Grainger Market, what a place. Since I’d fully discovered this sprawling world of fruit and veg, cracking cheap lunches, and a host of weird and wonderful shops that are such good value you suspect it might be a con, I have since regretted all and every penny I spent shopping or buying lunch anywhere else in Newcastle. The heap of charity shops and market stalls can speak for themselves (two bunches of purple sprouting broccoli for 30p! Two punnets of strawbs or raspberries for £2! Madness!), and I’ll focus on some library lunchtime bites particularly recommended.
First of and all-time favourite is the Chinese dumpling counter at Nan Bei, Unit 62 in the 2nd alley. They serve six different types of dumpling (6 for £3), with mixed fillings and a selection of oils and garnishes you serve yourself. Iron stools perch behind the counter, and you can also get Chinese buns for those wanting to venture further than dumplings. A steamed custard bun sounds daunting but is great. The rest are always absolutely delicious.
Pizza by the Slice, and its sister sit-down Little Italy are both always a hit as well. The pizza starts at £1 for an enormous slice of thin, not-too-greasy pizza, and Little Italy offer more substantial plates, pastas, salads and sandwiches. Their goats cheese and pear sandwich on oily, garlic focaccia is gorgeous.
For traditional French fare, the French Oven does freshly baked pastries, quiches, tartlets and bread-based goods that are reliable stomach-fillers and can be served up hot if you’d like.
Following the French theme, La Petite Creperie does exactly what it says on the tin. Their sweet and savoury crepes are thin and crispy and loaded with fillings – particularly recommended are the buckwheat galettes (also gluten free) which have a slightly nuttier flavour to them and go perfectly with spinach, cheese and ham.
Fez Food probably wins for best seating on offer, with its bright Turkish décor and lines of Fez hats against the windows. The food can be mixed here – the hummus is great, as are the meze plates in which you select your own salads and falafel type dishes from the counter, but the chicken shawarmas are a bit bland. Counter service is definitely the way to go.
Lindsay’s To Go is attached to the fresh fishmongers, Lindsay’s, turning their fresh catches into lunch staples without the price tag normally associated with fresh fish. From standard fish and chips, to garlic chilli prawns and oysters, there’s a fishy delight for anyone.
For pud, head to Pet Lamb Patisserie for a selection of traybakes, or get a serious sugar overload with American themed the Pudding Parlour. Caramel snickerdoodles, M&M cookie dough pie, banoffee pie pots, oreo cheesecakes, marshmallow fluff cups and peanut butter slabs abound.
It’s a nice half-hour round trip for a library break, so there’s no excuse to go to Pret ever again!