Last week, 7th-13th August, saw restaurants across Newcastle join in with NE1’s extremely popular Restaurant Week. Having been out for dinner during Restaurant Week once before and had a fairly average experience, I was hoping for something great this time. I had a look at the menus of the restaurants taking part and decided on Blackfriars Restaurant, swayed largely by all the praise I’d heard and the fact that the restaurant and banqueting hall had won Open Table’s Diner’s Choice award in 2016!
As you can see from the above picture, Blackfriars Restaurant is situated in some pretty special buildings and surroundings. The website states that it lays claim to being the oldest dining room in the UK, with origins dating back to 1239! Incredible! As soon as my boyfriend and I stepped into the lovely courtyard just along from Chinatown, we were amazed by the history of both the buildings and the ruins. If the food hadn’t been great, then at least we would have left with the satisfaction of having eaten in such an awe-inspiring place. Thankfully, the food was fantastic!
The restaurant was offering a deal of 3 courses for £20, so naturally we both decided to go the whole hog and order three courses. We ordered starters of a North Sea fishcake with homemade tartare sauce, packed with lovely capers (pictured above) and a goat’s curd, beetroot and walnut salad which was simple but fresh and tasty. For main course we had some succulent pan-fried chicken with peas, cabbage and bacon and potato gratin, as well as a gorgeous piece of pork belly with crispy crackling, carrots and crunchy onions.
Whilst one of the desserts we had, a chocolate brownie with poached cherries and ice cream, was delicious, the second, an Eton mess, was probably the only dish that could have been improved slightly with the addition of some traditional meringue on the plate. Still very tasty and summery though!
When you go to a restaurant offering special deals, such as those of NE1’s Restaurant Week, you do have to sometimes prepare yourself for smaller portions and a quality of food perhaps not as high as what you would receive if ordering off the main menu. However, our meal at Blackfriars superseded any expectations we had and we came away feeling comfortably full and happy in the knowledge that it had been great value for money and a fantastic dining experience. Definitely one to try, especially if you’re in Newcastle in January for the next NE1 Restaurant Week!
Restaurant Week Website: https://www.getintonewcastle.co.uk/ne1-events/restaurant-week
Overall rating: ****
Pro(s): Very special site for a restaurant, it had a great atmosphere about it. The service was also very good and we didn’t feel rushed, considering the restaurant was very busy. Will definitely be returning to sample their main menu and perhaps even attend one of the banquets that are regularly held!
Con(s): Very small issue but we expected the Eton Mess dessert to have some crunchy meringue as well as cream! Only fault at all in what was otherwise a delicious meal.