Blowing our Trumpet
(October 2003) Voted in top 18 bars in the country.
(November 2003) Won Best New Bar in the North of England.
(Beating the likes of Harvey Nichols, Manchester).
(January 2003) Voted best bar in Newcastle.
The Independent Magazine.
(February 2004) Won Best New Restaurant 2003.
(March 2004) Top 50 Bars in Europe.
Theme bar & restaurant awards 03/04 Best New Bar
Apartment in Newcastle
“It’s fantastic to see a Newcastle bar getting a share of the limelight.
Thank you to theme magazine for their support and Blueprint Design
for making Apartment a reality”.
Nominations: Rosetti Basement Bar in Manchester, Tea Factory Bar
& Kitchen in Liverpool. Bluu in Liverpool and Popolo in Newcastle.
Aug 22 2003
By Richard Ord
Much is being made of Apartment which has only just opened its doors on the site of the former Hooties in Collingwood Street. And from what I could make of it in one visit, it's living up to its billing.
It is modern, upbeat, lively and laid back but, most importantly, the food is very good.
Apartment is all very modern, but it has also been well thought out. Taking his inspiration from various clubs, bars and restaurants around the country, owner Duncan Fisher has cherry picked the things he liked and put them all under one roof. And they certainly come together well and appear to be attracting the upwardly mobile and clubby 20 to thirtysomething style-conscious crowd. In fact, the night we were in it was if they had bussed in the beautiful people from St Tropez - which made me look like the deckchair attendant.
There was live music on the night and the place was jumping. The Apartment may not be the place to take your granny for a quiet evening but for the trendy young things it's the current place to be. For those of us who fall between those two stools, you'll not be disappointed.
At a glance
VALUE FOR MONEY: Good
Jul 27 2003
By Matt Mckenzie
The Apartment opened in Newcastle on Friday and its quota of 100 memberships at �0 a year has already sold out.
Though the venue's front room is reserved for members, its main bar is open to all even if not many of them will be able to afford its pricier offerings.
At �0 a bottle, its Dom Perignon 1959 vintage Champagne is believed to be the most expensive drink in the region.
The venue is split up into areas intended to resemble the different rooms of an apartment, including a dining room run by David Kennedy, formerly head chef at the renowned 21 Queen Street restaurant on the city's Quayside.
Father-of-one Duncan said he wanted to bring a new concept to the party capital of the UK.
He said: "It's an aspirational thing really. We don't want to be elitist. It's a members bar but anyone else can come too.
Apartment life most agreeable
Apartment describes itself as a “vibrant’, individual and uncompromisingly modern” suite of rooms, each with a different atmosphere.
The Main Bar Room is where you go to see and be seen, the Bedroom is for chilling out, the
Gallery Room for the art lover, the Front Room for pre-dinner drinks and cocktails.
But the Dining Room is where we were heading, out of the driving rain and into the sleek,
sophisticated warmth of the in-est place in town. The January diet was going well and my companion was confident that a measured break from starvation rations was allowed.
Good old George Duboeuf was there with his curvee (12.50) and sat with us as we scanned the menu. My companion leaned towards wild mushroom and fine bean salad with sun-blushed tomatoes (£5.50), but the tempura of smoked salmon and lentils with lemon oil dressing (£7.50) beckoned and she dithered.
She settled on neither but chose the salad of crumbled Yorkshire blue cheese, grilled Italian bacon and garlic croutons (£6.00). To follow she chose a very restrained sea bass, fresh pasta, oven-dried tomatoes,black olives and shaved parmesan (£16.80) and some healthy spinach (£2.50).
My starter was easy – king prawn “Apartment Style”, a bit pricey at £8.50, but time would tell its value. The main course was more of a problem. The breast of duck, celariac puree, spinach and roasted apple (£17.50) was in the frame, as was the monkfish, crushed new potatoes, borlotti bean and vegetable broth (£17.50).
The agony of choosing was resolved by going for confit and loin of lamb, fondant potato and garlic-lamb vinaigrette (£16.50). Having managed the hardest tasks, we sat back and took in the surroundings. Retro-chic and ultra-modern mixed comfortably in the deep red, furry lampshades and flat screen fire video – a humorous take on the hearth. A bevy of black-clad model-beautiful staff busied themselves with a stream of bar customers and diners.
Our table was ready. Some wonderful walnut bread and blessedly room temperature butter and we are ready for out starters.
My prawn cocktail took my breath away. Such an elegant take on its tired, 1960’s ancestor. This was zinging with Chef David Kennedy’s style. Three, lusciously plump, golden-crisp prawns curled on a bed of fresh salad leaves. Hiding in the crisp salad was a surprising crushed avocado and chilli and lime puree, which added dimension and adventure to the dish. It was fabulous.
My companion was just as happy with her creamy blue cheese nestling in sprightly, crisp salad alongside tangy salt bacon, grilled to perfection and, therefore, having no calories. Even the garlic croutons were so expertly cooked that their crispness belied any previous contact with oil.
