When I visited: December 2016
Rating in the Michelin Guide: Not rated in the Guide
What to wear: Men – jeans or nice trousers and a shirt; women – jeans and a smart top or a smart dress
Ambience: Cool, dark
Course of the meal: Black cod
If I could change one thing: Better desserts on the a la carte menu
Sohe is a cool, dark, great-value Asian fusion restaurant in the Jesmond area of Newcastle. The atmosphere is smart but the service is friendly, the food is great but the prices are low, they play clubby music so you can pretend you’re in an episode of Geordie Shore, and they put Santa hats on the mini busts on the tables in December – what’s not to like.
I love a big cocktail menu, even if it makes it difficult to choose, and Sohe provides exotic, complex cocktail choices in spades. We ultimately went for a watermelon margarita, a ‘backpacker’ (which came in a tankard) and a ‘burnt Bonsai’. The cocktails were around £8 each which isn’t that cheap for Newcastle but they were good and the kind that don’t overpower food so you can sip them throughout your meal.
In terms of food, we started with hakushu and miso black cod with torigashi and sesame onigiri, yuzu and wasabi dip, and the dragon roll plate, which was all delicious. Yuzu is a flavour which I sampled before going to Japan, had it even more there and have sought it out ever since – it is really delicious and enhances a lot of dishes (the only instance where I haven’t really enjoyed it was in a bottle of yuzu sake). The starters were light and nicely balanced, and I like the fact that at Sohe you can pick your starter from a wide choice of the sushi, tempura, dim sum, soup, bento box or designated ‘starters’ sections.
The mains didn’t slouch either – we selected a Christmassy turkey katsu Malayan curry, the Thai green curry with corn-fed chicken breast, pak choi, eggplant and green beans, and teriyaki glazed black cod fillet with steamed broccoli, asparagus, sesame and honey, pak choi, togarashi onigiri rice balls and the ubiquitous yuzu and wasabi dip. The black cod was so tender and delicious it would have given the famous black cod at Nobu a run for its money.
We ended up selecting desserts from the Christmas menu even though we hadn’t ordered all the other food from that menu, as we had spied them earlier on and kept them in mind – the yuzu and white chocolate torte, and orange blossom cotton cheesecake. They were £3 each which is amazing – I have seen restaurants get away with charging five times that for the same quality of dessert. Also, white chocolate can be added to the list of the many things enhanced by magical yuzu.
I would highly recommend Sohe if you are in Newcastle and like Asian food, and hope it continues to do well.