Middlesbrough Town Hall reveals exciting new menu for Orange Pip Kitchen debut

9 July 2018

As part of the Town Hall's £7.7 million redevelopment, the impressive refurbishment has now launched The Orange Pip Kitchen, featuring a menu designed by The Waiting Room's, Luke Harding. 

Middlesbrough is certainly a town that is moving forward and nowhere is this more evident than the recently refurbished Town Hall.

Two years of development work, funded in part by a £3.7 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, has seen this focal point of the city centre transformed into a plush mixed-use venue, fit for the 21st century.

If you have not been to look so far, the revamped Town Hall is certainly worth a visit, especially with acts such as; Status Quo, Joe Lycett and Jason Manford due to take the stage in the coming months, but with the launch of the Orange Pip Kitchen, there is now an extra incentive to making the trip.

An experience like no other...  

…is the striking claim the Orange Pip Kitchen make themselves, before going on to promise;
"we’ll be tickling taste buds and dazzling diners while supporting regional fare, independent chefs, creative cooks and food-pioneers."

And with the very first of those food-pioneers being award winning restaurateur Luke Harding of The Waiting Room, it is clear the aim for this fledgling partnership is to make a strong first impression as it looks to tantalise the taste buds of lunch time dinners.

Having made his name in this family run restaurant that has been based in Eaglescliff for over 3 decades, Luke explained to Articulate how he had looked to combine his specialism of vegetarian cuisine, the essence of the now legendry Orange Pip Market and his passion for artistry in creating the menu for this initial three-month residency.

“This new menu is very much a simplified, street-food, fast-food style version of what we do at The Waiting Room... where we use fresh vegetables, organic dairy and natural whole foods; we never use synthetic meat substitutes."

A contemporary menu, for a 21st century venue

Opening with a solely vegetarian menu may have seemed a daring choice less than a decade ago, but it is a testament to a change in eating habits across the nation that this opening offering feels neither daunting or out of place.

Indeed, with a recent BBC News article indicating that “a quarter of all evening meals in the UK are vegan or vegetarian” and the Yorkshire based Quorn Foods seeing sales rise by 16% over the last year, this initial 3-month offering puts the Orange Street Kitchen on-trend with the dietary desires of people in the 21st Century.

Yet being on-trend counts for nothing if the food being provided isn’t delicious and flavourful and this is where the food on offer goes to showcase Luke’s passion and years of expertise.

Whether you go for the deliciously fragrant taste of summer that is the Halloumi and Aubergine Cypriot Salad, the fresh and ridiculously moreish Squash Grape and Kale Salad or the outrageously satisfying Pea Burger with Tamarind Ketchup, this is a menu that contains new favourites that that can be enjoyed by vegetarians and none vegetarians and have you coming back for more.

And this enjoyment was obvious from the invited guests at a special preview evening showcasing the new menu, with one commenting on the “really nice warmth” of the Brazilian and Black Bean Chilli Burrito.

Another was to add, “I fell in love with the Waldorf Baked Sweet Potato” and there was even a convert amongst the guests in relation to the Spinach Mushroom and Feta Curry, with them pronouncing “I don’t really like mushrooms” before continuing “but in the curry they really added such an earthiness and texture to it.”

And in revealing that part of the secret to the curry, a longstanding favourite of regular dinners at The Waiting Room, was the slow cooking of the onions and mushrooms "which helps release the juices and changes the texture of the mushrooms" Luke was also to drop that the curry had received star approval.

"Yes, when we were serving this at the Glastonbury Festival, Billy Bragg came back four times!"

Organic origins lead to long running success. 

Discussing the seeds of Luke's passion for vegetarian cooking and delighting people through the artistry of food, it became clear that The Waiting Room's long running success has its very own organic origins.

“It really came from my mum’s (Jenny Harding) love of cooking whole food at home, she had a big garden and grew a lot of produce and was a big fan of the local food co-operative which the restaurant still uses today, so when she opened The Waiting Room it was simply just an extension of what she enjoyed doing for the family.”

Having begun working alongside his family in the restaurant from the age of 15, Luke would eventually take over the running of the restaurant from his mother, but he has stayed loyal to those inherited beliefs of wholesome cooking and being a strong supporter of the local community and artistic talent.

“We’ve held art events and gigs on Sunday nights for over 20 years, with artists such as King Creosote, Peggy Seeger, Stewart Lee, Trevor and Simon, Dave Swarbrick appearing and there will be a new programme kicking of in September.

“We’ve also created the menus for the last two Festival’s of Thrift, serving up ’The Town Is The Menu” - a community meal for 400 people in 2016, based on Redcar’s history and folklore; and in 2017, based on stories of Saltburn.”

Having also helped establish the carnivorous menu for The Smeltery situated on the other side of centre square within the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), the feeling was this current link up between The Waiting Room, Middlesbrough Town Hall and The Orange Pip Kitchen fitted as a perfect extension of the restaurants growing influence across a wider North East area.
And this new venture appears certain to kick off what looks to be an exciting summer for both the Eaglescliff eatery and Luke personally.

“We’ve got a new summer menu for The Waiting Room launching this week and I’ve just finished at Art collage.

"We've also recently purchased the old chemist next door, which we're converting into a small pub alongside the restaurant and will sell organic wine, our own label beer and smaller snacks like butternut squash scratching's.

"It means there's plenty to look forward to in the coming months" finished Luke, which is apt because the same could be said for those taking in The Orange Pip Kitchen this summer.

The Orange Pip KitchenSituated in Middlesbrough Town Hall , TS1 2QJ
Opening timesTuesday - Sunday
10:00 to 16:00


The Waiting Room
9 Station Road, Eaglescliff, Stockton-on-Tees, TS16 0BU

Opening TimesTuesday - Sunday
Lunch and Coffee: 11:30 to 14:30
Evening Meals: From 18:30

01642 780465

The Smeltery,Situated in the Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (MIMA), TS1 2AZ
Opening TimesOpen every day.
Monday - Friday, 8.30 to 16:00
Thursday, 8:30 to 19:00
Saturday, 10:00 to 17:00
Sunday Lunch Menu, 12:00pm  to 16:00
Web: www.thesmeltery.uk
01642 245679

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