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Awards and Press

Feast to raise awareness of food poverty and waste

Feast to raise awareness of food poverty and waste

We're cooking up a lunchtime feast to raise awareness of food poverty and food waste issues in our region, and to help provide training opportunities for vulnerable people ready to move on with their lives.

Staff at the restaurant have joined forces with charity Changing Lives and their social enterprise, FareShare NE, a food re-distribution company, to invite local diners to enjoy a four course lunch in Blackfriars’ medieval Banquet Hall on Sunday, September 28, with all proceeds going directly to Fareshare NE.

Blackfriars organised its first fundraising banquet for the charity last September which proved to be a sell-out success and raised more than £1000, so tickets are expected to be snapped up quickly for the 2014 event.

The Blackfriars team will once again be working with six trainee chefs from Changing Lives’ Employment Service who have all experienced homelessness and related issues at some stage, and whose lives have been touched by their involvement with the charity.

The chefs will explore cooking techniques and menu ideas to create a four course feast for guests, using delicious in-date food presented to them by Fareshare NE, which would otherwise have gone to landfill. Tickets can be booked through at £25 per person, and half price for children.

In the North East alone, FareShare has received 223 tonnes of in-date food in the last year from the food industry, 85% of which was surplus and would have otherwise gone to landfill. The good quality surplus food, donated by retailers and producers, is then re-distributed to over 70 community groups which provides food for around 2,600 vulnerable people each week.

For more information about Blackfriars Restaurant, visit or call 0191 261 5945.

Children to chill out this summer with free ice cream!

Children to chill out this summer with free ice cream!

Children are in for a treat this summer as Blackfriars is offering them free home-made ice cream when they enjoy lunch at the restaurant.

All they have to do is bring an adult with them at lunchtime from Monday to Saturday and both order a main course. The child will then be treated to a free ice cream for dessert. Meals can be eaten either in the restaurant or outside in the enclosed garden where there’s plenty of room to run about and let off some steam in the heart of Newcastle.

The summer menu includes dishes such as home made pork sausages and bubble and squeak, north sea fish and home-made chips, fresh pea and broad bean risotto and summer vegetable soup as well as desserts such as brioche summer fruit pudding and English strawberry cheesecake with sorbet.

Children with a burgeoning interest in cookery can also enjoy the Little Monks Cookery School from July 22-24 for ages 7-16. These popular sessions enable children to cook a variety of dishes as well as making their own lunch, and anything they don’t eat they bring home. The sessions cost £35 per child, £65 for two days or £89 for three days. For more information contact

Blackfriars also now hosts regular birthday parties at weekends for children where they have the option of cooking a range of dishes, as well as a number of lunch options, from ages seven and above, and can enjoy playing on the green until their food is ready.

Ruth Hall, general manager at Blackfriars, which was voted Taste of England in the North East England Tourism Awards said: “Our cloister garden is now open for lazy lunches and relaxing summer afternoons with children, enabling customers to enjoy one of the most secluded inner city green spaces in the heart of the city for some top notch al fresco dining. The restaurant is also perfectly situated next to The Gate so is ideal for lunch combined with a visit to the cinema or other attraction in town.

“Blackfriars is steeped in medieval history and is most likely the oldest purpose-built restaurant in the UK, having served as the refectory for the Dominican Friars. We work closely with schools and have also put together a fact and activity sheet about life in medieval times to keep children entertained whilst at the restaurant, and to help them to understand the history of the venue right on their doorstep.”

Share the love!

Share the love!

Summer’s here and Blackfriars Restaurant is launching a selection of sharing boards with its new seasonal menu.

The sharing boards include ‘The Fish Trencher’, which includes crispy monkfish, charred mackerel, salmon gravlax and white crab, and its ‘Medieval Meat Plate’ with duck ham, hay-smoked chicken, crispy trotter and oxtail roll, all served with a selection of breads.

