Indulge yourself with a chocolate themed weekend - September 2013
Chocolate lovers are in for a treat this autumn with a special weekend in Newcastle to celebrate National Chocolate Week.
The indulgent weekend will start with a Chocolate Dinner at Blackfriars Restaurant on Friday October 11 with a chocolate inspired three course menu plus coffee and home-made Petite fours for £39 per person. The evening starts at 7pm.
For even more indulgence on the Saturday Blackfriars will also be hosting a chocolate workshop with one of its top chefs, Chris Wardale. The event will take place from 10am – 4pm and will include lunch, wine and home-made chocolates to take away and costs £65.
Blackfriars, which was voted Taste of England 2013 in the North East England Tourism Awards, is the oldest purpose-built restaurant in the UK dating back to 1239 where it served as the refectory for the Dominican Friars. The restaurant serves traditional British food using seasonal produce from local farms and producers and also operates an ornate Banquet hall seating 50 people and a Workshop with regular events for all the family.
The dinner can be viewed on http://bit.ly/1eUnpu6
Blackfriars Restaurant honours its Dominican heritage, raises awareness of food waste and raises £1000 for regional charity The Cyrenians - September 2013
On September 8, more than 40 guests from around the region enjoyed a beautiful four course banquet courtesy of Blackfriars Restaurant and The Cyrenians’ social enterprise, FareShare NE, a food re-distribution company.
Fittingly, set in the historic monks’ banqueting hall, previously inhabited by Dominican Friars from 1239, Andy Hook, managing director of Blackfriars Restaurant and Banqueting Hall, was keen to carry on the tradition of helping people in need.
Six trainees from The Cyrenians’ Employment Service were chosen to benefit from a once in a lifetime opportunity of training with Andy and his Blackfriars’ team to prepare and serve the food for the day.
Andy, who is passionate about the issue of food waste, wanted to demonstrate how perfectly good food which would otherwise go to landfill, could be used to create a wonderful banquet fit for all.
Andy said: "Working with The Cyrenians’ Fareshare NE food and trainees has been a great experience. I've really enjoyed working with six trainees who all expressed an interest in working within the catering industry, and it’s really important they have current volunteering experience for their CV. Together, we explored cooking techniques and menu ideas using the Fareshare NE food that we were given. We believe we came up with a stunning menu using ingredients such as guinea fowl for a game casserole and fruit for a stunning home-made trifle which our guests thoroughly enjoyed. I'm now a complete convert to the food waste cause and am determined more than ever to do all I can to help fight food poverty in the North East.”
Baroness Hilary Armstrong of Hilltop, The Cyrenians’ Chair of Trustees, attended the banquet. Hilary said: “Events like these are immensely important in helping us to promote the vital work of organisations like The Cyrenians and their Fareshare NE food re-distribution company.
“The menu was exquisite and we know the trainees have thoroughly enjoyed their time with Andy and his Blackfriars team. The trainees have taken much away from this experience; it has boosted their confidence and self esteem, as well as offering a great addition to their CVs.”
In the North East alone FareShare NE has re-directed over 180 tonnes of perfectly good food going to landfill in the last twelve months. The food, which is given by both local and national food suppliers such as Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Greggs, then provides over 400,000 meals annually to people in need in the North East. Groups such as school breakfast clubs and other community groups access Fareshare NE, helping to address the ever growing problem of food poverty in our region.
Michael Shields, The Cyrenians, General Manager – Fareshare NE, said: “The need for our service continues to grow each month. Already over 70 groups and charities access the service, receiving regular deliveries of food for their clients. Projects such as food banks, hostels, day centres, women’s refuges and after school clubs across the region receive good quality food supplies from our social enterprise. In turn this helps businesses save 90 tonnes of CO2 emissions per year by diverting the food from landfill.
“As a social enterprise we are always looking for more food suppliers to support the scheme as well as people and organisations to sponsor a project to receive emergency food parcels. We’d love to hear from anyone who is interested in knowing more and helping to fight food poverty in our region.”
