Seeing as it sits at the entrance to Jesmond’s Osborne Road and the rest of the road’s many hotels and bars, it’s amazing that I had never eaten at The Cherry Tree. That all changed this festive season, however, when Man About Toon grabbed the last table on a wintery Friday night to test out the restaurant’s Christmas menu. And it certainly didn’t leave us out in the cold.
Opened in 2008, the eatery itself is homely but with modern touches, wooden flooring throughout its ground floor and mezzanine balcony, separated by a domineering spiral staircase and glass balustrade. On arrival our coats were taken (a small touch which can make a big difference, other restaurants could note) and we were shown immediately to our table. No waiting around – good start. After a complimentary cup of hot mulled cider or wine, we plumped for a couple of bottles of French white and a bottle of fizz. A pianist played beautifully throughout dinner giving a real Christmas feel to the place.
To start, we ate tempura king prawns with crab satay, pickled Asian veg and lime. Not your typical festive fare, but a favourite nonetheless. The tempura batter on the prawns was light and not greasy at all, the satay added an unusual edge and any fish overkill that could have occurred was curbed by the pickled veg. Up next was a main of confit duck leg with sautéed potatoes, braised red cabbage and green beans accompanied by a plum jus. In a word: spectacular. Duck can be difficult meat to get right and a lot of people are wary of ordering it in a restaurant, never mind cooking it themselves. This, however, fell off the bone beautifully and had a texture as smooth as the jus on top of it. The accompanying veg were tasty but the duck was the main event. I would definitely order it again, although the waitress said this particular dish isn’t always available. So if you see it, get it!
We declined the offer of dessert (too full!) but with a dark chocolate torte, a selection ice creams and a cheese board with their homemade chutney on offer, we could have easily been swayed. The Christmas pudding with salted caramel brandy butter looked good enough to, well, eat.
The Cherry Tree is an all rounder. Beautiful exteriors and interiors are backed up by fantastic food and service to boot. This five star dining experience is not just for Christmas.
The Christmas menu is available until December 24. For opening hours and to view their menu, go to their website here