Name The Lane tapas bar, Pacific Street. This is the unnamed lane. Name The Lane wants to use this space for service and thus be, literally, a laneway bar. But given the current set up of the lane as storage area, I don’t think they have council permission. Cute idea though, and for the meantime there’s a perfectly nice Melbourne-inspired ‘laneway bar’ next to the lane.
A group of us visited on a Friday night and explored the Shareplates side of the menu, my favourite being the King Prawn Bruschetta with tomato and capers. Variations on prawn bruschetta are everywhere in Newcastle, and this one was definitely a top contender. The flavours in the salsa were perfectly balanced and didn’t overwhelm the prawns. In the background are the fun DIY Soft Chicken Tacos. The food was no afterthought at this bar – every dish showed excellent attention to detail.
A prawny close-up. Great choice of sourdough toast too – had enough yield that the topping didn’t all fall off when you bit in.
Les shareplates. They also do salads, sliders and a killer creamy Croque Monsieur, and have a separate breakfast menu too. The service was friendly but patchy – I was enjoying my shared bottle of Tyrrell’s Brokenback Shiraz 2011 down one end of the table and was happily oblivious to the difficulties my friends at the other end were having with getting the waiter’s attention, only for him to sit down at the bar and have drink himself! 30 minutes later my friends finally had more drinks, but were not best pleased…
The next day the girls were still raving about the rich, earthy, and dramatically black Truffled Mushroom & Manchego Arancini. The verdict was that these made up for Waiter Fail. And when we went back the next week for lunch and re-ordered them, but upon cutting them discovered they were not the desired truffled ones as still listed on the menu but some far less interesting tomato ones, we were kindly given them on the house. Waiter Win!
Lamb Empanadas with unusual sweet saucing, which lamb-free-me eschewed but everyone else loved (and ordered again on the next visit). I tried a lamb-free corner of the pastry and it was expertly short and presumably made from scratch. Nice work. The Kumara Chips (or chunks) weren’t a patch on Craft & Co’s crispy sensations but were probably healthier, and perfectly fine. The sesame yoghurt accompaniment – rather than too-easy aïoli or sour cream – again showed the effort which had gone into the composition of this dish and others.
My favourite local shiraz. NB: we all laughed at, but decided against, the MILF cocktail.
My lunch choice, standing to attention: locally-caught bream in cider batter, with triple-cooked chips and chunky tartare. Absolutely divine. Fantastically crispy batter with beautifully steamed fish inside. Perfect chips. The cute sliders in the background looked the part but apparently the beef patty was a bit bland, however the chicken meatball version at the other end of the table got a quadruple thumbs up.
Les Sliders. The boy wasn’t overly wowed by the beef, but the ladies loved their cheesy chicken. And not a single triple cooked chip was left untouched, of course!