Walking in to Sohe bar and restaurant on Osborne Road last week, the first thing I came face to face with was a fat, cheery little Buddha sat on the bar, offering me a Kwai Royale. Just the type of welcome you want on a rainy evening after work. I’d never been to Sohe, Jesmond before this visit, and I was actually pretty surprised at how big and beautiful it is. It isn’t your typical Osborne Road bar or restaurant, and amongst an oasis of greenery, bright bold pinks and reds, you feel transported into the southern hemisphere (So-he!) world of Asian fusion.
The bar, under new management has transformed its a la carte and cocktail menus, which is what we were there to try. We had a beautiful table in the bay window, and were offered a drink. Still chugging back my prosecco, and knowing a cocktail masterclass was coming later I had a browse of their mocktails. The manager said he could make to order if I gave him a selection of tastes, and he conjured up a delicious mojito-esque special that we named ‘The Fox’ (obviously, although not very exotic).
I’ve only ever had a cocktail/mocktail made especially for me once before, and they nearly always leave a lasting impression. Despite the lack of alcohol it was refreshing and very tasty, so if you’re not a drinker/preggo/out for a cheaper night then you’re covered!
While we were waiting for our selection of food to arrive, I had a good look at the menu to see if it ticked all the boxes for what I would usually go for at an Asian restaurant. Edamame, sushi, plenty meat options for Kieran, some rice and noodle options, and a good choice of sides. They were all there, and the cocktail menu was just as extensive, with exotic names that paint the perfect picture of locations far away from Jesmond, Newcastle! Halong Bay, Endless Summer Cup, Geisha in the City and Burnt Bonsai are just a few that caught my eye.
Our appetisers arrived, and we were faced with a good selection of Malayan chicken satays, tempura prawns and crispy Balinese rice balls. I had a particularly bad experience with chicken satays at a Thai restaurant earlier this year, which I didn’t think I was over yet, but I was very pleasantly surprised by them here. They were cooked through, and juicy with a char grilled finish.
The prawns were a good size, but most of the taste came from the accompanying spicy alioli. The rice balls however were a total curveball to my taste buds – they were really tasty and not what I expected at all. They had a crispy edge but full of flavour inside, and they weren’t too filling which is what would usually put me off, so I’d definitely get them again.
For mains, between us we shared beef Massaman and Kaeng Khiao Wan, which is essentially Thai Green Curry, and sticky rice. I can take some spice, but not too much and both of these dishes were perfect. The massaman was definitely more firey, but not enough to put me off. The beef was very tender and the sauce was thick and full of flavour.
At this type of restaurant I love to pick at a few things, and wish I’d had the opportunity to try out the sushi, but if you’re one for a full meal then I don’t think you’d be dissappointed with either of these as a main dish. You can view the full Sohe menu online here.
We were pretty full after all this food, and it was time for the cocktail masterclass! I’ve been to one previously where the cocktails were pre determined, so I was really chuffed to learn that here, we could make whatever we fancied off the menu.
The manager was taking the cocktail class, and explained that when they roll these out to the public he would usually make the first round, to ensure everyone has something to sip on while they wait their turn. What was great when discussing our preferred tastes, was that he was very honest when it came to what you should get. If he thought you’re better off with a gin and tonic he would say.
For our cocktail masterclass, we were given an inside look at how the Sohe staff are trained, with cocktail guides that detailed exactly how you make them, in what order and in what glass. We could then give it a go ourselves under the watchful eye of James. I’m not going to lie, I was pretty crap at the shaking! That being said between us all we conjured up some beautiful, and delicious cocktails between us.
Out of all of them, I think the watermelon margarita was a big hit, pretty in pink and blending very well into the decor of the restaurant and separate cocktail lounge.
For our final treat of the evening, we sat down with our freshly made cocktails in one of the booths for Asian High Tea. This is a relatively new concept for Sohe, combining traditional British afternoon tea with an Asian twist.
The bottom, savoury plate includes the chicken satays and rice balls that we had tried earlier, as well as a hoisin duck wrap. They were huge, and will definitely fill you up, but this is where the Asian element ends. The middle scone layer and top sweet layer were what you would usually expect from afternoon tea, and are ordered in rather than made on site.
The Asian high tea is available from Friday to Sunday between 12-5pm, it costs £17.99 each and you do need to book ahead.
Overall, I really enjoyed our evening at Sohe, and would definitely return to the restaurant or for cocktails in the lounge area. Like most places there are happy hours and drinks offers, but for somewhere that offers something a bit different along Osborne Road I would recommend a visit. I will be returning soon to try the sushi!
Disclaimer: We received complimentary food and drinks from Sohe, but as always all opinions are genuine.