Review: New Ponteland Restaurant Bawn
We tried out Ponteland's new place for pizza, plates and wine
Its tagline (pizza, plates, wine) really couldn’t be a better way to explain the ethos behind this relaxed eatery – but does nothing to prepare you for the quality of the cooking here. Heading along for dinner during their opening week, we’re ready to sample all three aspects of the menu.
First up: wine. A fabulous bottle of Austrian Grüner Veltliner. It’s one of our favourites, and there aren’t too many places in these parts where you can find it on a menu (although it is becoming more common as we all get a little more adventurous in our tastes).
Having seen a few sizeable pizzas coming out of the kitchen on their way to other tables, we’ve decided to order just one pizza between us, in order to make sure we have room to sample the next part of the menu: plates. It’s a good decision – each of the plates we choose far exceeds our expectations. Given how much we rated the cooking at Eleven, and given that pretty much the same team are behind this new venture, it’s not surprising, but it’s good to know they’ve kept the focus on the innovative, flavour-led dishes that Eleven was loved for.
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A plate of ‘nduja stuffed gordal olives is perhaps our favourite – spicy little bombs of flavour, deep fried and golden brown. A plate of cotchetino sausage comes with borlotti beans and a moreish salsa verde, while beautiful Wye Valley asparagus is served with an Old Winchester cheese sauce flecked with little spots of onion jam. Finally, rich ricotta dumplings are served steeped in a hearty whey butter.
After all of this it’s time for the main event: pizza. A 12-inch New York-style crispy sourdough base is topped with spicy ‘nduja and tomato sauce, drizzled with honey and finished with generous lumps of soft cheese. It’s a thing of beauty, and we dip the leopard-spotted crusts into pots of roasted garlic mayo (deeply flavoured and potent) and chilli oil mayo (this has a seriously good kick).
Before we leave, there’s still time for dessert and we’re presented with a beautiful wedge of soft tiramisu and two spoons to dig in with.
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The cooking at Bawn is seriously good, the vibe is relaxed and easy-going, and this is a place I can see myself returning to again and again – for mid-week catchups over small plates, weekend pizzas and special occasions too.
Pizza, plates, wine – what more could you ask for?
11 Main Street, Ponteland NE20 9NH bawnrestaurant.co.uk