THE chance to be anonymous while eating out is one of my favourite things about being part of the Durham Times restaurant review squad.

However, at Dark Matter I couldn't have stuck out more.

I’d chosen the Crossgate venue because it was described as a ‘geek’ cafe and thought my fiancé Ali deserved a rest from the posh dinners on his return home from the Army.

We found it quite easily - guided by the cafe’s ingenious yellow bike at the bottom of the street, pointing us in the right direction.

And, of course, Ali was practically jumping up and down like a small child before we’d even walked through the door as we were presented with a bustling cafe that I originally mistook for a youth club.

The whole place was decked from top to bottom with comic book paraphernalia and youngsters enjoying food while chilling out on sofas with an Xbox game or playing what I think was a quest-themed board game – that’s what I got from the excited outbursts throughout anyway.

Back to the problem of anonymity: thankfully I was saved by the fact that Ali was dutifully wearing his Superman t-shirt.

We found the only table available and browsed the menu, which I actually had to admire for how clever it was; presented in a comic book style and brightly coloured.

I was immediately drawn to The Incredible Bulk Burger (£4.20).

It was described as being two 100 per cent beef burgers with bacon, cheese, mushroom and onion in a sesame seed bun and as my diet was out the window I thought I might as well.

Ali chose the Flash burger (£3.60) which came with cheese, nachos and salsa and I also ordered a side of nachos with salsa and cheese (£2.20) - having been slightly disappointed that you couldn’t order chips.

Getting into the youthful spirit – I couldn’t help but feel old among at least a dozen teenagers – we also ordered milkshakes to enjoy until our meals came.

So we sipped on the creamy caramel and Oreo milkshakes. I had just drawn Ali’s attention to the My Little Pony bunting hanging above our heads when our burgers came.

They were exactly how they read on the menu and almost tasted better by being surrounded by all the ‘geeky’ paraphernalia – as a ‘geek’ virgin I don’t actually know how to describe it in any other way.

I also must say how friendly and casual the staff were.

It became apparent that they had a passion for comics too, as a few of them took their break by eating their lunches alongside the youngsters and chatted through the latest games – it was almost like seeing youth workers at their best, with a keen interest in the kids in their company.

Back to the food, it didn’t take us long to polish off the burgers – Ali got my second one of course; they were succulent and filled the hole I’d been preparing all day very nicely.

However, down to the most important part for me – dessert!

I didn’t know quite what to expect from the menu and couldn’t find it at first as the desserts were included in the snacks section.

There wasn’t much choice but we did decide to share the Death by Pancake which promised to come with caramel, white chocolate and dark chocolate syrups.

I suppose when you’re not expecting much then you can’t really be disappointed - desserts are clearly not their forte. What I can only describe as crepes came out smothered in all three syrups, which seemed to gloop into one.

Saying that, I can’t really complain because it tasted better than it looked and we polished it off in no time at all – sticking to each other’s half of the dish of course.

And unlike previous reviews when I’ve dreaded paying the bill, this cafe was much kinder on my purse and a lot less stuffy in atmosphere to say the least.

So whether you’re a comic book enthusiast or not, I’d definitely recommend this little place if you want to try something different.

Dark Matter Cafe, 57 Crossgate, Durham DH1 4PR, Contact: 0191 386 3851

Open: Monday to Saturday, 9am until 6pm and Sunday, 11am until 5pm. After hours events Monday to Friday from 6pm until 9pm.

Ratings (Out of ten): Food quality 6 Surroundings 8 Value 8 Service 7