Over the last month or so I’d been seeing and hearing a lot of people recommending Branches in Jesmond for Sunday dinner. With my crazy few weeks travel in March coming to an end I was dying for a normal Sunday in Newcastle, with a good Sunday roast and a few drinks so we booked up for last week.
Getting out of the Uber on Osborne Road in the sunshine for a drink before our reservation, it finally felt like spring has arrived. We went to one of the bars for a pre dinner pint then walked along to Branches, which for those who aren’t sure is where Cherry Tree used to be.
We were asked to have a drink at the bar when we got there, and I actually wish we had known it was such a nice bar area beforehand as I think we would have just gone straight there rather than further along the road.
There’s tables and high window seats but we sat at the bar, where I ordered the gin special, Tanqueray 10 with juniper, pomegranate and pink grapefruit. It was honestly absolutely lush and one of the nicest gins I’ve had in a while.
Looking around the restaurant it’s bright, modern and airy, all white and the huge centrepiece white blossom tree really does make it a beautiful environment.
When our table was ready we were taken upstairs, where there are more tables overlooking the giant tree from above, and a private dining area which looked to have a birthday party in.
The Sunday dinner menu has the option of one course £14.95, two courses £22.95 or three for £25.95, as well as a few specials of the day too.
Starters include beetroot salad with goats cheese, chicken liver pate with caramelised onions and black truffle dressing, soup of the day with warm bread and fish cakes with lemon mayo. Kieran went for the fish cake, but the special was prawn cocktail so obviously I had to have that.
Kieran’s starter wasn’t the biggest portion, as there was only one fish cake but he said it tasted excellent and wasn’t disappointed. My prawn cocktail was a good size, and I really liked how it wasn’t stuffed with loads of lettuce and not many prawns. The prawns were proper chunky king prawns in a light dressing, it was lovely.
For mains we both ordered the traditional sirloin of beef, with all the trimmings, but other options on the menu include Yorkshire chicken breast, roast loin of black pork, and the vegetarian option was spring vegetable risotto. All come with roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings, red cabbage, and seasonal veg.
What I really liked though is that cauliflower cheese comes as standard, so you don’t have to order it as an extra. This meant we had the choice of other sides and went for the creamy mash and pigs in blankets.
Seeing those on the menu was a very pleasant surprise. We ordered a bottle of red to go with our beef lunches as well.
I’ve no idea how we managed to get through all that food. Portions were very generous and excellent quality. I’ve just realised as well that we didn’t order extra gravy, it came with a big jug of it which I think is a first, we are usually always asking for more.
The beef comes either pink or not pink, and I had a couple of comments when I shared a photo that mine looked too pink, but I honestly don’t think it was. If you like medium rare it’s absolutely fine, but if not then go for the ‘not pink’ option. I also had a few comments about the presence of pigs in blankets, I think they’d be a hit for anyone (except veggies obviously!)
I think when you eat somewhere like this you do realise how some places just plonk everything on when it comes to Sunday dinner. Don’t get me wrong that’s perfect and all you want sometimes on a hungover Sunday desperate for comfort food, but for a more restaurant, finer dining without being too posh experience this was perfect.
The food was such good quality and we had plenty wine left that despite feeling full we decided to have all three courses and go for desert too. We were going to order just one to share but then the menu came and we had to get two as we couldn’t choose.
Options include lemon and lime cheesecake, selection of cheeses with apple chutney, sticky toffee pudding with toffee and ice cream, and double chocolate brownie with ice cream.
A very difficult choice but we got the cheesecake and the sticky toffee pudding. I’ve never seen a desert presented so beautifully before, with drops of the sauce and little flower petals on the plate. Again don’t mistake this for pretentiousness it absolutely isn’t, it was amazing. We were absolutely stuffed by this point so had no room for coffees.
Our whole meal, including a round of drinks at the bar when we got there, and a £30 bottle of wine came to just over £100 with a 15% tip. I think this is good for the whole experience and the amount of food we ate over three courses, not to mention the exceptional quality.
It’s no Sunday lunch pub, it’s a nice restaurant with the option to dress up a bit if you want, perfect for an occasion or longer eating experience over a few hours, or just a treat for a Sunday afternoon out.
I think the price and service reflects that too, without being over priced. Afterwards you could head out along Osborne Road, watch the football, or easily get into Newcastle city centre.
I wouldn’t usually directly compare restaurants, but a lot of people who know how much we love the Broad Chare for Sunday dinner have asked us which we prefer, and honestly they’re as good as each other but for different reasons depending what you’re looking for.
If you want a more casual afternoon, with some pints and more pub style environment and bar snack starters I’d go for the Broad Chare, but if you want a more restaurant style experience with a menu to match and incredible deserts I’d go for Branches.
I’ve recommended it to quite a few people since, and Kieran tried to book it for Mother’s Day tomorrow but sadly they were fully booked. We really want to go back to try the normal evening restaurant menu so hopefully we will get back there soon. For Sunday dinner it was a big hit and is currently joint top of my list for places in Newcastle that serve a cracking Sunday roast.
Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, we paid for our entire meal and drinks ourselves.
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