Julie Burniston – editor of Tees Life, the sister publication to Tees Business – is spoilt rotten at Yarm’s newest eaterie, Luna Blu…
On a cold, rainy Tuesday evening, even the charm of picturesque Yarm High Street struggles to appear anything other than dank and miserable.
After a long day at work for both of us, I’m taking my sister Nicola out to thank her for all she does for me. She’s a tad nervous. As a busy mum of three with two jobs, she doesn’t get time to indulge in meals out that often.
As we huddle together under a collapsing umbrella heading towards our destination – the recently opened Luna Blu Cocktails and Tapas – she asks if I’m sure she’s got the dress code right. I look at her and raise my eyebrows – on a night like tonight I’d say hats and gloves were de rigueur!
Strangely enough, as we reach the restaurant the pavements begin to look a little less Yarm and a little more Gay Paree.
Luna Blu has a canopy outside protecting some cute little tables and chairs from the downpour. They look oddly chic bathed in the gold light pouring from within.
As we open the doors, it gets even better.
The interior is just… incredibly stylish. The colour scheme of lush velvets, peacock wallpaper and art deco mirrors really works to lift the spirits. The wooden floors are practical yet cool and the whole place is warm and inviting.
The fabulous manager, David Graham, immediately leads us to a booth. These seat ten and are very popular with birthday groups and upmarket hen nights – definitely worth booking on a weekend, especially when the resident DJ does his set. Don’t worry about not being heard though – this is old school soul, I’m told, aiming more for the more sophisticated, chilled out crowd.
Did I mention Sauvignon? David recommends a very nice Spanish one – Musso De Casarojo (£19.90 per bottle). With apple, pear, peach and white flowers, it is a perfectly delicious, easy-to-drink choice.
As we savour our drinks, we take a look at the menu. It’s not huge, but there’s certainly something to please every palate – and unlike traditional tapas dishes, these are pretty substantial.
I chose whole prawns with roasted garlic and paprika butter (£7.95) and pan con tomate (£5.95), which is toasted ciabatta topped with crushed tomato, garlic and serrano ham.
Nicola opts for pan fried chicken with cream, cheese, chorizo, tomato and red pepper sauce (£7.95), while we share a huge portion of patatas bravas (£4.95) with olives, tomatoes and peppers and a fabulous creation called homemade rosemary saltseasoned tortilla crisps (£3.95), which I could have happily nibbled on all night.
To accompany our food, Nicola tries a passion fruit and raspberry Collins gin cocktail from the extremely extensive Luna Blu list.
It would be rude not to try something from the dessert list before we leave, so we opt for good old-fashioned Spanish favourite, churros with dark chocolate dip (£4.95) – just right! That’s not to say I wasn’t eyeing up the incredible looking gateaux. Luna Blu does afternoon tea – I stored that info for later use since the strawberry cake definitely had my name all over it!
Like a truly modern eaterie, this one also serves a traditional breakfast with a classy twist from 9.30am till noon. I can see it fast becoming a much loved place to sit and chill on a weekend morning with the papers.
All in all, this new gem in the heart of Yarm has so much going for it.
Apart from the décor, food and fab drinks menu, its greatest asset is its staff. Immediately welcoming and not afraid to chat and have fun with guests, they truly make this lovely little eaterie stand out from the crowd.