Dining at Blackfriars in Newcastle is an experience as unique and authentic as its site's history. Its site, built in 1239 and originally home to Dominican Friars who were sent around the world to establish their religious order, retains much of its historical flare and dining from their a la carte menu is compiled of innovated traditional dishes.
The restaurant itself is historical without gimmick, and despite dining at 6pm it was contentedly busy, a nice atmosphere complimented by the lit candles dotted in the stone window frames. Taking in the rustic décor it wasn’t a surprise to find out that the former refectory is believed to be the oldest purpose-built dining room in the UK.
Sitting with my guest Josh, we were greeted by a waiter who had obvious passion for the menu he presented us with, making us feel at home among the long list of complex options on offer for our three course meal. After much speculation we decided on our starters, I went with the goat’s cheese salad, which was served with candied walnut, roast beetroot and a honey dressing.
The salad was a lovely light start to the meal. The goat’s cheese was rich and creamy and there was more than enough of it which is always a relief when ordering a salad. The combination of beetroot and candied walnuts added depth to the flavour to the cheese base and afterwards I felt ready and raring to try the next course.
For the main both Josh and I decided to go for the beef Wellington, a tough decision since there was so many great options to choose from including a curried cauliflower steak and a gammon steak cooked in cider. The Wellington was an inventive flavourful twist on a classic. The Béarnaise sauce contrasted strongly against the classic and perfectly cooked beef Wellington: the beef flaking away from the pasty at the slightest touch.
The presentation of the meal was impeccable, the perfect kind of meal for an occasion such as graduation where you or your parents might want to splash out on something a bit more special. The portion size was great too, I always have a fear with higher end restaurants that I’ll come out still feeling hungry: but Josh and I both were contentedly stuffed.
Dessert came in the form of an unusual twist on a cheesecake classic, the jelly compote on top of the base adding an element of unusual texture contrasting the soft creamy base. The highlight however was definitely the sorbet, a lovely refreshing finish to a very rich meal.
Dining at Blackfriars felt like being taken back through history with all the highlights of modern cuisine mixed in. The food and atmosphere is swanky without being intimidating, and you can tell that there is real care taken in everything from the food to the service.
I thoroughly enjoyed my evening with Blackfriars, and it’s easy to see why last year they won the Taste of the North East Award last year. While this may not be the most affordable a venue for dinner, their food and atmosphere is tailor made for special occasions like graduation.
To book a table at Blackfriars for your special day, visit their website or call them on 0191 261 5945.
Blackfriars is also running a Student Survival Guide cookery class in August to help students master the basics of eating nutritious, delicious food on a budget. See more information here.