She was happy, I was happy, George was going well and the place was really coming alive. After a leisurely interval our entrees arrived. My lamb was presented on a three-stage sculpture. The rectangular plate had a mound of feathery soft lamb next to a timbale of potato with a crescent of roasted garlic on the top, beside three slices of pink, succulent loin. This dish hit all the spots. The meat was cooked to perfection, the fondant potato was just what it needed to flourish and the understated presentation showed Kennedy’s confidence in the dish.
My companion was equally happy with her sea bass; rich red tomatoes studded round a swirled eddy of pasta with a generous triangle of fish on top, finished off with shaved strips of Parmesan cheese set at a rakish angle. A masterful design reminiscent of one of those Ascot race hats from My Fair Lady. It tasted as good as it looked and my companion was very happy. The waistband was bearing up well as we
moved on to dessert. So much temptation and so little time willpower. Iced vanilla and chestnut parfait (£4.50) ginger sticky toffee pudding (£4.50) or calorie-sensible British cheeses with grapes and celery (£6.50). Apricot and brioche pudding with vanilla custard (£5.50) for her hot chocolate pudding with white chocolate ice cream (£5.50) for me.
If life could get better, it just did. The intense sweetness of the fruit combined with fluffy cake-bread was delicious. The custard was a little too sweet for my companion’s taste but she was very satisfied.
My chocolate pudding was saturated with rich flavours. Cutting through the mound of sponge revealed a melted chocolate heart that pooled onto the plate. The ice cream offset and added to the experience. A rich, rich treat.
A couple of coffees and the bill (£78.71) and we decided to walk home in the hope that the
god of slimming would appeased.
Metro Life, August 2003
Membership has superb privileges
A new addition to Newcastle’s nightlife scene always sends food lovers into a spin, but there’s been little of late to create such a buzz as Apartment, Duncan Fisher’s latest enterprise at the former site of Hooties.
Comprising The Living Room, The Gallery, The Front Room and The Dining Room, Apartment is attempting to sell itself as a member only experience (chooses between a yearly charge of £200 for an access-all-areas VIP membership or a complimentary privilege membership), although we did wandered into the bar area unregistered and without any questions asked. As the city’s first members-only bar, Apartment enjoyed a fair amount of hype prior to its opening two weeks ago, and has instantly begun to attract those with higher social aspirations.
To have to part with your personnel details merely to get your hands on a pint does sound somewhat pretentious, and it was
for this reason that we sat at our table – with sexy low lighting and brown leather seating aplenty – in The Dining Room with an air of scepticism.
It was only a matter of minutes, however, before we were seduced by two stunning and justifiably expensive cocktails. Apartment No1, a concoction of Pimm’s, Bombay Sapphire gin and ginger, with whole blackberries bobbing on its surface (£4.50), and an Apple Martini, made with fresh apples, pulped right before our eyes (£5.95). Sipping our drinks, we were pleasantly surprised by the understated nature of our surroundings; a plush mixture of cosy and trendy, with plenty of foliage, mirrored walls and thankfully unobtrusive jazz infused house soundtrack drifting over from the bar area.
From the menu, overseen by former 21 Queen Street head chef David Kennedy, we opted for an Apartment style prawn cocktail (£7.50) and smoked duck spring rolls with a watercress and beansprout salad (£6.50). A racy little number, the prawn cocktail was rather special, arriving with five tempura king prawns balanced around a cocktail glass. The generously portioned duck, meanwhile, was extremely well suited to the oriental-style spring rolls, with a dense and musky flavour.
After a due pause and a glass of Chilean red wine (Carmenere Santa Rita, £3.90), we gazed at our colourful and glistening main courses: char-grilled marinated sirloin steak (£16) and a loin of lamb with crushed olive potatoes, braised leeks and rosemary (£15.50). Any hope of pouring scorn on the wonton trendiness of Apartment was, by this point utterly lost. My steak was lean and mouth-watering tasty, with the chargrilling sealing in the smoky flavours, and was accompanied by just the right amount of chunky, fluffy chips and a well-dressed mixed salad. The lamb – baby pink and literally melting in the mouth was served with plenty of rosemary.
We failed to hide our contentedness from our genuinely friendly and attentive waiter as he
professionally removed our plates and offered us a breather. Soon, though, we began tucking into a sticky toffee pudding with hot toffee sauce (£4.00), which was easily generous enough for two to share.
Had we been offered any more courses, we could well have been tempted, such was the standard.
However we had reached the end of a meal that ultimately provided us with superb quality and real value for money. Given a couple of ‘buy one, get one free’ lunch vouchers on our departure, we left more than satisfied and sure to return.
28-32 Collingwood Street, Newcastle upon Tyne. Tel: +44 (0) 191 230 1022.
Swanky loft apartment-style bar: 揹ining room� restaurant and 揻ront room� cocktail lounge. Main bar for non-members.