By Robbie Tominey-Nevado
If you’ve never been before, the immediate setting of this beautifully decorated bar-cum-restaurant might put you off – Do not be afraid! If anything, the contrast between jaded concrete monolith within which ‘As You Like It’ resides only raises the beauty of its thoughtful decoration. Reminiscent of the Botanist’s classy steampunk atmosphere, this is the sort of place where you can easily while away the entire evening, functioning as both bar and “eating house.”
Thanks to an expansive and creative cocktail menu, great service, and solid food, there are very few reasons for you not to give this place a try – and its only £4.25 and 12 minutes by train away from Durham! In fact, there are tens of wonderful restaurants in Newcastle that offer a variety and quality of food that Durham simply cannot compete with, both in the City Centre and in the popular Jesmond area. ‘As You Like It’ certainly makes it into this number – as although the menu has no particular theme to it, this international spread is more than enough to cater for the pickiest of eaters!
We kicked off proceedings with “charred sipping whisky” BBQ wings and pan fried king scallops – the scallops were perfectly moist and worked nicely with the chorizo (pictured), and the wings, although I could taste none of the whiskey I was longing for, were recovered by a creamy blue cheese sauce. Unfortunately, these wings failed to deliver the promise of big flavour that was the reason I ordered them.
Now, (sorry Fat Hippo), for the main course. The ‘Dirty Burgers’ would dominate anything our favourite portly herbivorous mammal burger chain can offer – honestly, there is no competition.
I chose ‘The Big Blue’ burger: whipped blue cheese, Portobello mushroom, fresh wild rocket, and sweet onion jam – and I am so happy that I did. It was a burger as burgers (in my opinion) should be – brioche bun, big patty, great garnishes, and if you get the chance to visit ‘As You Like It’ you’d be sorry to miss out on one of these.
However, if I had to give you one reason to try this place, I only have two words for you – REFRIED MASH. How nobody has thought to offer this as a side dish is incredible. The creamiest mash, the crispiest onions, and the crunchiest greens have been fried together to produce a symphony of taste that can only be described as the best hangover food imaginable. Even if you never go to ‘As You Like It’, you have to make this for yourself to clear your dehydrated soul of your latest embarrassing Klute catastrophe.
To finish, I would highly recommend ‘As You Like it’ to anyone looking to escape the hell that is summative season for an evening of good food and great drinks in an elegant setting, and one that won’t even burn too great a hole in that overdraft.
Photograph: Robbie Tominey-Nevado