I recommend the Comfort Food Company in Pudding Chare, Newcastle. It's a special little restaurant tucked away in a back street. Blink and you'd miss the place - it's the size of a small mini-cab office.
It was started by Tom and Emily Sillar a couple of years ago. They came to Newcastle because they saw the north-east as a place to get the quality ingredients they wanted. They're very friendly and very knowledgeable about their food. The menu lists all their suppliers, most of whom are local. They've covered the walls in terrible paintings by first-year art students - if the conversation is a little dull, you can let your mind wander into the dreadful multicoloured landscapes around you.
I first went there with my wife one evening in November last year. I had two magical moments in that meal. The taste, the temperature, everything came together in a transcendent moment. That happens so rarely. I think it was just the way the lamb was cooked. Perfect. I had lemon tart for pudding. The pastry was peerless and the lemon had just the right level of attack. I'm sounding like a food critic here, but I'm pretty sure I just made that phrase up.
I was also tempted by the chorizo flageolet and savoy cabbage casserole, followed by a sticky ginger pudding - good for a cold day.
COMFORT FOOD CO
24 Pudding Chare, Newcastle-upon-Tyne
0191 261 1525
Lunch menu, three courses £15.95
Rack of Broom House lamb £18.95
Jamie Warde-Aldman is creative director at Cravens and editor of
Hotspur, a parish magazine