For more information and to support The Cyrenians, please visit www.thecyrenians.org or call 0191 273 8891.
New Food Charter cooks up ways to tackle city’s food challenges - July 2013
Newcastle’s food professionals and policy makers met this week to chew over the future of food in the city.
The Newcastle Food Charter was launched at an open event at Blackfriars Restaurant on Wednesday July 17. The Food Charter’s aim is to promote Newcastle’s vibrant food culture and tackle food related issues.
The Food Charter is part of the Food Newcastle initiative, which is being led by Jamie Sadler, managing director of Newcastle-based social enterprise Food Nation, who set up the Food Newcastle group in partnership with public, private and Community Sector food professionals.
The Food Charter looks at a broad range of issues including health and wellbeing, sustainability, the food chain, food in the community, and the local economy. Anyone – individuals or businesses – can sign up to the charter’s objectives and guiding principles. By signing up, they will pledge to make a change around their approach to food, with the aim of helping Newcastle to become a healthier city.
Jamie Sadler said: “We’ve worked closely with Newcastle City Council and the area’s most influential food experts to create the Food Charter. Everyone involved is very passionate about Newcastle and committed to creating new and exciting developments in food culture. We hope the Food Charter will inspire people to make a change – however small – in their day to day attitudes to food.
“At Food Nation, we work to educate people about good food through innovative food education activities, cookery courses and bespoke health, nutrition and catering services, so we’re very aware of the brilliant work already happening in Newcastle – and we know the importance of continuing to improve the health of those who live here.”
The issue of obesity will provide a key focus within the charter, as the North East has some of the highest obesity rates in the country. The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) found that, in 2012, when observing obesity in reception class children aged 4-5, Newcastle was the worst local authority area in England (14.5%) whilst for Year 6 classes aged 10-11, Newcastle was the 10th worst area (25%).
Jamie added: “Obesity costs the NHS an estimated £4.2 billion annually*, and these statistics about young children in our area emphasise the need for continued action.
“For this reason, the Food Charter aims to ensure that everyone has access and knowledge to eat and enjoy affordable and healthy food. One of the charter’s objectives is to work closely with food providers, manufacturers, retailers and caterers to provide good, safe, sustainable food to promote the well-being of the people they serve.”
Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars Restaurant and member of the Food Newcastle Steering Group said: “This is a great step forward in terms of promoting the wealth of talent and experience in Newcastle’s culinary scene, and we’re delighted that Blackfriars is involved in the launch of what will be an invaluable source of food-related information and advice for the city.”
For more information about the Food Charter, visit www.foodnewcastle.org or email: email@example.com
Photo: left to right - Jamie Sadler (Managing Director, Food Nation), Andy Hook (Owner, Blackfriars Restaurant), Claire Devereux (Managing Director, Food Matters), Dawn Scott, (Director of Public Health, Newcastle City Council)
Complimentary meeting room offers a taste of medieval history - June 2013
The sleeping quarters used by the medieval Black Friars of Newcastle are now being offered to businesses for meetings, training and away days on a complimentary basis as part of a lunch package at Blackfriars Restaurant.
The Dormitory meeting room, within the Blackfriars complex, can accommodate up to 16 people board room or 40 theatre style and is free of charge when six or more people have lunch within the restaurant.
It is possibly the oldest meeting room in Newcastle, having served as the dormitory for the Black Friars from 1239-1550, where around 20 men would have laid their weary heads after a hard day’s work and a hearty evening meal in their refectory – which is now Blackfriars Restaurant, voted Taste of the North East 2013 at the North East England Tourism Awards.
Overlooking the picturesque cloister garden, the Dormitory meeting room provides the perfect escape for away days, board meetings, briefings and presentations.
The meeting room is just one of the many facilities available to businesses at Blackfriars. Its popular Working Lunch is a speedy one course lunch served throughout the week, and a more relaxing two or three course set menu is also available. Complimentary wifi is included within the restaurant for lunch time customers.
