Over the last six weeks I’ve made quite a big deal about our weekend food. Under normal circumstances we eat out so much and although I don’t mind cooking I have found it’s got pretty tedious having to think of every meal of every day. One of the key things that’s got me through this lockdown has been the promise of good food at the end of each week. This week I put in an order on The French Quarter marketplace.
The French Quarter is in my opinion one of Newcastle’s hidden gems, located in one of the archways right at the bottom of Westgate Rd, along from Tokyo and near Newcastle Castle Keep.
It’s not somewhere I used to eat all the time, more for an occasion, a civilised meal and catch up with a friend, date night, or if you fancy something a bit different. As the name suggests it’s a French restaurant and the food is exceptional.
The menu is made up of small plates ideal for group sharing, or to get a few to yourself. I can’t recommend the dauphinois potatoes enough. God I dream of the day we can sit in as a group and share plates again!
Of course being French, there is a very extensive wine list and based on my experience the staff are so knowledgeable about it. I’ve wanted to do one of their tasting and pairing sessions for a long time and I plan to book it pretty quickly once everywhere opens up again.
Their expertise comes from the couple behind the French Quarter, a Frenchman and his Northumberland born wife who paired their love of French food and wine to open the restaurant a few years ago. It’s definitely a great alternative to the typical restaurants you find in every city centre and that’s what I love about unique places like this.
Of course they’re closed at the moment, thanks to Covid and lockdown, but like many others they’ve adapted and are selling some of their finest products via their online and in restaurant marketplace.
The French Quarter Marketplace
Takeaways are currently paused, but the French Quarter marketplace allows you to still get your hands on enough to create a fabulously French themed lunch or evening treat, which is exactly what I did on Saturday.
A browse through their online store will show you the full hamper and gift set range of products on offer. Hampers range from £55 for a French coffee break including biscuits, coffee, tea, a cafetière and some extras, to £120 which includes two bottles of wine, mustards, chutneys, coffee and a lot more.
There are more hampers between these two extremes, as well as smaller gifts curated around individual products. Have a look at the full range here. Alternatively you can even create your own, with an empty £20 hamper that you then fill with products of your choice from the store. They would make a fabulous gift too – something a bit different.
I wanted a bit of a mix of things and I planned to open everything as soon as we got it home so I didn’t bother with a hamper on this occasion, but I did get plenty of products and it took me a while to choose which. I could easily have spent a fortune especially if you get caught up in the wines, but there’s a really good range of other things too.
We eventually narrowed it down to a tub of mixed olives, a Camembert, a jar of red onion chutney, a bag of their ground coffee and a bottle of red wine recommended by the restaurant to go with it all.
There were so many other things we could have got I had to exercise some serious restraint especially around the cheeses, but my biggest regret is not getting one of the pâtés. Next time for sure.
Order & Collection
You can place your order at any point online, but collection days are only on Wednesdays and Saturdays. You choose a time slot and pay when you order. Here’s the link to the marketplace section of the website.
When I collected it’s all very safe with sanitiser at the door, and the front of the restaurant has been transformed into a display of the hampers and a little shop marketplace area of all the products. I got chatting to the staff who said they are hoping to open another venue and a shop in the future, which is really exciting I hope they do.
A French Lunch at Home
To go with our order I’d bought some fresh bread, crackers and cold meats so we basically just lay it all out on the coffee table and had a picky lunch.
The Camembert came in a little dish with instructions on cooking, and with every order you get an envelope full of tasting notes for all the products and wines. It’s so well done.
I loved the wine to go with it, even though I don’t usually drink red so early in the day. It went down very nicely with the food we had, and let’s just say our days drinking went from there. We very much needed the fresh coffee on Sunday morning.
All of it was delicious, but the red onion chutney was so good I’ll be ordering that again definitely.
It was a nice change to have something new with excellent quality products that have more about them than your average supermarket lunch. And of course it’s always nice to be supporting our independent businesses and restaurants at the same time.
We are booked to go to Paris this year and at the moment I think we are going to have to move it to later in the year, but this lunch really made me excited to go. I could picture us sat at a tiny table outside a French cafe having food and good wine, so doing something like this a good way to transport yourself away from the same four walls for a couple of hours.
Highly recommend the French Quarter for both your taste buds and the need for some escapism.