CLOSED: Painted Elephant

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 22 reviews )



Grainger Street, Newcastle Upon Tyne, England, NE1 5JE

Billed as a modern bohemian cafe, this vegan restaurant offers plant-based food and drinks. Opened Dec 2014. Previously at 6 Upper Princess Square. CONFIRMED CLOSED, OCT 2016. Open Tue-Sat 6:00pm-11:00pm.

Category: Vegan, International, Organic, Fusion

Reviews (22)

First Review by happyhippie47

Fantasy Falafels! - Edit

Popped in last night on my way for a train with on 30 mins to spare. The waitress was very helpful and recommended what could be served quickly. It came quick but unfortunately I had to shoot off so they speedily wrapped it up for me. A shame because the presentation was gorgeous! When I cracked it open on th train I was so impressed. So many different tastes and textures in one dish! Will certainly be back if I'm up in Newcastle again.

Pros: Yum!

Cons: None

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We just couldn't get over how good this was! 8 courses, all vegan food, bloody lovely. Lots of people dressed up and getting into the spirit of things. The staff even explained the history/thoughts behind each course. Just so good! My favourite bit had to be the mockturtle soup and the lovely cake for pudding. Can't wait for the next one!!

Pros: vegan, events, tasty

Cons: none

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Ch-ch-ch-ch-Changes - Edit

Myself and my wife are regular attendees of Painted Elephant and up until the recent move into the city centre all was well with great food such as rendang curry and pulled jack fruit, and a fantastic atmosphere and uniqueness that set apart from other restaurants. We simply could not fault the place hence an original 5* rating. It's hard to put your finger on it but since the move things are just not the same. The food menu has changed and although still tasty, is not as exciting as it once was with fewer options now available. Most notably, the atmosphere has changed. The chic décor is no longer and the intimate environment has sadly disappeared. I hope this a temporary blip, as I do really love this place and will continue to go. Hopefully they will be able to move into their own premises again and reclaim their identity back. Sometimes change is not for the better.

Updated from previous review on 2016-08-04

Pros: Good food, Lovely Staff, Location

Cons: Lack of atmosphere, Accessibility

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Terrible service and food is poor - Edit

I hate to give a poor rating to a vegan restaurant but this place blew me away by how bad it was. We waited an hour for our first course to arrive, and around the same for the 2nd course. Main course was a piece of crispy flatbread with some chickpeas in tomato sauce thrown on top - woeful! Service was awful. We had to ask for cutlery. Can't believe how this place manages to remain open.

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Confusing and confused - Edit

There's something odd about the shift from the old to the new place and I wish it could be explained. I appreciate that the move was recent but the whole feel of the restaurant, food and service is in complete contrast to previously. Leaving aside the new setting, a fairly average looking and feeling city centre cafe, gone now is the chic, attentive, interesting foodie approach, and in its place is a sort of amateur church basement cafe feel. Food is fine but simple, presentation needs attention, perhaps not for a church cafe, but certainly for a place charging £9 for a main. Waiting staff were casual - that's ok - but they seemed a bit disinterested and certainly not knowledgeable about the food and about describing it. I was disappointed, but I was more confused. So this place is going to take some work and some changes if it is to make it, or else the accidental rebranding and different experience must be matched by a reduction in prices. Good luck!

Pros: Location , Vegan

Cons: Over priced , Average food , Service

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Great interior and tasty food - Edit

I love this place - it has a really cool vibe to it and the dishes are always changing which is nice. Everything I've ever had has been super tasty. The only thing that could be improved upon is communication on the menu - I think it changes almost daily so it would be nice to see what's on before you go down for a meal. But apart from that there are no complaints - portion sizes are good, meals are always full are flavour and its a good price too!

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delightful food! - Edit

The food was amazing, well cooked and presented! I went with my boyfriend who is not vegan or vegetarian and he thoroughly enjoyed his main and dessert! Would definitely recommend for anyone who enjoys a good cuisine :)!

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good but could be better!! - Edit

We visited for dinner last night - the place is small but cute, a bit hit and miss on the food - I had severe food envy with my sisters plate, both her dishes we both better cooked and tastier than mine which were a little bland to be honest... However it's great to find a totally vegan place that's got quirk to it, would go back again :)

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Thumbs Up - Edit

I think I went on a special offer night in which you could have two courses for £10 so it was pretty inexpensive.

For the main I had the Italian Garden which was polenta over salad greens with lentils. It was flavoursome and inventive, but not that substantial. I wish I'd have opted for something more filling.

For dessert, I had the cheeseboard which consisted of three different vegan cheeses and came with chutney and oatcakes. It was kind of a novelty and somewhat oily to eat the whole lot (which I did anyway), but I enjoyed it as a one off. The cranberry brie was my favourite.

The staff were friendly and the place had simple and pleasing decor. The music came from a record player on the counter next to a pile of vinyl. Mainly indie rock. I was there for the duration of a Smiths album which was pretty agree-able to these ears. It was a good place to hang out.

Pros: Friendly staff, Good music, Interesting menu

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Fantastic! You must try! - Edit

Visited on Tuesday. I LOVE this place. The inside is so cute - a canopy of lights on the ceiling, tables that look like wooden pallets, elephant painted on the wall. Everything looks handmade! Toilet was a little shabby but not a big issue. We got the restaurant week offer so had 3 courses. I had pea and mint soup, thali plate and chilli chocolate brownie. The soup was amazing - so fresh and summery. You can tell it was freshly made. The thali plate had a tasty not-too-spicy lentil curry, minty yoghurt, rice, salad and a poppadom - very generous portion and tasty too. The dessert was also lovely! Everything we had was gluten free too, both dessert options were! Gluten free vegan cake?? Witchcraft! I'll be back :)

Pros: All vegan, Seasonal and fresh, Cute small business

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Dire. Poor service. Horrible food. - Edit

I've been to the painted elephant three times, each time hoping that it'd be better. It didn't.

The staff were unfriendly and we waited at least 20 minutes for a food to arrive each time (once we were the only people in the place).

The food was hugely overpriced and just plain disappointing.

I was so excited when I found out this was opening but wouldn't want to go again. If I could award no stars I would.

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It was very nice, candlelight and Dubonnet on ice - Edit

In a small cafe, we could hear the guitars play - it was very nice. Yes indeed, the Painted Elephant. Bring it on, this place is a vegan Toon paradise. (Toon is what people from Newcastle call Newcastle). Immediate hit with me. This does not happen very often, but when it does I have to tell the Happy Cow community. Let's do lunch. Saturday lunch. We had the Rendang curry which was better than any Rendang curry that I've had in any South East Asian or Malaysian restaurant I've ever been to. The home made pesto and vegan cream cheese open sandwich was quite sublime. It was drizzled with a nice balsamic glaze. Caramel free balsamic? I don't know? Very friendly service, great music (we entered to Panic by the Smiths) and one of the staff had a Morrissey t-shirt on). Legendary. We will be back, this time armed with wine. Mr Elephant you can paint with me anytime. You deserve your 5 cows and now have a lovely sticker to prove it.

Pros: Great food, nice location, cracking staff

Cons: No Cons

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good intentions - didn't knock me down - Edit

Very bare interior and poorly lit, so if you're there by yourself or with not too many other customers it can feel a little like your nightmare birthday party to which none of your friends came. But the crew is young and friendly enough.
As for the food, I ordered the Buddha Burger which came to my table suspiciously fast, meaning the "burger" itself was just sitting there in the kitchen, waiting. And it sort of felt like it too - a little on the dry and crumbly side and not very exciting taste-wise. And although the side salad was good, for £8.50 the whole thing was a bit of a stretch.
I see other reviewers loved the food here so I'll leave the benefit of the doubt that I might have gotten the one mediocre dish.

