I must be the last person in the North East to visit Newcastle’s ’boutique’ bowling alley, Lane7. Since first opening in late 2013, I’ve heard mixed things about the venue as a whole but never a bad word has been said about the food. To say I’m bad at bowling would be an understatement, and as for Craig, I just don’t think ball games are his thing. After spotting the menu online, I was very keen to head along for a Valentine’s treat it seemed to be the perfect mix of bbq meats/American-style cuisine but with a wide variety of gluten free options – two things which are rarely seen in the same place.
We arrived at 7pm, which is clearly peak time at Lane7 on a Saturday night, we had a small table in the bar area booked for food and then bowling at 8.30pm. The staff were very attentive considering the sheer chaos at the front desk as queues formed for swap shoes and the bar was packed. I’ve got to say, I’m pretty surprised that Lane7 still does such a roaring trade. I’d be lying if I didn’t say I thought it was a bit of a gimmick when it first opened but it’s clearly generated itself quite a dedicated following in the region. It’s good to see a local business seeing such success two years after launch.
I kicked off with a Koppaberg and Craig went for a pint of Coors while we perused the menu. I was expecting a typical 4-quid a pint, but the drinks were actually quite affordable (around £3.50 for a pint/bottle) with cocktails at just £5.95, really not bad for somewhere like Lane7. Since I wanted to try as much of the fabled food as possible, we went for the Loose Ends and Trimmings For Two sharing platter (£35). We were a bit worried that it wouldn’t be enough food as we have found in the past that those ‘sharing platters’ are merely a large meal-for-one for someone with Craig’s appetite. The waiter assured us there would be plenty food for the both of us.
The platter arrived on a metal tray with two tins – one huge tin filled with Pulled Pork, Chicken Wings, Jerk Chicken and Pork Ribs and another piled high with fries. There was also two small pots of green chilli slaw and a delicious tub of ‘dirty sauce’ – kind of a mustardy-mayo. At this point I was sure that this couldn’t possibly be gluten free. Every other ‘bbq’ restaurant in Newcastle serves dry meat and fries marketed as ‘gluten free’, with all BBQ sauces and burger relishes containing wheat/barley. However, the waiter assured us that this was all gluten free so we dug in.
This was by far the best meal out I’ve had since starting my gluten free diet six months ago. Wow. The chicken wings were crispy with plenty meat, and the ribs weren’t skimpy either. Jerk chicken was delicious, as was the pulled pork. We loved the fries and slaw too – not one aspect of this meal was a let down. At first we thought £35 for a sharing platter for two was a little on the steep side but I’d not question paying that again for a special occasion. In terms of portion size, we did polish it all off but it was definitely enough for 3/4 (normal) people to share.
After food we went for a cocktail, it was Valentine’s Day weekend after all. Craig ordered a classic mojito and I went for a frozen margarita. Both cocktails were strong but delicious – so delicious, in fact, that we ordered a couple more at the bowling alley.
The bowling experience was great, despite the fact that we were a total embarrassment. All in all, I couldn’t recommend Lane7 enough, especially for those eating a gluten free diet. Can’t wait to go back and try the rest of the menu!