Saturday 12 July 2014

Allard's Lounge, Front Street, Tynemouth, Tyneside

An eclectic, exuberant cafe-bar on Tynemouth's Front Street, Allard's Lounge serves a decent selection of seafood, meat and vegetable tapas. There are a few tables outside, but head inside for some buzz and bling. With a very high ceiling, the lounge bar is decorated with skull and cross bones wallpaper, glittering chandeliers, back-lit, gold-framed mirrors and Arts and Crafts padded benches. Claim some seats and then order at the bar, where there is Moretti beer on tap. Among the tapas, the plump king prawns in a creamy chilli sauce (£5.95) pack flavour, as does the patatas bravas, which is served with a big dollop of alioli and tomato sauce. You can also get pots of tasty seafood or chicken paella (both £4.95), while the halloumi and chorizo (£3.95) is salty, but succulent. Be sure to order the chips, which are fat juicy wedges of potato: some of the best you'll find. And the olives in garlic (£2.95) are plump and moreish. But avoid the lamb on skewers, served with a creamy mint sauce, which can be disappointing - the meat may be tough and dry.  Order enough tapas and it might be accompanied by some passable bread and olives. Allard's can get very busy and the service brusque. Although the food can take a while, this cafe-bar has enough atmosphere to keep you well entertained. 8/10