Team building courses have also been launched within the Workshop and Banquet Hall for groups from six to 50 including Ready, Steady, Cook challenges, tutored Wine and Beer Tastings, creative canapé making and bread making taster sessions. Courses can also be taken to the workplace.
Companies who fancy a staff night out with a difference can enjoy authentic medieval banquets in the candle-lit Banquet Hall served by local monks and town wenches. Entertainment can also be booked for the night and guests are encouraged to dress in medieval costume.
The Banquet Hall is proving popular for private dining and other corporate events seating 10-50 people with a choice of the set menu throughout the week or a bespoke meal.
For more information contact Lee McKinnell, Events Manager on 0191 261 5945 or firstname.lastname@example.org
New team building courses are food for thought - April 2013
A new range of corporate team building courses are now on the menu at Blackfriars’ Banquet Hall and Workshop, to cater for staff who have an appetite for a culinary challenge.
The sessions are designed to be fun and educational and include tutored wine or beer tastings, taster bread making and canapé making, as well as Ready, Steady Cook challenges where groups of staff receive a bag of mystery ingredients and a few hours to create a gastronomic feast.
Groups of up to 12 people can be accommodated in the Workshop or up to 50 in the Banquet Hall, and include one to three hour sessions with lunch from £26 per person depending on the session selected.
Andy Hook, managing director at Blackfriars Restaurant and Banquet Hall, which was voted Newcastle’s top restaurant in the North East England Tourism Awards in 2013 said: “We’ve put these together as a result of a growing number of requests for corporate events with a culinary theme, either for team building or client entertaining, and we can also devise bespoke sessions. What better way to improve team dynamics than with food and drink – something we all love and can share experiences about”.
The Tutored Wine Tasting lasts for one to two hours and offers a way of learning about wine. Prices start from £30pp for a tasting of six wines although this depends on the agreed wines to be tasted which includes lunch/early weekday dinner and coffee.
The Tutored Beer Tasting lasts for one to two hours and is a great way to sample a few exquisite brews. Prices start from £26pp for a tasting of eight beers and includes lunch/early weekday dinner and coffee.
The Bread-making Taster lasts a total of three hours and session shows just how easy it is to make really great bread with a short morning and afternoon session. Prices start from £40 per person including lunch, wine and coffee.
Canapé making enables staff to get creative making delicious bite-sized morsels and prices start from £40pp including canapés, lunch, wine and coffee.
Historical treasure hunt: this is a light-hearted fun filler activity and is free for all dining participants.
Bespoke corporate events includes a choice of the activity sessions which can be tailor-made from £15 per person per hour depending on number of delegates and activities with lunch/dinner on top at usual menu prices.
For more information about team building courses contact Lee McKinnell, events manager at Blackfriars on 0191 261 5945 or email@example.com
We're the Taste of the North East! - February 2013
We've been voted the top restaurant according to tourism bosses in the North East of England.
The restaurant was announced the Gold winner in the ‘Taste of England’ category in the North East England Tourism Awards at a star studded night at the Sage Gateshead in front of 400 leading tourism chiefs.
The awards ceremony was organised by destination marketing agency Newcastle Gateshead Initiative in conjunction with Northumberland County Council and supported by the Northern Tourism Alliance, a collaboration of the region’s tourism bodies who work together on projects that will benefit the tourism industry across the North East.
Andy and Sam Hook took over the restaurant at Blackfriars from the Newcastle City Council in 2001 and have turned one of the oldest purpose built restaurants in the UK into a culinary institution. The restaurant dates back to 1239 when it was used as the refectory for the Dominican friars. Little did the friars know when they were serving the local downs and outs that their venue would become one of the leading restaurants in the city.
The grade 1 listed building recaptures medieval life in Newcastle and the team serve a classic but gutsy traditional British menu using local and seasonal ingredients and an abundance of great produce from around the North East. The head chef is Troy Terrington how has been with Blackfriars for several years.
The North East England Tourism Awards judges’ statement said: “Blackfriars won this award against some stiff competition. They go beyond delivering fantastic food made with the very best ingredients to offer a total experience where care and attention is paid to the smallest detail; it is this which made them stand out as worthy winners”.
