Last week, I was thrilled to be invited to the launch of El Nido Kitchen – a brand new pop-up kitchen at No. 28 Newcastle! For all those burger and cocktail fans out there, you’ve probably already visited this quirky bar above the Grainger Market when Meat:Stack (currently in the process of moving to The Dog and Parrot) were residents. But now, No. 28 have paired up with Kaltur, a fantastic Spanish/Mediterranean restaurant, supplier and street food business, to create El Nido Kitchen.
There’s no denying that No. 28 is a really cool place to enjoy your dinner. Every time I visit, I’m wowed by the ceiling decked in vines, the huge glitterball and wacky décor. There’s even seating made out of single beds! Along with the rest of the North East blogerati and social media influencers, I headed along to No. 28 to try out their new pop-up venture and the exciting things offered on El Nido’s menu.
After a few glasses of fizz and a catch up, we were first treated to the most amazing meat and cheese board. This was absolute charcuterie goals! Spanish hams, cured meats from all over the Mediterranean, Manchego cheese, blue cheese, marinated olives, crusty bread and plenty of piquitos – there was quite a scramble to nab the best bits of the board!
Next came plates full of patatas bravas. Whenever I’m eating out at a Spanish restaurant, this dish is always my go-to tapas option – fried/roasted potatoes drizzled with a fiery tomato sauce and aioli. Delicious! El Nido’s patatas bravas certainly didn’t disappoint. The potatoes were crispy and the sauces both packed a punch, just as they should.
What came out next caused a bit of a stir… nobody was quite sure what it was at first! We were kindly told that what we had in front of us was in fact tempura aubergine with a kind of balsamic glaze. I don’t often tend to go for vegetarian dishes (patatas bravas being the exception of course) but I’m telling you here and now, this aubergine dish has converted me! Fantastically salty and crispy with that sweet, balsamic sauce; I could’ve quite happily demolished the entire plate without sharing.
You’d think by this point that I’d be full! But oh no – in fact, I couldn’t contain my excitement when I saw that we were next being treated to tempura calamari with aioli. Although the calamari was really tasty, I think this was the only dish I was slightly disappointed with. I think the squid could’ve been cut a bit thinner, as the bigger rings were a tiny bit on the chewy side. Amazing flavour though and the batter was lovely.
We finished our evening with El Nido Kitchen and No. 28 off with some first-class croquetas (another Spanish favourite of mine) and churros. By this point, we were all very merry thanks to the copious amounts of fizz and wonderful Mediterranean food: a successful evening all in all.
What I’ve described in this blog post is only a portion of the great menu that El Nido are offering customers. The tapas dishes seemed to me to be very reasonable prices, as did the sharing boards. There are only a small handful of independent Spanish and tapas restaurants/kitchens in Newcastle and I think El Nido is a fantastic addition.
The combination of Kaltur’s expertise in Spanish food and produce and the fantastic drinking/dining environment that No.28 offers, is a real winner for me. I’ll be back for sure!
(Please Note: this was a complimentary meal/experience as part of a blogger/PR event).