I’ve been to Orange Tree Newcastle Under Lyme a couple of years ago for cocktails and food back when the food was nice but had a menu akin to any old grill with unjustifiable inflated prices.
During the refurbishment of the restaurant the Georgian listed building situated just outside of Newcastle town centre has had a contemporary, architect designed, glass extension combining the best of old and new. It’s not just the architectural fusion of old and new that sets Orange Tree aside from other restaurants, the menu itself brings together a combination of traditional dishes with a twist and influences from around the world. The restaurant belongs to the Parogon Pubs group which counts Wayfarer in Stone and Swan with Two Necks in Blackbrook as sister restaurants, both of which I’ve visited (and rolled out of happy and content) previously.
As well as offering lunch and evening sittings throughout the week, Orange Tree also opens up its doors at the weekend with a menu of delicious breakfast dishes from a classic fry up, Eggs Benedict, omelettes and the Staffordshire traditional dish of oatcakes. The beautifully luxurious and modern interiors throughout the restaurant and bar area also set the scene for an evening of drinks with the girls (they also have a menu of classic and contemporary cocktails to keep you UHMing and AHHing all night).
We booked a table for 5 at granted what was a little last minute on Fathers Day. Despite being undoubtedly busy we were given a late reservation of 9:30pm. By the time we arrived the majority of diners were already leaving with the happy feeling of full bellies and a couple of glasses of wine. We were sitted in the newly erected Conservatory and despite this late sitting, our waitor James was attentive and wasn’t trying to rush through our order or over dramatically sighing because he wanted to get home or because the chefs wanted to close up the kitchen.
The menu which relies on local produce from Staffordshire where possible (which I love) offers a varied selection of superb seafood dishes, meat from the grill, taste sensational large plates and mouth watering desserts for the sweetest of sweet tooth.
For starters we ordered a selection of small plates from the menu that can either be ordered as starters or as a “tapas” selection for a variety of dishes to share: hot sticky wings with sour cream, breaded whitebait & pepper mayo, button mushrooms stuffed with feta, mixed olives with herbs, all of which were absolutely beautiful – especially the combination of the creamy, bitter feta with the button mushrooms and when it comes to olives, I adopt the “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” theory.
The roast fillet of hake with seafood tagliatelle, toasted focaccia and lemon & garlic sauce is the perfect dish for any sea food fan. The hake was a succulent and tasty fillet that flaked perfectly when cut into the bed of tagliatelle was just the right serving side not to overface, especially as the dish was served with two slices of olive oil and garlic ciabatta (which was ideal for soaking up that yummy seafood sauce).
The tandoori lamb kofta skewer board was served as a side (my brother struggles ordering just the one dish). Usually served with hand cut fries and a side salad, the lamb kofta was ordered minus the fries with a serving of mint yoghurt to compliment the spiced marinating of the lamb. The meat was tender and succulent and the accompanying side salad made me think that this dish would be perfect served with a side of pitta bread for a DIY kebab.
For mains we well and truly ordered a variety of meals from the menu. Despite hearing amazing things about the steaks at Orange Tree, I broke my burger rule (thou shalt not order burgers because I over face myself with the buns) and opted for the glorified sounding burger of haddock, poached egg, spinach and bernaise sauce encased in a sundried tomato, pepper and mushroom topped soft bun. The combination of the complimenting flavours and a super runny egg made this a more delicious version of Eggs Benedict (did I just say that? Blasphemy.) The sweet potato fries were a tantalising treat to my tongue, what did the world DO before sweet potato fries? These were thick cut and coated in a crispy seasoning and served with a extra portion of bernaise dipping sauce. Delicious.
Famed for its meat from the charcoal grill, the medium cooked 8oz sirloin steak was a beautiful cut of steak and cooked to perfection so it was still full of tasty juices (I know this because I insisted on a taste for review purposes). The steak was ordered with a side of blue cheese sauce, the best type of sauce for steak in my humble steak eating opinion and made a fantastic dip for the side of handcut french fries.
The oven roast chicken supreme with chorizo, pepper and olive risotto and tomato cream sauce was exactly what a risotto should be like, creamy from the starch of the risotto rice and fluffy. The tomato cream sauce gives the risotto a more creamy texture and compliments the tender chicken perfectly. It was quite a large serving for one person and risotto is already an infamously filling dish.
After consuming all of that beautiful food and sinking two bottles of wine, I was all set to burst. Coffees were ordered along with a portion of home made marshmallows and I was all set to refuse the offer of a dessert menu until our waiter James described to us the affogato italian inspired dessert. Vanilla ice cream, chocolate sauce, a shot of espresso and amaretto made me rethink my decision.
“I’ll have one of those” I heard myself saying. A coffee and chocolate lovers dream dessert, the mix of the ice cream, espresso and amaretto topped with crumbled biscotti makes for a clash of hot and cold, sweet and bitter. It’s every inch as delicious as is sounds.
One of the main grumbles I’ve seen on Tripadvisor is the price of the dishes. In a time where chain restaurants offer cut price dishes at a fraction of the quality of the dishes at Orange Tree or such restaurants, I find that people forget the saying “you get what you pay for”.
Our meal came to £180 for a party of 5. At £36 a head for 3 courses and drinks (including coffee). Yes, it’s a little more pricey than your average sizzler pub, but for a special occasion and food that is most definitely worth the money I don’t think the price is unreasonable.
Our meal at Orange Tree was absolutely beautiful and left me questioning why I hadn’t visited sooner since the refurbishment. With a menu that is regularly refreshed to reflect the seasons, stunning decor, a relaxed and vibrant atmosphere and extremely attentive staff, we shall most definitely be returning (if I had my way it’d be every night).