We’re delighted with this award and a real boost to all the staff. It’s testament to the strong team we have at Blackfriars and ten years of blood, sweat and toil!
We serve the best Sunday roast! January 2013
Blackfriars has been voted the top restaurant in Newcastle for a Sunday roast dinner according to a national survey of food critics.
The Independent newspaper asked its team of experts to scour the country in search of the best restaurants to enjoy a Sunday roast to compile it’s ‘Top 50’ which included Joanne Busk, the editor of Fork Magazine, Karen Barnes, the editor of Delicious magazine, Donald Reid, the editor of The Larder and Emma Sturgess, a food writer and restaurant critic who is also on the Guild of Food Writers. Blackfriars was the only establishment to appear in the Newcastle section.
The judges quote said : “There’s a fine kitchen ethos at this former Dominican Friary. Troy Terrington’s menu is loaded with local produce and the surroundings give roast beef a ceremonial air”.
We are delighted to be acknowledged f0r our popular Sunday roast. It was just a few years ago that Kevin Spacey presented us with the 'Best roast in Britain' at a glittering ceremony in London. This really is the icing on the cake for us which is testament to the hard work of our chefs who really go that extra mile with our offering.
We think the reason we have been voted is that great care and attention is paid to our Sunday lunch. The roast beef and braised lamb we serve are sourced locally and are of high quality and accompanied by super crunchy roast potatoes and an ever changing selection of fresh, seasonal vegetables which have been prepared using a variety of cooking styles to create a complementary infusion of flavours. At £18 for a three course roast this also represents great value for money.
The link on the Independent can be seen on http://www.independent.co.uk/extras/indybest/food-drink/the-50-best-sunday-roasts-8454359.html
Blackfriars recognised as top sustainability champion - January 2013
A Newcastle restaurant has been awarded a top rating for its sustainability - the first in NewcastleGateshead to receive such an accolade.
Blackfriars Restaurant has received a Three Star rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) by demonstrating exceptional all round sustainability, a rating also given to River Cottage in Dorset, owned by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.
The SRA Star Rating system is recognised as the industry standard and is included in restaurant guides like Harden’s and Les Routiers as well as in The Times critic Giles Coren’s weekly reviews and Olive magazine’s monthly Pro vs Punter reviews. The Sundays Times dubbed it the “Michelin Stars of Sustainability”.
To be an SRA Sustainability Champion, restaurants provide answers and evidence to 65 questions across 14 areas of sustainability, including whether they are serving local, seasonal, high welfare food, how their resources and waste are managed, as well as how they treat staff, customers respected and the community. The SRA then assesses the results, collects evidence in support of answers and rates the restaurants accordingly.
Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars Restaurant said “We are delighted with our Three Star rating and that we have been recognised nationally for our efforts. With increasing customer awareness the SRA rating system is a great way to assess all hospitality businesses, big and small, and communicate how we’re doing to our customers. It also encourages us all to look at our policies and procedures to make our industry more sustainable.”
This year, 50 restaurants have achieved the top rating – Three Stars – which means they’ve scored at least 70% in the survey of their all round sustainability. Restaurants to have attained this exceptional result include River Cottage Plymouth Canteen and Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles.
The SRA has awarded Two Stars to a further 60 restaurants and 110 have received One Star.
Mark Linehan, managing director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association, said: “Restaurants like Blackfriars are responding to customer demand. Consumers tell us they would rather eat in a sustainable restaurant and now they have a simple means of finding somewhere to eat out that not only serves good food but also matches their values.
“The rating reflects Blackfriars’ commitment to using local and seasonal produce and, in particular, for its use of home grown herbs and vegetables and foraged ingredients. It also demonstrated an outstanding commitment to its staff and the local community, playing a prominent role in local life through its support of local charities and schools.”
Diners looking for an SRA Star Rated restaurant and more details of the results can go to the SRA website http://www.thesra.org/for-diners/restaurant-directory/