Little Monks Cookery Club

23 July 2014

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Children's birthday parties now on the menu!

Children's birthday parties now on the menu!

Treat your child to a fun cookery party for their birthday at Blackriars!

You can choose two baking activities and one lunch/tea option from the list below, and any baking items left can go into their goodie bags!

Baking activities
Bread- various varieties
Cheese scones
Muffins - variety of flavours
Chocolate brownies
Sunshine bars
Iced fairy cakes

Lunch/tea options
Homemade pizzas
Macaroni cheese
Shepherd’s pie
Butternut squash, chickpea and spinach curry
Roast vegetable pasta bake

The sessions last 2.5 hours from 11.30-2pm or from 3-5.30
Cost is £20pp per child

Parties are for 6-12 children and we recommend from ages 7-15

To book ring 0191 261 5945 or email


If that’s not enough we also run our Little Monks Cookery School during every school holiday. To book visit

Blackfriars books first same-sex marriage ceremony

Blackfriars books first same-sex marriage ceremony

We're thrilled to have taken our first booking for a same sex marriage, as the date approaches when couples can legally marry in England and Wales (29 March 2014).

Our Banquet Hall, which is already a popular venue for civil partnerships, has been booked by Samantha Westgate, 27, and Lauren McFarlane, 31, who both live in Newcastle (pictured).

Sam is in her final year of study for a degree in Social Work at University of Northumbria and Lauren is a debt counsellor for a local charity. The pair met three years ago through mutual friends, and got engaged in February 2012 when the couple spent a weekend in London. After having a meal in a restaurant on the banks of the river Thames, they walked along the Tower Bridge and Lauren proposed in the snow.

Lauren said: “We assumed we’d be having a civil ceremony so we were thrilled when the act was passed meaning we could get married.

“We had been to Blackfriars a number of times for a meal and loved the venue and the food. When we saw a flyer advertising a Wedding Fayre at the venue, we came to have a look around and saw the beautiful Banquet Hall. We thought it was perfect and ideally located in the centre of Newcastle.”

Lauren and Sam’s wedding ceremony will take place in June in the Banquet Hall, followed by a meal for 48 people, and they will both be wearing wedding dresses designed by Mao Couture in Gosforth. The theme of the wedding is earthy, natural and organic with wild flowers and thistles. They will be going on honeymoon to New Zealand and Australia.

March 29, 2014 marks the official date from which same-sex couples are legally permitted to marry in England and Wales, and we're inviting more of the North East’s same sex couples to follow suit and celebrate their weddings at our medieval venue.

 For more information about booking a wedding at Blackfriars- contact Lee McKinnell, wedding co-ordinator at or call 0191 261 5945.

March 2014

Blackfriars rings the changes for same-sex marriages

Blackfriars rings the changes for same-sex marriages

We're delighted to be a top choice venue for same sex couples who can legally marry next month.

Our Banquet Hall is already a popular destination for civil partnerships and we are now inviting the North East’s same sex couples to celebrate their weddings with us from March 29, 2014 – which marks the official date from which they are legally permitted to marry in England and Wales.

In advance of the change, Blackfriars is hosting a Wedding Fayre on Sunday, February 23, from 12 – 3pm. Admission is free, and guests will enjoy complimentary fizz and canapés. Couples will gain plenty of inspiration from local companies on every aspect of a wedding from table decorations, entertainment and flowers to stationery and wedding cakes.

Couples who are already in civil partnerships should be able to convert their status to a marriage by the end of 2014. When civil partnerships were formed in Britain in 2006, more than 18,000 took place that year, and since then 6,000 to 8,000 per year have been performed.

The ornate Banquet Hall at Blackfriars offers a dramatic and magical backdrop for intimate wedding ceremonies or receptions with its authentic banners, chandeliers, stained glass windows and furnishing enjoyed by kings and nobles including King Edward III in medieval times. Guests can also take advantage of the picturesque enclosed garden area for pre-reception Champagne and canapés and wedding photos.

As well as the 50-seat Banquet Hall, guests have the option of dining at Blackfriars Restaurant, which received the Taste of England accolade at the North East England Tourism Awards last year.

Andy Hook, owner of Blackfriars, said: “We’ve seen an increase in same sex civil partnerships and we’re delighted to be able to offer wedding ceremonies as well in this truly unique setting in the heart of the city. Our Wedding Fayre provides the perfect opportunity to showcase all we have to offer. We have seen the number of weddings triple over the last couple of years and we’re very pleased that we’ll soon be able to offer the very same wedding service to same sex couples.”

To confirm attendance at the Wedding Fayre – and for more information about booking a wedding at Blackfriars- contact Lee McKinnell, wedding co-ordinator at or call 0191 261 5945.

Blackfriars Restaurant and Workshop, Friars Street, Newcastle, NE1 4XN 0191 261 5945

February 2014

Diners invited to wax lyrical at Blackfriars Restaurant

Diners invited to wax lyrical at Blackfriars Restaurant

An artisan candle making company is lighting up lunch at Blackfriars Restaurant.

Northumbrian Candleworks, based in Corbridge, is hosting a Ladies Lunch event on Tuesday, March 4, offering an interactive candle making experience for diners.

The family-run company, which was set up in 2009, hand makes pure, natural soy wax candles from its workshop in Corbridge’s Old Bakery Yard, using a wide range of high quality fragrances.

The candles, which are crafted from organic, GM free soy wax, have been compared favourably to major brands such as Jo Malone, and the products are now sold in stores across the UK.

At the Blackfriars event, which kicks off at 11am, ladies will enjoy a glass of fizz, a workshop with Peter Cooke – chandler at Northumbrian Candleworks - lunch, wine and coffee for £25 per person.

Peter’s workshop will demonstrate the art of scented candle making, giving participants the opportunity to see how candles are made and also to have the opportunity to make - and take away - their own scented candle.

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’re always thinking of ways to put together innovative, entertaining new events for our customers – as well as supporting inspirational local companies.

“Northumbrian Candleworks creates beautiful candles which are increasingly becoming known for the desirability of their scents, and we’re really looking forward to welcoming Peter to Blackfriars to showcase his skills.”

Blackfriars holds a ladies lunch on the first Tuesday of every month. To book places, visit

For more information about upcoming events at Blackfriars, contact Lee McKinnell, events manager, on 0191 261 5945 or

February 2014


Indulge yourself with a chocolate themed weekend

Indulge yourself with a chocolate themed weekend

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

September 2013

Blackfriars Restaurant honours its Dominican heritage, raises awareness of food waste and raises £1000 for regional charity The Cyrenians

Blackfriars Restaurant honours its Dominican heritage, raises awareness of food waste and raises £1000 for regional charity The Cyrenians

 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 or call 0191 273 8891.

September 2013

New Food Charter cooks up ways to tackle city’s food challenges

New Food Charter cooks up ways to tackle city’s food challenges

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 or email:

*(Foresight 2007)

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)

July 2013

Complimentary meeting room offers a taste of medieval history

Complimentary meeting room offers a taste of medieval history

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

June 2013

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