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Restaurant Review: Blackfriars

They say the old ones are the best and when it comes to places to eat in Newcastle they don’t come much older than Blackfriars Restaurant and Banquet Hall. It was established in 1239 by Dominican Friars who came here following religious orders. The restaurant is now on the site of what was once their refectory, used to feed the paupers of the city! Well, I can tell you I felt nothing like a pauper when I was invited to try out the set menu last week, I felt like I’d been transported back in time to somewhere very special. The cosy restaurant has lots of rustic features, a warm, welcoming atmosphere (especially when it’s blowing a hoolie outside!) and it’s easy to forget that you’re just a stone’s throw from bustling China Town and the lively Gate complex.

Photo Credit: Blackfriars (mine outdoor shots were useless due to the weather!)

Photo Credit: Blackfriars Website (my outdoor shots were useless due to the weather!)

Blackfriars has a plethora of awards to it’s name, it’s been voted Best Restaurant in the North East by Metro, Observer and the License Trade Awards to name but a few but now it’s time for me to have my two pennies worth!

I feel bad for cropping James off this pic but he was pulling a weird face!

I feel bad for cropping James off this pic but he was pulling a weird face!

First up I have to say that we were extremely well looked after by Melanie and her colleagues. Sometimes I’m a bit sceptical about the attention I receive as a blogger and you can’t help but think, ‘are they just being nice because they know I’m doing a review?’, but that thought didn’t cross my mind at Blackfriars as the whole team seemed genuinely down to earth. I also noticed how friendly and helpful they were to other diners, even those who seemed intent on redesigning the whole menu!

blacfriars map

I felt no such need to tamper with the dishes on offer, the set menu (£18 for three courses) was surprisingly extensive and to my delight it featured lots of local produce. This is something that Blackfriars obviously prides itself on as even the table mats have been designed to  show off the region’s vast array of wonderful food suppliers!

For my starter I chose North Sea fishcake with homemade tartare sauce, it was small but perfectly formed and even though I don’t normally like tartare sauce, I cleared the plate. James went for black pudding with mushroom ketchup and a poached egg. The egg was perfectly cooked and oozed a runny yolk all over the rich black pudding, it looked like the ideal starter for a cold winter evening.


We continued with the comfort food theme for our main courses, I opted for slow roasted belly pork with colcannon mash, crackling and cider jus. If I’m honest, there was a bit too much wholegrain mustard in the mash for my liking and I found it a bit overpowering but I couldn’t fault the juicy pork and the jus was a wonderful accompaniment.

blackfriars steak

I wasn’t surprised when James chose the 6oz Northumbrian rump steak served with tomato, mushroom and thick cut chips (is it every man’s fave?) but I was quite surprised that there wasn’t a supplement for it as steak often demands a few extra quid in other restaurants. He ordered it rare and wasn’t disappointed, I could tell from one stolen bite that it was a quality piece of meat!


We were both quiet full after all that but with no plans other than to curl up on the sofa when we got home we couldn’t resist dessert. Our choices of passionfruit cheesecake and pear tart with milk ice cream were both scrumptious and led to a series of yummy noises and satisfied nods that I’m pretty sure encouraged the diners next to us to order the same!


If you fancy trying Blackfriars for yourself, you’ll be pleases to know it’s taking part in NE1’s Newcastle Restaurant Week 19 – 25 January and the specially created menu is a bargain at £15 for three courses, get all the details HERE. I also urge you to check out the incredible list of unique events that take place at Blackfriars across the year, (I’m loving the  sound of the Great Geordie Bake Off)!

The food is one thing, the setting is another, but these events give you a whole host of other reasons to visit this very special restaurant in the heart of Newcastle!

By Rachel Kershaw

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Rachel Kershaw

I'm a proud ambassador for all that's great about Geordieland and love sharing the best of what NewcastleGateshead has to offer. I may not be a Geordie born and bred but I've lived here for a over a decade and am proud to call this fabulous region my home!


  1. Anonymous Reply

    Hey I visited Blackfriars last week with a friend and had pretty much the same as yourself ( bar the fish cake), I have to admit it was one of the worst meals I have ever had, presentation was borderline average, the food itself was not up to any standard. I’m glad things have changed for restaurant week

    • Hi, that’s really shocking as I’ve only ever heard wonderful things about Blackfriars. Thankfully our experience lived up to our expectations, in fact James said his meal was one of the best rump steaks he’d had in a long time! Just to reiterate, I visited prior to restaurant week, just wanted to point out the offer for anyone who was thinking of going this week.

  2. Although I haven’t been for a few years I do think Blackfirars in lovely – the setting is fabulous and really does feel special. I’ve always fancied one of their banquet nights! Added to #NEbrilliantbloggers restaurant week pinterest board

  3. We went to Blackfriars for my first ever Restaurant Week and OMG I was blown away but how lovely the food was and how gorgeous the restaurant is. Unfortunately I’ve been so distracted working my way through our restaurant list that I haven’t been back since, although we do always intend to! I NEED to go back!

    Chloe x

    • It had been a long time since my last visit for the same reason as you but I’m pleased to say it’s still as wonderful as ever! Maybe treat yourself to Sunday lunch there, it was voted Best Sunday Lunch in Newcastle by readers of the Independent Newspaper!

      • Isobel Wood Reply

        My hubby and I go to Blackfriars for most of our celebrations I.e. Birthdays and anniversaries, we have never ever been disappointed, the food is delicious and the service is exceptional, Melanie really is genuinely lovely and always gives us a great welcome. I am currently on a slimming and I only have to call the restaurant ahead and the chef will prepare a suitable main course for me. I highly recommend Blackfriars to anyone for jst a nice meal out or a special celebration.
        Ken and isobel Wood

        • Hi, thanks for your comments, that’s lovely to hear! Eating out can be so tricky when you’re trying to stick to a diet and it really says a lot about a restaurant when they go above and beyond to help you.

  4. ok that steak would have me in there straight away , me and my husband cant resist a great plump piece of beef

  5. I’ve never been to Blackfriars but have wanted to for a few years…need to persuade my husband to make the trip!

  6. This sounds delicious! Was on my list of possibles for NE1 restaurant week but it got pipped to the post by something else! Will still have to try!

  7. I love it there. I’ve been for Sunday dinner and the a la carte. The Sunday dinner was amazing definitely worth a try. Katie x

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