I went out on a trip to Newcastle this weekend with my nephew Jack. It’s part of a new strategy to get out and about a bit. We already have the Nature’s Theme Park walks and now we have a solidifying strategy of visiting restaurants.
The target today was Fat Hippo Underground and the renovated (and moved) Forbidden Planet store, which I’d heard was very impressive.
The Video Of The Experience
This is the vlog of the experience. I was hoping to talk to camera a lot more, but I have particular problems with it in my local area. I did chicken out so I rescued it with music!
Oddly, even though I was pointing the camera away from me three people asked if I was vlogging and two of those three took the channel details.
That was a surprise, not sure why.
Newcastle Is Strange
I’m pretty sure Newcastle has changed over the years, though I only have anecdotal evidence of this from visits over time. There was a time, a while back, we used to go to Newcastle regularly and the sense we got from those trips is, during the morning and afternoon, it was the domain of shoppers.
Then we made one trip after a good long while of not going and it seemed like the ‘party’ nature of the city had extended into midday and the afternoon with hen groups walking around and people in ‘evening clothes’ as if they were starting their evening early.
This was the same this trip with many of the people getting on the train, and moving around the train station when we arrived, clearly dressed for an evenings entertainment even though it was only midday.
It’s not some sort of weird, midday nightmare full of drunks, but it does feel slightly different.
It’s changed somehow over time. I’m just not close enough to exactly define it!
A Burger With Peanut Butter!?!
We really liked Fat Hippo Underground. It is very hard to find though. It’s basically an unassuming doorway in a side street. If weren’t looking for it you’d never see it, walk straight passed it or assume it was some sort of strip joint.
Once you get inside it’s very nice, intimate and atmospheric. The staff were also brilliant. I have a strange relationship with restaurants as it’s quite easy for me to feel uncomfortable in anything above the most basic of offerings. It was all very friendly, natural and amazingly comfortable. I was also a big fan of the eighties soundtrack they had playing.
In the vein of trying something new I ordered the Mac and Cheese Balls for a starter since I’ve never had Mac and Cheese (and the whole Disney community seems obsessed with Mac and Cheese). I wasn’t sure what I was expecting but they were very nice and I’d highly recommend them. A lovely incarnation of cheesy goodness.
I took a ‘risk’ with the burger and went for one I’d not have normally went for. I’d had the burger recommended after doing a bit of research before going so I went for it and got the burger with peanut butter on it!
It was really nice. Probably one of the best burgers I’ve had. The ‘strange’ combination actually worked. The peanut butter did look like baby poo on top of the burger, but that was more humorous than detracting from the experience. It was impossible to pick up though so I went for the cutlery.
It was very filling, very tasty and the peanut butter and burger combo really worked. I’m not normally a fan of places that sell you a £9-12 burger without including fries, so it’s good that Fat Hippo includes them, but they did take some eating.
If you’re looking for an effectively priced, great burger in a friendly restaurant with a great atmosphere, with plenty of options so you’d want to try a few, give Fat Hippo Underground a go.
Eating your food to Highway to the Danger Zone might also be something you’d have to like.
The Most Amazing Store
I’d been told the renovated Forbidden Planet in Newcastle was very nice. In my head I thought I knew what this meant. I’ve been in all sorts of stores of this type of varying quality and I thought I’d seen everything.
I was wrong. Newcastle Forbidden Planet is a retail experience beyond any other you’ve ever had within the domain of pop culture and geek merchandise.
The store is lit and laid out like a jewellry store, art gallery (it even has a small art gallery) or higher end clothing store. It’s very spacious and brilliantly lit with daylight bulbs. It is a significantly different retail experience to any other geek merchandise store I’ve experienced. The closest is Forbidden Planet London, but even it is less spacious, a bit more chaotic and not as well lit.
It’s an amazingly clean, open and minimalist shopping experience.
This has some strange results. The odd thing is it makes you more likely to talk to people. In a cramped, messy and dark store, and Forbidden Planet was all three, I’m inclined to get in, not spend much time browsing, talk to no one and then leave. If you’re lucky I had something in mind I wanted to buy as I’m very unlikely to make a spontaneous purchase.
I found myself talking to two different groups of people, numerous members of staff (something I arely do in many such stores) and I browsed to the point I felt very comfortable considering spontaneous purchases. One of those spontaneous purchases I went on to purchase.
It’s a very good store and undoubtedly we’ll be back..probably with the result of making more purchases.
One of the most amazing things is it’s taken over the location of a bank! That is a major sign of the times. There was a time there would be no way such a store would be on a main city high street never mind in such a prestigious building as one previous owned by a bank.
We had a great time and we’re probably going to repeat the process on a monthly basis. We’ll seek out restaurants and give them a go. Since some of the members of the ‘gaming group’ are ahead of us in terms of having visited some places we may follow in their footsteps.
In the meantime I need to resist buying board games or expansions I’ll probably never get around to playing.