‘Ernest is an independent cafe bar situated in the top end of the Ouseburn; we do our very best to serve up honest food, drink, music and art. We are open everyday 10am until late for breakfast, lunch, dinner, drinking and dancing.’
Even people in Newcastle, native Geordies, haven’t heard of this place. And that needs to change, because it is simply one of my favourite places to eat. One of my best friends lives literally next door to this place, I can see it from her bedroom window, and it’s a firm fixture that we head here for brunch post girls night. I chose this café-bar for my breakfast brunch last week. This place will be 10 minutes from me next year, and so it’s a good thing they do student discount…
Ernest serve good, honest food. They do all day breakfasts, vegan and vegetarian suitable food, pescetarian options, and some stunning meaty options too. The food is homemade, fresh, and local and seasonal where possible. I recommend the natural smoked haddock on sourdough with spinach and two poached eggs, the eggs eclipso (two poached eggs on slow cooked tomatoes and peppers with flatbread on the side), and most definitely the sweet potato fries. Their eggs are always perfectly cooked, with runny golden centres, and their fries are never greasy, the presentation in on point every single time. I have eaten a lot of sweet potato fries in my time, and these are THE BEST. Better than Pitcher and Piano, better Fat Hippo, and better than Giraffe. They’re the best I can get without making them myself (because I am slightly bias and love my smoked paprika and chilli on them)- they’re also one of the most liked pictures on my IG feed. The staff are happy to accommodate tastes: I hate hollandaise and so they always leave it off for me, and I prefer wholemeal or sourdough to white bread- of which you get a choice depending what they have in. If you take a look at the specials board you may be lucky enough to get your hands on a super food saturated salad, or the kippers on sourdough toast. I’m always tempted by the salads, but the kippers are huge, tender, and juicy. It’s an internal battle every bloody time. Another tempting topic is that of cakes. There are always cakes on the counter: coffee and walnut, carrot cake, scones, the most amazing looking brownies loaded with nuts, and gorgeously gooey blondies- they change every time I’m in. Unfortunately I’ve always been too stuffed to try even a bite, although believe me I have seriously considered buying one of everything. Coffees and teas. We must talk coffee and tea. There is a selection of teas written above the bar area, and there are some I’ve never tried before: pineapple and coconut being one. I’m stuck on the stinging mint one for now. If it’s not tea, then I’ll be ordering a cappuccino- again one of the loveliest cappuccinos I’ve ever tried. Ernest are also licenced, and serve a variety of different beverages to choose from later in the day. They do music nights, something my friend and I are definitely trying in the near future (she doesn’t know this yet).
Now, to the staff and the café itself. The staff are friendly- and not in that really annoying over-every-two-minutes way. They’re over to check your food is okay and magically alert to when you need them to appear, but aren’t going to ruin your meal by hovering. One time I visited there was a mistake made on my friends order, and they didn’t charge us for her meal at all. Which was brilliant considering it was virtually the same thing as the dish she’d originally chosen, but more expensive. The outside of Ernest is painted with a picture if Darth Vader holding (I believe) a tray with wine on it. Next to some buckets of colourful flowers. That should indicate what a quirky-cool place this is. If it doesn’t then get this: inside there is an eclectic mix of comfy squashy sofas, chairs, board games, bare light bulbs, disco balls, mirrors, a lime green wall or two, a cabinet of star wars figures, and a blow up kangaroo.
Overall this is a place to bring friends for a slap up meal, or a drink on an evening- I definitely feel it’s more of student and adult place due to the chilled out vibe. More so than somewhere to park a pram with a screaming kid inside. Although if your child is well behaved then maybe it could be perfect for you too. My point is that Ernest is most definitely student friendly. This student is making her way there on Friday to bid Newcastle farewell for the summer- with some of the finest food this city has to offer.