When you think about The Herb Garden you'll probably imagine one of the following; beautiful stonebaked pizzas, rustic salads, or Herby, the resident model horse who guards the entrance.

Well, that's not all they should be famous for, believe me. Yesterday I was invited to sample their newest sharing board, The Aphrodisiac Sharer, a smorgasboard of indulgent dishes that will have you all loved up this February - a perfect treat for Valentine's Day.

What do you get?

  • Fillet steak
  • Strawberry, mozzarella and basil pot
  • Scallops wrapped in pancetta, drizzled with mint and lemon butter
  • Watermelon with parma ham, feta and mint
  • Fresh pasta with a sun-blushed tomato, chilli and walnut pesto
  • Seabass fillets on avacado and lime cream - topped with cherry tomatoes, almonds, mint, pinenuts and lemon
  • Rocket, sun-blushed tomato and red onion salad
  • Dessert of your choice

What was it like?

Before I dive into the nitty gritty of the food, I think it's worth mentioning a bit about the place - for those who have never been.

The Herb Garden is visually stunning; its natural decor is a combination of woodern furtniture, lantern lampshades and garden-style accessories, including, unsurprisingly, its very own mini herb garden display.

Now, onto the food! Yum, yum, yum.

When someone places a plank full of fresh meat, fish, pasta and salad in front of you, it's pretty hard to decide where to start and what course of action to take. But for me, my carnivorous side could not look further than the fillet steak.

And WOW! It was perfect. Seasonsed incredibly well and cooked medium-rare, just the way I like it. It stole the show, from the very first bite, I knew every other element of this platter would have to be special to beat it.

Now onto the pasta, oh the pasta, what a joy. Soft, fresh and bursting with flavours of walnut pesto - something I have never encountered but would highly recommend.

Those were the stand outs, without a doubt, but the rest of the dishes really complemented each other. The seabass was fantastic and worked so well with the rocket salad, which was zesty and punchy from the lime and red onion.

The scallops offered a contrast, with buttery flavours of lemon and mint, as well as that salty taste and crispy texture of pancetta.

Somewhat to my surprise, the strawberries and watermelon were not lost on this board, in fact they offered a lovely fresh and palate-cleansing taste in between dishes. Although the watermelon, combined with the parma ham and feta, would work well as a standalone (in fact, I might steal this idea for a starter).

Desserts are optional, and I can see why. We opted against them and admitted defeat in the face of this monstrous, but spectacular, array of food. However, I've heard on the grapevine that their puddings are rather special - just another excuse to revisit.

Summary? Visit this place and do it soon! If you're looking for something special this Valentine's Day then I'd go for this platter, but I have no doubts that whenever you visit and whatever you eat, you will not be disappointed.

How much is it?

The Aphrodisiac Sharer will cost you £48, excluding your drinks and any extras.

The average cost of a main course is around £10, with side orders approximately £4.

Where is it?

The Herb Garden is tucked away in arches behind Central Station and a stone's throw away from the Castle Keep. It's full address is: Arch 8, Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SA.

When is it open?

It's open throughout the week (Monday - Sunday) from 11.30am.

How do I book?

The Herb Garden operates a walk in restaurant policy, so there's no need to book. Just rock up, grab a seat and enjoy some amazing food. It does get busy, so make sure to plan a little leeway for waiting time. 

Where can I find out more?

You can find out more by visiting their website www.theherbgardenuk.com, via their Facebook and Twitter, or by picking up the phone and dialing 0191 222 0491.

You can also drop them an email at admin@theherbgardenuk.com or privatedining@theherbgardenuk.com if you have any private dining enquiries.

By David Morton

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