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Restaurant review: Sohe, Jesmond, Newcastle upon TyneAmbition, boldness and complexity make for a winning combination at Jesmond’s new Asian restaurant
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People say I’m lucky to live in Jesmond.
Not so. Some of the most idiotic students in Britain (in my humble opinion) have moved in a few doors down from me, rendering sleep damn near impossible, what with the incessant 2am calls of “Ollie!” and “Jules!” and the clump, clump, clump of Ugg boots attached to drunken legs. Ugh.
The nearby Osborne Road doesn’t offer much solace. So so bars. Orange client What’s all the fuss about?
In saying that, this walk through the valley of the absence of taste has long featured a few little gems and with recent additions like Jam Jar conceptually strong and discriminating on quality I’ve had a feeling that things were on the up.
In this context, welcome Sohe, an ambitious blend of traditional Asian cuisine with a quintessentially English setting and hip, modern d Actually, ‘hip’ isn’t fair. With its futuristic bar, the consistent inconsistency of its furnishings and some interesting choices of lighting, we were certainly struck by its boldness.
Sohe’s crispy beef with hot Vietnamese and pink peppercorn sauce
But it works. It feels uncontrived, high spec and, oddly enough, even restful although we’d perhaps suggest ditching the seventies disco soundtrack, which, for whatever reason, conjured up images of moustached tradesmen offering to fix pretty ladies’ plumbing.
Anyway, the menu.
Divine all round. Not huge, but enough in itself to intoxicate the senses. Delicate, complex dishes abound the kind that hit the tastebuds from all angles.
That, at least, was the concept behind my starter, crispy beef with hot Vietnamese and pink peppercorn table sauce ( Beautifully presented, it came with it fine mix of greenery and goodness, the cooling freshness of which was alas drowned in the sheer searing heat of the dish.
The tempura prawns starter at Sohe in Jesmond
Now, it could be said that I’m laughably ignorant of Vietnamese beef traditions, but, even with my world famous taste for the fiery, I found myself getting through a disproportionate amount of complementary water, which, interestingly, contained slices of cucumber.
The Female Dining Counterpart, meanwhile, landed on her feet.
Tempura king prawns with wasabi and yuzu dip ( Simple. But, in this case, highly, highly effective.
I got try one myself and can honestly say it was the finest of its kind I have ever experienced melt in the mouth perfection. I thought I’d died and gone to gone to heaven (then I remembered: the whole endless sinning thing.).
On to the mains and the Counterpart scored again, this time wrapping her chops around a Chiang Rai curry with seabass and prawn ( “This is the best thing ever,” she kept saying and I assure you she meant it.
Again, I dug in and was hugely impressed warming, sophisticated and elegantly balanced.
My twice cooked duck leg with caramelised lemongrass and chilli sauce ( was also a clear hit, demonstrating nicely how clean, visually appealing food doesn’t need to be swamped in anything to provide big flavours and satisfying texture.
All it needed was the side portion of sticky rice, which, needless to say, was just perfect.
Sohe’s twice cooked duck leg with caramelised lemongrass and chilli sauce
By the time our waitress spot on throughout the night asked us if we fancied dessert, I had my eye on the splendid range of cocktails, of which I’d heard good things.
In the end, though, I stuck with a bottle of Asahi ( and agreed to share a warm hickory smoked dark chocolate and star anise tort with vanilla bean ice cream ( The way I saw it was that if she hit the culinary jackpot again at least she was taking me with her.