Last Thursday I had the pleasure of visiting Bonbar, The Assembly Rooms located in Newcastle City Centre to sample their new cocktail and food menu! The Assembly Rooms of which is Georgian building, has been a Newcastle landmark for almost 250 years. Throughout its years it has always been remembered as a place of luxury for its guest’s and a premier location for corporate and social functions.
I’ve been to Bonbar a few times, once for a few drinks and another time for a meal. I remember when I first visited the place, my first initial thoughts were how grand the interior and layout of it was. It really does have a certain atmosphere about it, by that I mean its grace and grand-ness. It presents that this isn’t just any old grimy bar in Newcastle City Centre, it has a certain class about it. The bar area is a huge island in the middle of the room which is almost like a centre piece, decorative lights, glass display, mirrors around the edges. It’s certainly something to look at! Surrounding the island is the booths kitted out in grey leather, walls with vintage and aged patterns (the Georgian design), and glitzy chandeliers. It’s like a dining room Pinterest heaven! So, when I was invited down to the exclusive grand reveal of their new menus I was over the moon to say the least. The food I’d had in the past was fabulous so I was extremely excited to see what their latest menu had to offer.
I headed down around 8ish with my Mam and was greeted by their lovely staff whom ticked my name of their list, then we were handed a glass of champagne. A good start! Staff were so welcoming and just generally happy, there’s nothing worse than grumpy staff is there? We waited a short while before being seated, a chance to relax and take in our surroundings. The place was busy, but it wasn’t crammed meaning atmosphere was booming, an air of energy spread around the place. I was sat with another local blogger, Steph from StephanieFox in a booth, this might sound taunting but the booths are huge so I didn’t feel like I was sitting on her knee! We were then greeted by more staff whom explained to us about the new menu and how it’s being based on sharing, their focus is socializing, the vision is to get people together on a night out, having a bite to eat (lining stomachs ha!) in their fine dining setting complete a range of funky cocktails to try. We were told we’d be sampling all dishes, not full dishes, sharing portions which made me feel less stressed instantly because there was so much selection… I wanted every single one of the starters ha! My taste buds were certainly excited. Before food was served we had some appetisers which consisted of mixed seasoned nuts, edamame beans (the best I’ve ever tried infact) and mixed olives.
To wash my food down, I decided to order a ‘Geordie Porn Star Martini’, one my favourite cocktails. I read the cocktail recipe with a pinch of salt I did have a warning about being explicit and I did read the words Lambrini but I didn’t take it seriously…. So when this came I was kinda’ shocked. I literally laughed out loud, the bar staff have got Newcastle and Geordie style down to T in this cocktail, it actually was a Geordie Porn Star plus a shot of Lambrini, a drink that the North East is notoriously associated with!
Next the starter came, which was a mixture of the below treats:
- Baby back pork ribs, bourbon glass slaw
- Dolcelatte stuffed mushrooms
- Char grilled halloumi, sweet chilli sauce
- Chicken liver parfait, toasted brioche, piccalilli
- Hummus, crispy flatbread
- Salmon mousse, pickled cucumber
They were all so delicious, but my favourite has to be the stuffed mushrooms. The blend of garlic and fresh cress and soft cheese, melted into my mouth! I also loved the halloumi, it was cooked to perfection and the sweet buttery base seeped into the chilli sauce creating a gorgeous taste.
After a little wait we then had a mixture of the mains, which were:
- Prine Northumbrian aged sirlion steak (medium/rare)
- Flattened and griddled roast chicken
- Pig out – Slow cooked pork belly, chops
- Char grilled largge fresh water tiger prawns
Again an excellent selection of exciting flavours! I just loved the presentation of it all, it was better than tapas. My favourite part of the sharing board was most definitely the steak… OH EM GE. The steak was perfectly done, cripsy on the outside and juicy inside.
As a little dessert shall we say, I tried one last cocktail the ‘Mystical Garden‘. Yup, you’ve guessed it there was gin in there plus a little bit of elderflower and strong explosion of cucumber. This cocktail is the type you Boomerang on Instagram, it came in a flower pot box oozing with dry ice which came with a water can, giving is a real wow factor. The waiter then went onto to tell us the cocktail is inspired by the local Jesmond Dene… how creative.
All in all, a fantastic evening at Bonbar. The atmosphere was relaxed yet booming, it’s a very modern and chic location which amazing selection of cocktails plus yummy food AND isn’t going cost you an a bomb. I’m 100% returning with my boyfriend for date night! Huge thank you to their team for inviting me down!