To say I was excited when I heard that Gateshead was soon to become home to the North East’s very first vegan diner is putting it mildly. The vegan scene in Newcastle is constantly growing and new menus & cafes seem to be popping up everywhere, but hop over the river to Gateshead town centre and the most you could get is a veggie burger from Nando’s, that is, until now. Grumpy Panda have stepped in to make all your junk-food dreams come true; think shakes, dirty fries, bacon cheeseburgers, fried chicken and hotdogs. Oh baby.
Located on Regent Terrace, Grumpy Panda is just a short walk from Gateshead metro station. It might feel a little like you’re wandering along a row of houses rather than approaching a restaurant, but you can be sure you’re in the right place when you catch sight of the grumpy panda faces in the windows. The diner is bright and spacious with benches and stools along the walls and a large communal table through the centre.
Grabbing a seat, we perused the menu with delight – so. many. choices. It’s a good thing I live nearby because I’ve got a lot of dishes to try! If you’re feeling brave Grumpy Panda offer you a chance to claim eternal glory with their “Kraken” food challenge, which basically entails eating a huuuuuge amount of food in under 15 minutes. Michael thought he was brave enough for this but at the last minute had a moment of clarity in which he realised that actually, no, not so much, and chickened out (although he promises he’ll be back to give it a bash once he’s properly prepared).
I eventually decided on a cookies ‘n’ cream shake along with chikin ‘n’ waffles and a side of cheezy fries, although I’m dying to head back and get stuck into some buttermilk pancakes or a grilled cheezstake sandwich. Michael opted for a “Panda” burger – a beefy patty loaded with baecon (BAE-con, I just love it) and cheez, with fries and mac ‘n’ cheese tots. I gave my name at the counter and waited with anticipation to be called up to collect my feast.
And behold! What a feast it was.
The shake was banana based which actually made it quite refreshing to drink, and didn’t leave me with that super sickly feeling that heavy ice cream shakes give you. The chikin was deliciously meaty with a crispy fried coating, served with the soft, slightly sweet waffle and savoury gravy – it was a match made in heaven. Michael’s burger was equally delicious, with a super soft bun enveloping all that meaty and cheezy goodness, and the tots – I mean, mac ‘n’ cheese fried into crispy finger food bites, what more could you want really?!
Having tried their food at vegan festivals in the past, I was beyond excited to see what the full diner experience had to offer and I am delighted to report I was not left disappointed. Delicious (VEGAN) American-style food, served up in style, with lush service from Beth & Phil to boot, you have every reason to head out and support this fabulous new local business. 🎉
You can check out my vlog of our visit riiiiight here: