Whisper this quietly, but eating alone can be a wondrous thing.

Not every day, nor on special occasions. Definitely not a cookbooks for one kind of thing, but a stolen moment where it is you – a menu – and all the time you need. Bliss.

It is part of the process I go through when planning my next working trip away. I fire out a message to anyone I know who might live, lived or love the city or town I am going to, and ask for recommendations

It’s Monday, therefore it’s Newcastle.

So as I sat on the bed in my hotel room, I scanned through the recommendations as I looked at where I was on Google maps.

Ping! Directly opposite the hotel was a small, Spanish restaurant that two people had recommended. Let’s give it a try.

In many ways this post is as much about building up a network of people to help you out, as it is about dining alone. I currently have a list of dozens of venues – food, wine, coffee, beer – that means I can go somewhere new as I work by the Tyne, well in to 2019.

The only lottery with eating alone is the level of service you get. If a big group are in, with members of the party coming in dribs and drabs, the team’s attention is all to easily distracted. Having to manage existing, new and future customers tends to leave the solo diner left on their own.

The opposite to that is where a restaurant isn’t that busy and you are overloaded with attention. A “let’s talk to billy-no-mates” approach to front of house

“Tomato Bread” and Courgette Carpaccio at Kaltur in Newcastle. Highly recommended

Last night I wanted to eat. To catch up on social media and to unwind from my first day at work. The food was exactly what I wanted. Another glass of wine would have helped, but my reserved “try to catch their eye” was blocked by the distraction of another latecomer to the big table.

For all its faults and Nazis, social media has given me so much back in terms of good food and drink when I am on the road. Always have Twitter open when thinking about where to eat.

Seriously, try and build your own network and never look a late night value meal in the face again.

Chris Written by:

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