Food: St Vincent, Newcastle

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St Vincent is one of those places that I've spent the last few months telling just about everyone I know about. An effortlessly elegant blend of Italian and French cuisine, it's the sort of place that's perfect for just about everything from a coffee and croissant, or light lunch, to decadent dinners with friends.

Exposed brick, Brooklyn Warehouse style industrial window, plush leather seating and marble and terrazzo tables make the place feel stylish but understated and unimposing. It leaves the menu to take centre stage. And take it, it certainly does.

It's been a long time since I've found a place with a menu so filled with options. It's laid out in part like a tapas place with selections of small plates that are made for sharing. Despite its huge size, the layout is clear and easy to understand with Snacks, Cheese, Charcuterie, Croques, Vegetables, Seafood, Meat and Desserts. And if you ask me, any menu with specific sections for Croques and Cheese is a winner. Add a little pale rose to it, and I think you've got one of my most favourite places in Newcastle.

The following photos are from a review that St Vincent invited me to with Helen, and the food and drinks that we received was complimentary in exchange for an honest review (which I've taken so long to write - apologies Team St Vincent, thanks for being patient), but the words, opinions and praises are all my own.

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Since it was our first time trying out this place, we were offered a huge range of the dishes to try. The menu isn't laid out in the traditional sense of starters and main courses, making for a less informal dining experience, where plates can arrive as they're ready, and you can enjoy a wide range of options.

I loved starting the meal with charcuterie with cornichons and cippollini, cheese served with fig jam and rich, sticky amarena cherries, along with giant Lindisfarne oysters. If you've not tried them before, they're a fresh, creamy and quite meaty oyster - perfectly balanced if you're looking to try them for the first time.

While Lindisfarne oysters are always a favourite of mine, it was the Robiola Tre Latti that stole the show. Creamy and delicate with just the perfect gooey texture, we couldn't get enough! Paired with marinated Nocellara olives and toasted bread with sweet, garlicky tomatoes.

If you were visiting for lunch, and looking for something lighter to eat, I'd highly recommend a simple feast from their cheese and cured meat selection. In a more recent visit, I tried out sharing the selection of four cheeses, and can confirm the Robiola, while it might be my favourite, is not the only star on the cheese menu. I'd also very much recommend the milky Comté AOC and the Tome Fort St Antoine - both made from raw cows milk. I can't speak for the Roquefort because I don't enjoy blue cheese, so I steered clear of this one. But I have been reliably formed by a blue cheese lover that it was pretty exceptional too.

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When it comes to rest of St Vincent's menu, the incredible selection of Vegetables, Meat and Seafood doesn't disappoint. We opted for the incredibly fresh, mouth-wateringly good Steak Tartare alla Puttanesca served with hot toast, Wild Mushroom Raviolis with mushroom cappuccino (the delicious little foam coating the pasta), Spicy Meatballs and tomato sauce, and Sauteed Tiger Prawns with garlic and chilli. Although it was all delicious, for me, it was the Steak Tartare that stood out. There's not really many places with it on the menu, and of the few that do, finding a good one is even harder!

After such a big feast for the two of us, we didn't leave ourselves too much room for dessert. But the staff promised that they weren't to be missed, so we opted for the Florentine Doughnuts served with strawberry jam and Chantilly, and the Warm Chocolate Fondant, along with a cappuccino for me, and an iced coffee for Helen.

If you're looking for the perfect spot for date night, or a place to enjoy great food with friends, I promise St Vincent does not disappoint. And situated on Broad Chare, just off Newcastle's Quayside, it's the perfect place to enjoy a short stroll along the river after you've finished eating.

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