The restaurant is offering a summer promotion of a sharing board for two people and two glasses of fizz for £20 at lunch times from Monday to Saturday, ideal for a light bite or lazy, relaxed afternoons.

Also on the new summer menu customers can find dishes such as potted Scottish salmon, watercress mousse, toasted tomato bread; seared lamb fillet, crispy belly, pan fried liver, cumin carrots, peas and broad beans and Hand-made truffled spätzle, wild mushrooms, Ribblesdale ‘Parmesan’. Desserts include Brioche summer fruit pudding, crème fraîche mousse, milk biscuit and dark chocolate delice, brandied cherries, white chocolate, cherry sorbet.

At lunch times and early evenings Blackfriars offers a special deal of two courses for £15 and three for £18 or customers can enjoy the full evening menu from 5.30pm when the sharing board costs £16 for two people.

The summer menu was created by Dan Duggan, head chef at Blackfriars, along with his team of chefs who received the coveted Taste of England accolade in the North East England Tourism Awards last year.

He said: “Our new menu is aimed at showcasing summer seasonal produce with an increased emphasis on smoking techniques, use of super-fresh market vegetables such as fresh peas, broad beans and fennel as well as walnuts and cherries from our very own courtyard. Blackfriars is also completely self-sufficient in fresh herbs throughout the summer months.

“We hope customers will enjoy our new selection of sharing boards for a lighter bite or as starters, and the lunch time offer is excellent value for money.

Blackfriars cloister garden is also now open for lunch, enabling customers to enjoy one of the most secluded inner-city green spaces in the heart of Newcastle for some top notch al fresco dining.

Children can also enjoy a special Blackfriars promotion this summer. When a child dines with an adult for lunch and they both enjoy a main course, the child will receive a home-made ice-cream just for them.

Children’s cookery classes are being held from 22-24 July from 10am-3pm within the workshop at Blackfriars. To book, visit

Emma's appointment is icing on the cake

Emma's appointment is icing on the cake

A North East Sugar Crafter of the Year winner is creating a stir in her new role as cake maker at Blackfriars. 

Emma Bell, from Stanley has been appointed to head up the new cake service at Blackfriars to create cakes for the growing number of weddings, christenings, birthdays and other celebrations held at the restaurant and Banquet Hall as well as an ever-increasing demand for cake-decorating workshops and cup cake parties.

Originally from Carlisle, Emma moved to the region five years ago and studied her Level 3 Patisserie and Confectionery at Gateshead College and Intensive Sugarcraft in Inverness. She went on to open her own Cake Shop called EmJays which she ran for three years.

Now working as part of the team at Blackfriars, Emma is busy making cakes for all types of celebrations at Blackfriars Workshop and in particular has a passion for vintage wedding cakes and unusual celebration cakes.

Emma has also just competed against 25 other cake makers for the title of Sugar Crafter of the Year at the North East Culinary and Trade Association (NECTA) Sugarcraft Awards which took place at the Civic Centre this month. She baked a tropical where she won best in class and also a scene from Beatrix Potter where she came runner up.

She said: “I’m really honoured to be a finalist in the NECTA awards. I have always loved making cakes and so I feel lucky to base my career on my passion. Joining Blackfriars is the perfect opportunity to continue my work and create an additional service for Blackfriars customers and to outside events as well.”

Cake prices will start from £30 for a celebration cake or £250 for a wedding cake and the service is available to clients holding their event at Blackfriars or for outside events.

Ruth Terrington, general manager at Blackfriars said: “We stage many celebratory events each year in both the restaurant and Banquet Hall including weddings, christenings, anniversaries, birthdays, graduation parties and corporate events so are often asked if we can create a special cake. We are really pleased to be offering this new service and delighted to welcome Emma to the team”.

Blackfriars was voted the gold winner of the ‘Taste of England’ in the North East Tourism Awards and its workshop also runs regular baking events.

Emma’s cakes can be seen on

To enquire about a cake ring 0191 261 5945 or email

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


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