1 Response

paintedelephant 11 Apr 2015 - Hi Yoyokoko,
Thanks for your review. We're sorry you weren't completely happy with your visit to painted elephant and your experience certainly isn't representative of what we aim for. Our burgers are finished to order and prepared in advance, as are most restaurant dishes, as they take over an hour to make. Making and baking these to order would not be possible as they are one of our most popular dishes and take a lot of time. However, most people who visit love our burgers so I feel you may have had a one-off bad experience. Regardless, I know this is not acceptable.
We'd love to offer you a chance to come again for a complimentary burger - please email us paintedelephantltd at gmail . com to let us know when/if you'd like to come in.
Again, really sorry you had a less than excellent experience.
Re the interior - we know it's not perfect yet and are working with a designer on a refit soon, watch this space!
Chef Laura  

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Tasty, Alternative Eating. - Edit

As other people have mentioned, it is a little tricky to find, but use the advice in the previous comments. Once we did find it, the location makes you feel secluded and not in the busy city atmosphere - like a little haven. The food and service was brilliant and I can't wait for next month's menu to go back. Between us we had 2 main courses and shared a starter and desert along with BYO (2 bottles of champagne) for £24. Which is a bargain when you think of the cost of vegan ingredients. I had the mushroom and 'mozzarella' risotto cake with the tastiest sauce and salad. I thoroughly enjoyed it and took my time to savor it. I would definitely recommend to any vegans/veggies/alternative eaters to check this out and support vegan independent restaurants, if we are lucky and make a big enough demand we might get more in Newcastle. On Tuesday and Wednesday nights they have 2 courses for £10!

Cons: Uncomfortable Chairs

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Promising - Edit

Like other reviewers, I had some difficulty finding this place (it turns out it is up in the air behind the library). When we visited in February 2015 the building was still fairly rudimentary (single very basic toilet, kitchen separated from the dining area by only a curtain) but hopefully if the restaurant succeeds it will get fancier? Sadly our meal was cut short by the chef's hurting her leg, but the food we did have was very good (and they didn't charge us for it!). The mushroom soup had a pleasingly sturdy consistency and was drizzled with pesto and "cream". I have had so many bad mushroom soups it was very satisfying to have a good one. The beetroot salad was also nice. I hope the restaurant's fortunes improve as it has the potential to be great.

Pros: All vegan, good food, fair treatment

Cons: Accident-prone chef, hard to find, still pretty bare

1 Response

paintedelephant 07 Feb 2015 - Sorry for the inconvenience, if you'd like to come in again we can offer 10% off if you mention your previous booking. Thanks for the review and glad you enjoyed what you had x  

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enjoyable evening - Excellent food - Edit

My husband and I visited the Painted Elephant on Saturday 24th January for an evening meal. I had hummus to start and hubby had Pad Thai salad, I had pumpkin curry and hubby had the burger. We both had food we wouldn't usually have, but both thoroughly enjoyed everything. We took our own bottle of wine, so didn't sample the drinks. The place was warm and inviting. The staff were really busy, but our service was excellent. All in all a very enjoyable evening.

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Fantastic and Varied Vegan Menu & Great Service. - Edit

I have recently had my first visit and experience of Painted Elephant and I will definitely be returning! The Restaurant has a ambient & relaxed atmosphere and service is friendly and Welcoming. Most importantly the food is fantastic! I had the Buddha Burger which was delicious. Options on the menu would appeal to all. I would highly recommend a visit!

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Incredible Food - Edit

Located in the very centre of Newcastle, The Painted Elephant is an absolute gem which everyone should experience. The food is simply divine, and totally vegan! It's a little tucked away so can be tricky to find, but it is well worth seeking out. Best way to get there is to go to the Central Library, to the square, and then it is up the ramp underneath the big tower block. You won't regret it.

Pros: Vegan, Wonderful Food, Lovely People

Cons: A little hard to find

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