Jamie SadlerA NEW Tyneside restaurant will be bringing the very best of the Middle East and Mediterranean cuisine to the city, with a side order of healthy eating.

Harissa will be opening its doors this week (1 July) at Starbeck Avenue, Sandyford, a one-of-a-kind eatery which will offer a range of delicious dishes using the best ingredients which will also be low in fats, salt and sugar.

And the restaurant is also hoping to showcase a different and more socially focussed way of operating, with the promise of working to benefit the environment, providing a living wage for staff and supporting the local economy

The restaurant is the brainwave of Jamie Sadler, the man behind Newcastle’s Food Nation which was set up as a social enterprise with the help of a grant from the Virgin Money Foundation, the independent charitable foundation launched by Virgin Money, working with schools, businesses and individuals to help them make healthy food choices.

And now those same principles will be the driving force behind Harissa, including putting in place a range of initiatives which have wide reaching, positive implications for both diners and the local community.

“When we set up Food Nation we were very conscious of the problems with  unhealthy eating in the North East,” said Jamie.

“And our aim was to do what we could to try and combat that problem.

“It’s been a natural progression to take that philosophy and to apply it at Harissa, along with introducing a range of other measures to show how we are trying to change the face of how restaurants and takeaways operate.”

The new restaurant will run as a social enterprise and along with offering a range of healthy eating options will ensure that staff are paid a fair wage and that the local area is kept clean.

Plans are to carry out litter picks in the immediate area around the restaurant to help counteract the problems caused by people dropping food wrappings, which is recognised as a widespread issue.

At the same time the aim is to support the local and regional food economy by sourcing as many ingredients as possible from the surrounding area.

The main restaurant will open initially, with plans for the takeaway – which will sell healthy kebabs – to be operating from early August.

While the restaurant will focus on ensuring dishes are low in salt, fats and sugar, there will be no compromise on taste and the hope is also to educate people on the advantages of a healthier way of eating.

“We have put together a very exciting menu and we believe this is something unique for not just Newcastle but the region,” said Jamie.

The restaurant is now taking bookings and can be contacted on (0191) 261 5501.