull, though they do speciality sandwiches which prize fat wedges of meat and quality bread too. You’re here for the pies, though, obviously. Just as obviously, they’re absolutely dreamy: pick from the likes of caramelised beer and beef brisket, slow roasted barbecue pulled pork and Moroccan spiced vegetable and falafel, add gravy and a couple of sides, and you’re in a flaky, buttery kind of paradise.
If you like: Upmarket but low-key fine dining
Then try: Home, Leeds
This new one by MasterChef alumnus Liz Cottam and former Box Tree Head Chef and Le Gavroche man Mark Owens is gathering quite a buzz – the idea is to make a relaxed sort of fine dining restaurant, informed by Liz’s time at the New Ellington and her supper clubs. It’s about making plates of high-grade food a bit more accessible by rooting it in familiar flavours and an inclusive vibe.